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SHOWCASING Presentation systems Connected furniture Video conferencing Access controls

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Taking inspiration... Editor: Heather McLean Executive Editor: Paddy Baker Executive Editor: Joanne Ruddock Head of Design: Jat Garcha Designer: Tom Carpenter Sales Manager: Gurpreet Purewal Account Manager: Peter McCarthy US Sales - Executive Vice President: Adam Goldstein Production Executive: Warren Kelly Head of Digital: Tim Frost Content Director: James McKeown Contributors: Ian McMurray, Richard Doughty, Hannah Pym, Alan Hodgin, Mike Blackman Tech&LearningUK is published four times a year by NewBay Media, 1st Floor, Suncourt House, 18-26 Essex Road, London N1 8LN, England Editorial tel: +44 (0)20 7354 6002 Sales tel: +44 (0)20 7354 6000 Please send press material to

© NewBay Media 2016. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owners. Printed by Pensord Press, Wales

Print ISSN: 2057-3863 Subscriptions to Tech&LearningUK are free to qualified readers. Register online at 03 T&LUK Apr 2016 Welcome_Final.indd 1

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun? We are already speeding through spring time and approaching summer. This rapid movement of reality always creeps up on you, especially when you are engrossed in the day-to-day management of a project, or just daily life, while deadlines move ever closer. For those of you looking at bringing new technologies into the classroom, or even just updating outdated systems, networks and kit, finding the time to do your research on not only the best technology for your needs, but also the best value for your budget, can be difficult. That is where Tech&LearningUK comes in. I spend time trying to find a broad, balanced range of opinions, subjects, interviewees and case studies so that you can be inspired to try new things, to Editor: Heather McLean find solutions to your problems and to share great examples of best practice. To do just that, turn to page 12 to read ‘From benches to bean bags’, an in-depth feature looking at a revolution happening in some British classrooms. Thanks to a technological riot of laptops, tablets, smartphones and excellent WiFi, pioneering schools are beginning to embrace mobile working and actually change their schools to work around technology – with radical new classroom layouts and bring your own device (BYOD) – and use it. Rather than schools making pupils fit the environment, as they have done for centuries, technology is driving schools to turn tradition on its head. In this issue we also have an article from RM Education exploring how e-books can encourage students to pick up a book and read, as well as improving their reading skills, and another on what businesses in the tech industry need to do to get the attention of students, particularly girls, to pick STEM subjects in school and to stick at them long enough to enter a STEM-based career, from Apadmi. See our opinion articles starting on page 6. Someone that has had a brilliant career in her chosen profession of science is Dr Ellen Stofan, planetary geologist, who was appointed NASA chief scientist on 25 August 2013. Tech&LearningUK interviews her in this issue to discover her views on how to get more women into STEM careers, and just how she got to the pinnacle of her profession. Turn to page 10 to be truly enthused. The next issue of Tech&LearningUK will be here for you in September, so until then, have a great summer! In the meantime, don’t forget to get in touch with your thoughts and ideas, as well as your own best practice stories, and keep up to date with the latest edtech news at! @techlearningUK

CONTRIBUTORS Ian McMurray has over 30 years’ experience in marketing, communications and media relations with high-technology companies in the IT and audiovisual markets. His experience and knowledge now contribute towards his career as a freelance writer, working across various titles.

Richard Doughty is a freelance journalist and copywriter. He worked on The Guardian as the paper’s special supplements editor for many years, specialising in education, and during that time launched and edited a regular IT in education supplement covering schools, FE and HE sectors.

For the past 16 years Alan Hodgin has helped schools make a positive difference to students’ learning using education technology at RM Education. He currently heads up RM’s e-book platform, RM Books, which is proven to improve students’ reading and reading levels.

With a long history in events management, Mike Blackman is managing director of Integrated Systems Events. With offices in Munich and Amsterdam, Integrated Systems Events organises B2B exhibitions, events and conferences for the professional AV and electronic systems industry.

Hannah Pym is the marketing manager at UK app developer Apadmi. She is responsible for building the company’s brand in dynamic and innovative ways with a view to position the business as experts within the mobile field, managing a variety of different streams.

April 2016


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RM Books’ Alan Hodgin on encouraging reluctant readers Apadmi’s Hannah Pym discusses girls in the tech industry ISE’s Mike Blackman talks about education’s importance

10 Interview

NASA’s chief scientist Dr Ellen Stofan speaks about encouraging women into STEM

12 Classrooms of tomorrow

26 National University of Ireland – Galway

16 Videoconferencing

28 University of Bath

Exploring success with the Kaltura video platform

The revolution that is realising remarkable academic results

Collaboration via video is becoming pervasive in classrooms

30 Albert Pritchard Infant and Wood Green Junior

20 Promoting online safety

Bring creative when it comes to educating students on how to stay safe online


Highlights of the tech-lover’s dream, Bett

The best of augmented and virtual reality

25 Show Preview

Looking ahead to EdTechXEurope in June


Introducing Apple into the learning environment

SHOW NEWS 21 Show Review


Engaging students with Sony laser projection


22 Showcase

32 Product Focus

Improving teaching and learning with HP Sprout Pro Teaching languages to kids with Lingumi and play


April 2016

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ALAN HODGIN ENCOURAGING RELUCTANT READERS E-books improve reading levels and positively change attitudes towards reading

-books must play a more central role in engaging reluctant readers and improving attitudes to reading. The National Literacy Trust’s recent research into the impact of e-books on reading motivation and skills represents a step change in the way schools will support and engage reluctant readers and improve their students’ attitudes to reading in the future. Few education technology tools are validated by such an in-depth study, and we now have conclusive proof that, used well, e-books improve reading levels and positively change attitudes towards reading. The study, which took place between


‘More needs to be done to provide content to pupils in a way they want to consume it’ September 2014 and July 2015 across 40 schools, with an average project length of four months, found that using RM Books e-books, boys’ reading levels increased by an average of eight months, with girls making seven months’ progress. The proportion of the most reluctant readers who said they enjoyed reading using technology increased from half (49.2%) to almost two-thirds (64.2%),


while the percentage of those who found reading difficult roughly halved from 28% to 15.9%. These research findings are particularly relevant as the NLT’s separate annual literacy survey found the vast majority (88.6%) of 30,032 children and young people said they now read using technology. The use of e-books in schools is really starting to take off; most schools are trying e-books in some form or another, and if they haven’t taken it seriously so far, I’d really encourage them to now. In three years’ time, most schools will be using e-books on a regular basis to improve reading, to help build a culture of reading for pleasure, and to support learning in one or more subjects. There are now very few barriers to using e-books; wireless-as-a-service makes it inexpensive to rent better wireless coverage across a school, internet connectivity is more than fast enough, and most students have devices, either their own bring your own device (BYOD) or school-provisioned shared tablets. Time is the remaining barrier. What many educators have been waiting for is clear evidence to justify the small investment in time they’ll need to get going using e-books in their school. The NLT’s research now validates and legitimises teachers spending time on investigating e-books. We now have a study which confirms e-books work; technology is no longer a barrier and

neither is cost, as renting e-books for when you need them costs less than buying new paper books. I don’t believe e-books should replace or become a substitute for paper books; on the contrary, e-books can be the catalyst to get pupils reading in the first place: they’re a tool to encourage more reluctant readers to enjoy books. Once students are readers, they care far less about the format, so it’s an arbitrary distinction between an e-book and a paper book. What matters is that they are reading and enjoying great content. Most schools have an incredible asset in their library’s paper book collection which they’ve accumulated over many years, and now e-books have the potential to help more students make use of that paper collection. This comes through in the NLT’s research too; the percentage of pupils who enjoyed reading on paper increased fourfold, from 10% at the beginning of the project to 40% at the end of the

project, indicating that e-books acted as a catalyst to uncover an exciting new world of reading for these pupils. More needs to be done to provide content to pupils in a way they want to consume it. What proportion of your student body currently has a book out of your paper collection: less than half? What fraction of your students haven’t borrowed a book in the last year: more than a quarter? Having a good paper collection in your library may be enough for a proportion or students, the more conscientious ones who have always used libraries and enjoyed books, but what about the rest? It’s vital that we recognise the increased reading opportunities that technology offers pupils, and I very much hope the study’s conclusions will help other schools embrace this technology and apply it to improve their pupils’ literacy and to help develop a life-long love of reading. n Alan Hodgin is head of RM Books.

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GIRLS GET TECH – BUT CAN TECH GET GIRLS? How to go about getting more women into the tech industry


he tech industry in the UK is growing at a rapid rate. In the past four years, the digital tech economy has grown 32% faster and created jobs almost three times as quickly as the rest of the economy [Tech Nation 2016 with Nesta]. However, with such exponential growth comes the need for resource and the UK is experiencing a digital skills shortage. Given the fact females make up just 17% of the digital industry [Women in IT Scorecard, 2015], it seems glaringly obvious that we need to encourage more girls into tech in order to tackle the talent deficit. What many people might not realise is that despite girls being in the minority undertaking STEM subjects, they actually are among the top performers, both at GCSE and A-Level [WISE Report, 2015]. It seems that, contrary to popular belief, girls actually do get tech; it’s just that tech doesn’t seem to get girls, or hold their interest. Like many companies within the UK’s thriving digital industry, Apadmi, an app development business, has been working hard to help tackle gender inequality. Bucking the trend, we employ a server development team of which 36% is female, while our executive leadership team is 30% female. We may be ahead in the industry in terms of gender diversity but we realise that more still needs to be done; as the latest statistics show, we have fewer women graduating from UK universities with


STEM degrees than in previous years [WISE Higher Education Report, 2015]. Taking direct action to reach out to girls who are still in school to spread awareness of the opportunities available to them is important. Tech companies need to be more proactive in going into schools and speaking to students earlier on to encourage them to take STEM subjects and carry these onto further education. We run an ‘App in a Day’ programme in partnership with schools across the UK, a one-day coding workshop that teaches students how to build a fully functioning music player within six hours. We believe that creating inclusivity rather than singling girls out is the best way to break down the barriers hindering them from studying STEM subjects to degree level. It’s encouraging to see some modest signs of improvement. According to the WISE campaign, the number of girls undertaking Computing to A-Level

doubled in the last year and there has been a 1% increase in the number of females graduating with a degree in engineering and technology, albeit only a very fractional rise. More needs to be done. Given the distinct lack of female role models in the UK tech industry, it can be difficult for young girls to relate or see themselves in a tech career. Empowering females in senior roles within the industry to take guest speaking slots at schools and universities means that girls will have female role models that can inspire them to become our next generation of tech-heads and geeks! Yet schools also need to be more dynamic. The curriculum needs to encompass more tech and digital-based subjects in order to prepare our next generation of software developers and coders for the path ahead. Showing young people that everyone is as capable as one another, regardless of

‘Tech companies need to be more proactive in going into schools and speaking to students earlier on to encourage them to take STEM subjects and carry these onto further education’ background or gender, will go some way to entice more young people, including girls, to consider a career in tech. Tech companies also need to play their part to be more visible and vocal in showing young people the career possibilities and options open to them. Demonstrating the versatility of the industry, as well as the opportunities available, is important and will encourage young people into tech. The current lack of females must be treated as an opportunity as the untapped value of a more genderdiverse workforce is £2.6 billion each year, according to the Closing the Gender Gap report from Nominet. This alone is reason enough for us to be even more proactive in the industry and ensure tech gets more girls. n Hannah Pym is manager at Apadmi.

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MIKE BLACKMAN EDUCATION PUSHING INTO THE WORLD OF TECH Audiovisual and system integration companies are finally understanding that education is a key market for them to focus on


hile technology is not necessarily the reason for some of today’s innovative teaching techniques, it is certainly supporting many of them. This trend has been mirrored at industry show Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), where the presence of educationrelated technology and activities continues to grow. It’s been quite a few years since I finished my academic education to embark on a career in B2B exhibitions and conferences, but thanks to a strong connection with the audiovisual (AV) industry, I’m aware of the way technology is helping to facilitate learning practices in today’s classrooms and lecture theatres. For those of you who might not know ISE, it is the largest AV and systems integration tradeshow in the world. It takes place every February in Amsterdam. ISE 2016 hosted more than 1,100 exhibitors and attracted over 65,000 visitors. I’m genuinely intrigued by the various ways that education is delivered in today’s technologically rich world. Through speaking to manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, and to teaching staff from primary, higher and further education, I understand that it is a very exciting time to be in education. I also understand that the speed of progress in recent years has been overwhelming for some. But, overall, I think teaching methods like flipped and blended learning, and tools like lecture capture are very positive. 09 T&LUK Apr 2016 Opinion 3_Final.indd 1

‘Education technology’s prominence at ISE is growing, which is why we are adding a dedicated education hall in 2017’ I’m particularly enthusiastic about collaboration. It’s something that can be as effective in education as it is in the workplace, while the technologies that support it are the same wherever it is prevalent. As an organisation, ISE is dotted around Europe and has major stakeholders in the US, yet we place a lot of emphasis on collaborative work. That means using conferencing technology, virtual meeting software, screens and sharing infrastructures to ensure there is a seamless and ongoing creative process. We remotely gather as a team or in pockets of people, often spanning departments, to harness the benefits of collaboration. We work on the old mantra that two (three, four, five or six) heads are better than one. Of course, in the learning environment business goals become learning objectives, but the premise is the same. More can be achieved when students collaborate; the learning outcomes can be more developed and more deeply engrained.

I know technology designers and providers recognise the rising importance that technology has in education and are reacting with products and solutions. We’ve seen some big companies and long-term ISE exhibitors that have either expanded their business or have realigned their offer to reach the education market. One example is Barco. The company has been a major player in big screen projection for many years. In recent years, we’ve seen it expand its product range and target school, university and workplace collaboration with the launch of ClickShare. We’ve also seen some new and exciting edtech companies appear on the horizon. This adds up to a general trend that education technology’s prominence at the show is growing, which is why we are adding a dedicated education hall in 2017.

ISE has always had solutions and products for education. We already have educational buying groups attending the show. The new hall will consolidate these things and help them to grow further, while helping attendees who are focused on this sector to embark on a more coherent ISE journey. The implementation of edtech is most effective when it is supported by training and education. That applies right across the field of AV and systems integration, which is why professional development is such a prominent part of ISE. The new hall will feature an edtech theatre, which will cover important issues for education buyers. As we plan next year’s show and the new education hall, we welcome your thoughts and opinions. n Mike Blackman is managing director of Integrated Systems Events. @ISE_Show April 2016


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SPACE ODYSSEY Dr Ellen Stofan, planetary geologist, was appointed NASA chief scientist on 25 August 2013, serving as principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s science programmes and sciencerelated strategic planning and investments. Yet her true passion is sharing the wonders of the universe with young women, encouraging them to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Here, she talks with Heather McLean on how she is advocating women in STEM subjects

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES WE FACE TODAY IN TERMS OF ENCOURAGING GIRLS TO PURSUE STUDIES AND CAREERS IN STEM AREAS? When you ask kids from around the world to draw a picture of a scientist, they inevitably draw a picture of a man in a white lab coat. To envision yourself in a career, you have to know that there are people who look like you doing that job. Women are contributing amazing things in STEM careers today, as we have in the past; it’s just not talked about enough. If you look back to women like Ada Lovelace (computing), Lise Meitner (physics), Rosalind Franklin (structure of DNA), Barbara McClintock (genetics), and Katherine


Johnson (NASA human spaceflight programme), you see that women have been pioneers for a long time. But most schoolchildren have not heard of any of these women. We also need to talk about the many contributions that women are making today. Although women’s history month has shed light onto influential women and their contributions over the years, it’s a discussion that should be taught year-round. At NASA, we have women astronauts conducting research in space, women engineers helping to design NASA’s next rocket, the Space Launch System, women driving rovers on Mars, and women conducting research into whether there is life beyond Earth. The rich history of women in science and engineering, and the

contributions that we are making today, can inspire the next generation to follow in their footsteps.

HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS? The changes need to come on many fronts. In strategy meetings, we talk frequently about the STEM ‘leaky pipeline’. What this means is that we lose girls, especially around the ages of 11 to 13; we lose them going into science majors at university, into graduate school, into the STEM workforce, and then throughout their career at much higher rates than men. So doing just one thing won’t solve the problem. To help with younger girls, we need textbooks and other learning materials to start showing images of women scientists and engineers and telling the rich history

of the contributions that women have made and are making. We need the media to favourably portray women as scientists and engineers, and we need more women like myself to get out in the community and mentor the next generation. Research also shows how important encouragement is, so we need teachers and parents to tell our girls, you can do anything! We also need to make sure that when girls are in engineering, math and science courses, whether at the primary, secondary, or university level, that they are in a welcoming, safe and encouraging environment. So many women tell the story of teachers and/or peers discouraging them because they are women; this is flat-out unacceptable.

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INTERVIEW: DR ELLEN STOFAN GIRLS MOVING INTO THE SCIENTIFIC ARENA WHEN YOU WERE AT SCHOOL WOULD HAVE BEEN A VERY DIFFERENT SCENE COMPARED TO TODAY, WHERE WE ARE DESPERATE TO GET MORE GIRLS INTO STEM. WHAT WAS STARTING A CAREER IN SCIENCE LIKE FOR YOU, AND HOW DID YOU GET TO NASA? I was encouraged by my parents. My father worked at NASA and my mother was a science teacher. So I went to my first rocket launch when I was four years old, and was always a kid who picked up rocks and seashells. I loved to read about women like Mary Leakey uncovering fossils in Africa, and Jane Goodall studying animal behaviour. I had teachers along the way who encouraged me, and that encouragement helped me to ignore the fact that I was always one of the few girls interested in science. Because my father worked for NASA, I learned that I could combine my love of rocks and geology with space, so at the age of 14, I decided to become a planetary geologist and that was that! At university, about half of my geology group was women, and that continued into graduate school. But by the end of graduate school, many of the women had left, finding the environment unwelcoming. I went into a workforce where I was often the only woman in the room, which I found quite intimidating, and often felt I had to work twice as hard to be taken half as seriously. Again, I had mentors, mostly men, who encouraged me and sponsored me, supporting me to become successful. I have three children, and I spent many years working part time, doing planetary geology research for NASA and some teaching and working with students at University College London, while my kids were growing up. So when I was ready to go back to work full time, NASA was willing to take me on. I think having a path for both mothers and fathers to spend time with their children and continue with their careers is critical.

WHAT CONTRIBUTION TO BRINGING WOMEN INTO THE SCIENTIFIC FIELD DOES NASA MAKE? I think at NASA we are tackling the issue on all fronts. We have a great website 10-11 T&LUK Apr 2016 Interview_Final.indd 2

where we let women of all ages know about the contributions of women at NASA. Our scientists and engineers are doing amazing things. We also have a website where we talk about best practices for diversity and inclusion. We have programmes to support girls at all education levels, part of a big emphasis by President Obama on bringing not just women, but other underrepresented groups, into STEM. Also, we support our own workforce; women tend to leave STEM fields at higher rates than men, so we look for ways to encourage women and other underrepresented groups by making sure that we have an inclusive environment. We work on unconscious bias; are we sure we are being inclusive in the way we hire and promote? And recently, when there have been issues in the scientific community with sexual harassment, our Administrator, Charlie Bolden, was out in front, sending a strongly worded letter to university presidents that NASA does not tolerate sexual harassment. We want to get the message out every day that science is for everyone.

‘What I think is the best kept secret is that STEM careers are amazing; you get to work on problems that really help humanity, from studying cures for cancer, to understanding life’s origins, to understanding the nature of black holes and galaxy formation, to measuring change on Earth’s ice sheets that will lead to sea level rise’

Picture: ESA/NASA

HOW ARE YOU USING YOUR EXPERIENCE AT NASA TO INSPIRE MORE GIRLS AND WOMEN TO LOOK AT STEM SUBJECTS? I try to be a visible force for change, just by getting out there, giving talks, and travelling around the world, to show girls not just in the US, but in other countries I have visited from the Philippines, Thailand, Chile, to South Africa, that women are scientists and leaders. I talk about my own personal journey, and I challenge girls that we are never going to solve the tough problems we have as a global society, from climate change to feeding the world, to NASA’s challenge of sending humans to Mars, unless we have all hands on deck. We can’t rely on less than half the population for solutions! I mentor women at different levels in their careers, especially with issues like work-life balance, because that can be really tough when you are trying to balance a family and a demanding career. I champion a women’s group at NASA Headquarters, where we are listening to our employees to make sure their issues are being addressed. My favourite events by far have been when I get to be in a room full of girls, and they are peppering me with questions on life in the universe, what research we are doing every day on the International Space Station, and how we are studying climate change. Girls are ready to be the solution. Only last month, I participated in a panel discussion along with other NASA women leaders called ‘NASA women in

action’. We were able to inspire over 200 girls by sharing our personal stories, having an informal dialogue, answering questions and touring the James Webb Space Telescope.

ARE WE DOING ENOUGH TO INSPIRE YOUNG WOMEN TO CONSIDER STEM CAREERS, AND WHY? I am not satisfied with where we are, and that is largely because the challenge is so broad. It really is a pipeline problem, with each part of the leaky pipeline presenting a different challenge. We need to inspire girls to consider a STEM career, then we need to make sure she is encouraged at all levels of her education and made to feel welcome and safe, then we need to make sure she is hired into challenging STEM jobs and paid fairly. We need to support her with work-life balance throughout her career. Men need these same things, so if we create them for women and other underrepresented groups, men will also benefit. What I think is the best kept secret is that STEM careers are amazing; you get to work on problems that really help humanity, from studying cures for cancer, to understanding life’s origins, to understanding the nature of black holes and galaxy formation, to measuring change on Earth’s ice sheets that will lead to sea level rise. So we also need to work to inject some of the fun and excitement of STEM careers into education; it is about solving big, important puzzles that make life on this planet better, and move us off of it into the future! April 2016


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FEATURE: CLASSROOMS OF TOMORROW Technology is driving schools to turn tradition on its head

FROM BENCHES TO BEAN BAGS Imagine letting children decide and then justify, on being challenged by their teacher, where and how they can learn best: on the stairs, under the table, sunk in a bean bag? Do they want to sit, stand up or stretch out on the floor? Are they allowed to write on the tables, walls and windows as well as the whiteboard? This is reality in a growing number of schools, and as Richard Doughty discovers, realising remarkable academic results


erried rows of desks, hard bench seats, gloomy, boxlike classrooms, draughty corridors and, more recently, an electronic whiteboard to replace the traditional blackboard loom large only too often when we recall our school learning experience. “Sit up, don’t talk, and listen!” was the teacher’s mantra. But for the next generation that’s starting to change. Thanks to a technology revolution that has spawned lightweight laptops, tablets, smartphones and vastly improved WiFi systems, innovative schools are beginning to opt for radical new classroom layouts, moving away from issuing one standard piece of kit to pupils in favour of bring your own device (BYOD). Rather than schools making pupils fit the environment, as they have done for centuries, technology is driving schools to turn tradition on its head. 12

What would seem pure anarchy to many teachers just 10 years ago is proving a remarkably successful learning strategy for pioneering schools across the UK.

SUCCESSFUL ANARCHY One of them is Croydon’s three-form entry West Thornton Primary Academy. Three years ago walls dividing the three Year 4 classrooms were knocked down, creating a large, open-plan, flexible learning environment for 90 children to do all their learning in a range of different learning spaces and groupings. Teaching is based on the Early Years pattern of group-focused learning led by one adult, with other children working independently on a range of tasks. Other teachers take on a floating, supporting role, intervening and giving guidance to prevent independent learners going off track. Mobile technology – a mix of iPads, laptops and

PCs – is at the heart of it. Seven years ago the school got rid of its IT suite; it realised technology had to be there when you need it, not when you can book it. “The children use ICT all the time like picking up a pencil,” notes head teacher Diane Pumphrey. “They choose the kit they think is best for the job.” Also, writable surfaces are everywhere. Children take notes by writing out their thoughts on a table, window or wall and then photograph them to file. Bournemouth University Professor Stephen Heppell, an expert on online education and learning spaces who supports forward-thinking schools like West Thornton, says children love to write on such surfaces “because of a sense of audience and collaboration... Immediately they have a basis for conversation and discussion, an awareness of each others’ work and impact.”

Says Pumphrey: “We encourage [students] to make simple choices. If a child’s presentation in a book is good, they can stay learning where they are. We give them a lot of choice about things we think don’t actually matter. ”

IMPROVING BEHAVIOUR Giving pupils choice has meant the sort of poor behaviour that is guaranteed to wear out teachers has gone. “But we don’t offer choice over standards of work and they have to do it by a certain time,” adds Pumphrey. “In fact, the strategy has worked so well that we know we could never put them back in a box.” As the pupils have progressed through West Thornton, similar though different environments have been created for Years 5 and 6. This year it’s Year 3’s turn, though the flexible style of group teaching is now used throughout the school, open plan or not.

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FEATURE: CLASSROOMS OF TOMORROW West Thornton pupils also write and digitally present their own school reports at parents’ evenings, supported by teachers’ written and verbal comments. “They are so honest about what they are good at and what they need to be able to do next,” says Pumphrey. This is encouraged throughout, starting with reception and Year 1. By the time pupils reach Year 6, they are producing 75% to 80% of their own reports. The biggest change is in their attitude to learning, their confidence, their ability to talk about learning, according to Pumphrey. Progress is impressive: the first Year 4 cohort made double the rate of progress of the previous Year 4 cohort. The new approach has been key in promoting far greater teamwork and collaboration among both pupils and teachers, who are no longer confined to a classroom but can share with and learn from colleagues, and it is also an ideal training opportunity for NQTs. “Nobody who has ever worked in an open zone environment now wants to come out of one,” claims Pumphrey.

FLIPPED CLASSROOMS The Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (Ipaca), near Weymouth, Dorset, has gone a stage further, using technology to help pioneer the concept of flipped classrooms. Students are emailed or tweeted videos containing the teacher’s ‘lecture’ on new content prior to the lesson. Pupils can then watch the video at their own pace at home and are expected to make notes as homework. They can play back points that are not clear and email their teacher or chat to their peers about things they do not understand, activities normally limited by time in a traditional-style lesson. To facilitate this, Google Chromebook tablets have been given to all secondary students to use at school and home, with the school’s cloud-based web filtering systems monitoring the tablets on and off campus. Back in class, teachers no longer have to spend most of their time explaining the concept to students across a wide range of abilities at school, with no guarantee all will have understood 12-14 T&LUK Apr 2016 Feature 1_Final.indd 2

by the end of the lesson. Instead, the teachers are freed up to become facilitators or coaches to student groups or individuals who begin to apply their knowledge gained from the video to solve set problems. Classes and sessions then normally move at a swifter pace as students reach a shared level of understanding. The school has moved every suitable function, including management, library and booking facilities, to a cloud-based system accessed through a web browser. Students collaborate on documents and comment and share with each other and their teachers through Google Apps for Education, a suite of free productivity tools. “Google Apps is at the heart of all we do,” comments Gary Spracklen, the academy’s director of digital learning and innovation. “It’s anytime, anywhere learning.”

BYOD TO UMOD As an all-through school from three to 19 years, Ipaca also encourages students to use their own devices in its own super-large learning spaces; these currently serve up to 90 pupils in each of Years 5 and 6. The strategy is called ‘use my own device’ (UMOD), a step further than BYOD. “Some students bring in up to four devices and use the

best one for the task they’re doing,” says Spracklen. There are no corridors in the school’s new campus (opened in 2014), providing less restrictive, freer learning environments. “All our designs are rooted in research,” says Spracklen. “The worst thing you can do is keep kids sat at a desk all day. As long as you have a browser, mobile technology will allow them to move around. Whether they sit on a couch, lie on a beanbag, or work on the floor, they remain focused.” But Ipaca’s ideal learning conditions in large spaces made possible by mobile technology do not only require soft furnishings. The right levels of light, airflow, CO2, temperature and sound play a vital role in pupils’ ability to concentrate in class. According to Spracklen, Ipaca’s old campus was “like a dark prison cell”, compared to the bright airy feel of the school’s new buildings. Research by Heppell and others has shown, for instance, that good light levels improve reading vocabulary and science test results, with separate minimum light levels required for engaged conversation (250 lumens) and close work (450 lumens). Meanwhile, 18º to 21º Celsius is the recommended temperature to encourage good learning; University of California

research suggests anything above that will see a drop in maths performance. Also, 72dB is the upper limit for sound, and CO2 measures should be no higher than 2,000 parts per million to maintain healthy concentration levels and avoid sleepiness. And the results so far? “We’re seeing an increase in engagement with learning,” observes Spracklen. “Attendance is up and we’re starting to get the best results we have ever seen.”

CALMING INFLUENCES A third school, Jesmond Gardens Primary, Hartlepool, which moved into a new building in 2011, is designed as an extension of a home environment to respect children’s basic needs; for instance, shoes are not worn inside, which is said to have a calming influence on pupils. The school shares the open space and soft furnishings concept but has added its own features. One is the use of acoustic curtains to split off areas for different groups and activities; they are the sound-proofing equivalent of a stud wall. Every child in Key stages 1 and 2 has an iPad at Jesmond Gardens. Through the digital media player, Apple TV, they can display their own work on a central screen or whiteboard and view teachers’

Students remain focused whether they sit on a couch, lie on a beanbag, or work on the floor

April 2016


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FEATURE: CLASSROOMS OF TOMORROW online demonstrations during lessons which are streamed to their iPads. Use of Showbie, a free education app, allows teachers to quickly assign, collect and review work and leave verbal feedback on a child’s iPad. Notes head teacher at Jesmond Gardens, Jane Loomes: “You can verbally tell a child how to improve, so that in the next day’s lesson they not only have written comments but verbal feedback as well. You can tell them their lesson is on the iPad. Then they’ll put on their headphones and off they go! We call it ‘virtual teacher’ – it’s the most powerful feedback.”

ACTIVE LEARNING The schools above show what can be done when combining mobile and WiFi technology with new or refurbished buildings. But there are plenty of products now on the market to support forward-thinking schools without a building budget. Take, for example, school furniture. One goal of one-to-one devices is enabling students to collaborate with each other but traditional school furniture is hindering collaboration, according to Bob Hill, education manager at Ergotron, a company producing computer furniture and mobile-device charging ‘carts’. Ergotron is supporting a Loughborough University trial of its mobile, height-adjustable LearnFit standing desks at a Bradford primary school, where a class of 30 pupils and their teacher have been trying out standing up for two half-hour sessions a day during lessons. The desk is also being piloted in 30 US schools. Standing is seen as a legitimate level of physical activity bringing metabolic health benefits: it burns more calories, raises heart rates and sharpens concentration. Meanwhile, Intel Education has produced a string of online publications on collaborative active learning environments, adding to work done by Heppell. It backs this up with products specifically designed for a classroom environment such as highly durable computer backpacks, waterresistant keyboards to repel spillages in the science lab, accelerometers and temperature sensors. Intel has also launched a free Education Study app; a 14

Technology can help promote greater teamwork and collaboration among both pupils and teachers book and e-reader that offer facilities including highlighting, note-taking and reporting to help students improve study habits in areas such as comprehension, retention and engagement rate. Collaboration has become such an important issue in schools that this year the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is ranking countries in its international educational league tables on computerbased collaborative problem-solving alongside the usual subjects. According to Smart Technologies’ senior education manager, Peter Claxton, research during 2012 to 2014 at Pheasey Park Farm primary school, Walsall, showed a huge increase in attendance with greater attainment levels in reading, writing and maths. This followed installation of the company’s collaborative classroom software that links to any device and comes included in its Smart Learning Suite. Last year Smart launched its kapp iQ whiteboard, which allows teachers and pupils to, “write back and forth between the display and any mobile device”, and encourage greater collaboration. Scribbled notes are no longer needed as any display can be ‘screen-grabbed’ and reviewed later. “You’re starting to engage pupils,” says Claxton, who highlights gamification of learning materials as key to encouraging student collaboration. “Engagement is what children get when they play games like Minecraft or Call of Duty.

They are bombarded with high-quality material and Smart is currently building gamification into our software.”

COLLABORATIVE TECH With so many different mobile devices owned by pupils, manufacturers are racing to provide universal software to accommodate the BYOD trend in schools. Just as Smart software will link into any device to provide the glue in multimedia classrooms, Belgian company WePresent is doing the same with its presentation software, which just needs downloading to a chosen device. This allows up to 64 users to collaborate and stream presentations wirelessly from any device over any existing network. Users can control the projecting computer on the touchscreen or whiteboard. Meanwhile, the audience can view and save slides to their laptop, tablet or smartphone, and annotate them if needed. Wider learning spaces sit well with constant changes to the curriculum. One key recent change has been the switch in emphasis from ICT to computing science, something Lego has prioritised in its Robotics (KS1-2) and Mindstorms (KS2-4) ranges. Robotics covers KS1 and 2 to bring computing to a primary audience and is designed to be user-friendly and non-intimidating for non-techy teachers for easy and cross-curricular use. Mindstorms, aimed at KS2-3 and part of KS4 starts nurturing the innovation,

creativity and problem-solving skills sought by employers, for whom the question now is: can you code? “Five years ago the market was very static,” remarks Lego’s UK sales manager, Matt Parkes. “There were a lot of networkbased operations in schools whereas now, with BYOD, it’s got to have a tablet element and it’s got to be mobile.” Designing robots in 3D could be one of countless applications of immersive computing or “technology that blurs the line between the physical world and the digital or simulated world, thereby creating a sense of immersion”, according to one website. HP has launched Sprout, a desktop all-in-one combination of 3D scanner, touchscreen computer, touch mat, a four-camera sensory system and a projector built-in over the screen. It will enable teachers to give live demonstrations, projecting, moving and demonstrating physical 3D objects onscreen to large groups, and allow students to collaborate in class and further afield. The world of “Sit up, don’t talk, and listen!” schools is set to disappear as these new, tried and tested methods of allowing children to learn prove that it is time to move on.

April 2016

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Once only affordable to major corporations, collaboration via video is becoming pervasive in classrooms and lecture theatres across the country and is creating new ways of teaching and learning. Ian McMurray explores where this technology is going in the education sector


t may have passed you by, but 9 February was Safer Internet Day. This saw over 1,000 organisations getting together to promote the responsible use of technology for young people. One example of how collaboration through video helped students engage with this topic on the day was in the London Borough of Redbridge, where more than 20 schools connected via videoconference through the JISC network to discuss safety on the internet with their local PC and PCSO officers. This illustrates just one way in which videoconferencing is transforming UK education. “Technology like videoconferencing is changing the way students learn, in fundamental and important ways,” believes Richard Middleton, UK and Ireland country manager at video conferencing technology firm Lifesize, “and, as a result, more people are able to receive high-quality education, 16

regardless of geographic location, than ever before.” States Samantha Blyth, director of UK schools at Instructure, the company behind the Canvas opensource learning management system: “Schools across the UK are steadily adopting videoconferencing. Our research tells us that this technology is really taking off, with 60% of teachers who already have video and digital equipment in the classroom using it more than once a day to help their students learn.“

GROWING APPETITE Interest is growing in videoconferencing in the higher education (HE) sector, notes Yag Depala, head of education sales at integrator Reflex, for whom universities and colleges are a core market: “There’s a growing appetite for videoconferencing in HE, especially for long-distance teaching and learning and for internal communication across

campuses and interviews. While some HE establishments are still going down the traditional codec-based route, Skype for Business is increasingly discussed and considered. Many universities are considering Lync and Office 365 if they haven’t adopted them already, and Skype is something users are familiar with.” Yet it is not just in higher education that familiar solutions are being implemented, as Janice Prandstatter, teaching and learning consultant at education technology solutions provider Promethean, points out. “In the most general sense of the term, videoconferencing in UK education is very common,” Prandstatter says. “But that’s not to say that investment in the latest and greatest videoconferencing technology is as common. In our experience, schools, and in particular innovative teachers, have been creative in making the most of existing

KEY POINTS n Video collaboration is now widely integrated into the teaching and learning process n Growing familiarity and declining costs are seeing video become increasingly pervasive n Informal, ad hoc collaboration is replacing the videoconferencing suite n ROI can be measured in financial terms, but no less importantly in learning outcomes classroom technologies and harnessing the power of ‘free’ online platforms that support videoconferencing opportunities. Skype and Google Hangout are emerging as popular online tools; when used in conjunction with a large-format interactive screen and quality audio, these create an effective and relatively low-cost videoconferencing solution.”

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FEATURE: VIDEOCONFERENCING CLOUD LOOMS Gavin Parks, director at integrator GPS Installations, which has been responsible for numerous significant AV projects in UK education, sees a similar phenomenon. “There is a noticeable move from expensive, proprietary systems to more open, cost-effective and cloud-based platforms such as Skype and Skype for Business,” he claims. The cloud is undoubtedly assuming growing significance, a point made by Middleton: “As organisations come to grips with the advent of the cloud, we are seeing an increase in demand for cloud-based videoconferencing solutions,” he explains. “Hosted videoconferencing is one tool that the education sector is looking to adopt as it makes large-scale communications and collaboration easier. In the long run, it can reduce the costs associated with expensive equipment and maintenance.” Educational technology solutions providers are largely agreed that cost is one of the most significant concerns for schools and colleges where budgets are invariably constrained. It is unsurprising, then, that potential payback is carefully scrutinised. “The return on investment (ROI) is often the determining factor,” says Anna Dutton, head of education, EMEA at Kaltura, which is the developer of an opensource video platform for online video management, creation and collaboration for education. She continues: “Institutions are looking for cost savings in infrastructure and in video storage, as well as improved reliability. Enhanced student outcomes are increasingly also a key factor. The results from our 2015 State of Video in Education report back this up. We found that 79% of institutions today employ one or more ROI measures to analyse their use of video. Also, 47% of respondents measure usage; 45% use surveys or feedback; and 27% measure learning outcomes.” Parks looks to the alternatives for those that are counting the costs: “For those instances where budgets simply won’t stretch, there are alternative solutions to finance systems over a fixed term. Steljes Leasing for 16-18 T&LUK Apr 2016 Feature 2_Final.indd 2

Education offers schools the option to pay an agreed fee for their choice of technology over a fixed period of time.” He explains that schools are allowed to utilise an operating lease but cannot enter into a finance

‘There’s a growing appetite for videoconferencing in HE, especially for long-distance teaching and learning and for internal communication across campuses and interviews’ Yag Depala, Reflex lease or loan without approval from the Education Funding Agency or Department for Education. In the competitive world of higher education, the use of video can be seen to be imperative, according to Depala. “Any university that isn’t able to offer, for example, a lecture catchup service might be at a disadvantage,” he claims.

TAKING PERSPECTIVE Middleton notes the broad range of ways in which videoconferencing can save money: increasing productivity and efficiency by reducing unproductive travel time; preventing meeting delays; creating shorter

and more structured meetings; and providing faster exchange of information among them; but feels these should be put in perspective. “Ultimately,” he says, “videoconferencing’s real ROI is determined by the value its users place on the technology. If it’s easy to use and intuitive and has a perceived benefit, then staff and students will use it, and when they do it often enough, it will become as indispensable as the phone or the computer. Videoconferencing will become so ubiquitously necessary that it exists beyond ROI calculations.” Certainly, the use of video can be transformative in terms of what is possible. Prandstatter likens the ability to connect with other classrooms around the world to a modern version of the pen-pal experience, as well as the opportunity to connect with experts in ways that would otherwise not be possible. Blyth and Parks note the opportunity it provides for enhanced teacher continuous personal development. According to Depala, videoconferencing is widely used in universities for improving internal communications, for interviewing prospective staff and students, and for creating new revenue streams through distance learning. Meanwhile, Middleton points out its value to students in remote or rural areas: “With videoconferencing,” he smiles, “you can bring the world into the classroom.” And, perhaps, more than just the world; in January and February, thousands of schoolchildren had the opportunity to interact with astronaut Tim Peake on board the International Space Station.

environment, and how easily the technology will be adopted by staff.” Dutton echoes Parks: “The key challenge for many is simply ‘How do we do it?’,” she says. “Many overcome this by ensuring that they put together a team of stakeholders who ensure they have a plan in place. The reality is videoconferencing usually will start small and then grow exponentially with video assets. Finding the right partner to help in the planning and using industry best practices is key. How will training be done? How will the solution be made available to end users? Will it be open to all or just faculty? How will the resulting video assets be managed over time? “It is also important to consider how to build adoption of the solution once it has been deployed, and how to ensure regular use,” Dutton goes on. “Analytics can help here.” Blyth adds: “Our research shows that the main concerns are security and privacy. [Schools] also worry about reliability and functionality, which is why choosing the right capability for their needs should be central to any buying process.” The latter is a subject close to Middleton’s heart: “One of the biggest challenges for educational organisations, when looking at deploying videoconferencing technology, is firstly what they should buy,” he claims. “There is a large number of solutions in the marketplace today that all offer a level of videoconferencing, but not all are fully interoperable with one another. The last thing a primary school, for example, would want to do is invest in the wrong technology and find themselves on a technology island, unable to communicate with people using alternative technology.”



The potential applications for videoconferencing are, in some ways, limited only by the imaginations of educators. That too, however, presents some challenges. If affordability is a concern, it is far from the only one. Parks states: “Schools ask themselves how videoconferencing could be used in a typical lesson

What does become apparent, however, is how the nature of video interaction is changing, and in many ways, mirroring what is occurring in the world of business. Yes, dedicated videoconferencing suites still exist, but they represent a minority share compared with the way video-enabled collaboration is being integrated into the fabric of education. April 2016


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FEATURE: VIDEOCONFERENCING Videoconferencing enabled thousands of schoolchildren to interact with astronaut Tim Peake on board the International Space Station in January and February

In business, for example, all the talk is of ‘huddle rooms’, spaces that are not necessarily designated meeting spaces, which can easily be transformed, via low-cost hardware and software, into environments where information can readily be accessed and shared. “A lot of the videoconferencing we are seeing nowadays takes place in the classroom and is driven by the teacher,” says Prandstatter. “Based on this, it is more about learning ‘in the moment’ and less about scheduling a formal session in a videoconferencing facility. “This pattern pretty much maps what we have seen with ICT in general,” she continues. “In the early days, ICT and computers were the reserve of a dedicated ICT suite. These days, ICT is integrated into almost every classroom environment. The ready availability of this technology in classrooms has subsequently made 18

videoconferencing much more accessible and less of a ‘special occasion’ in a dedicated suite.” Blyth sees a similar scenario: “Historically, videoconferencing has often been physically separate from the ‘normal’ classroom due to the constraints and demands of hardware,” she points out. “This is definitely changing in the same way we see old ICT suites start to disappear as mobile technology allows technology to come to the children rather than the children visit the ‘tech’ once a week. With the rise of user-controlled videoconferencing like Skype, Facetime and Hangouts, there is much more of a demand for tools which are not separate from the classroom.”

COSTS DECLINING It is not that there is no longer a requirement for dedicated videoconferencing facilities; it is

just that they are no longer the only show in town. And, of course, there are differences between secondary education and higher education. Explains Middleton: “In universities and colleges, it is rare nowadays that a multipurpose lecture theatre would not be enabled with some form of videoconferencing capabilities, while in primary and secondary education, this tends to still be a shared resource, usually comprising a videoconferencing system on a trolley, that is moved from learning space to learning space. “As the cost of videoconferencing technology reduces, I would expect to see more and more educational organisations look to include this form of technology within their standard classroom build, much in the same way we have seen projectors and interactive whiteboards become the norm,” Middleton continues. Depala observes: “We see both kinds of environment in higher education. As universities embrace new and less formal ways of learning and teaching, we are seeing substantial growth in more personalised and collaborative approaches than ever before. “However,” Depala goes on, “universities are commercially minded and many are looking to get a financial return on the investment made. Hiring out their facilities to external organisations and summer schools is common. When we work with universities on room refresh programmes, we always discuss the need to futureproof and what facilities they should consider installing to get the best return.” For many educational establishments, however, the real return, as noted earlier by Middleton, lies in the enhancement of the teaching and learning experience. Its potential is well summarised by Dutton, who says: “Essentially, videoconferencing provides a robust canvas on which to build an engaging and rich learning experience for students,” she believes. “It allows educators to provide content that pulls the students into the learning experience in real time, regardless of geography or device.

‘Videoconferencing allows teachers and lecturers to see how students are engaging with the content and the learning objectives’ Anna Dutton, Kultura “Videoconferencing also allows teachers and lecturers to see how students are engaging with the content and the learning objectives,” Dutton concludes. “Lessons and lectures can be recorded for playback later, while in-video quizzes help to validate learning. By using video, courses are no longer limited by space, time or device. In addition to those benefits, students are able to engage with recorded content in the ways best-suited to their learning style.” The benefits of video collaboration to educators and students alike are well established, and growing. It seems entirely likely, given growing familiarity on the one hand, and the decline in hardware and software prices on the other, that its future in schools, colleges and universities is assured.

April 2016

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STAYING SAFE ONLINE Cyber bullying, online grooming and sexting are all constant threats to students in today’s web-based virtual world. Richard Doughty explores the innovative means being used to teach children how to protect themselves online


eavy rock music thumped out as three armed ‘avatars’ fought for survival in a virtual landscape. Reality was rather different. Sarah was sitting at her screen, skilfully flicking her mouse and imagining who she was waging war against. Messages and first names were exchanged, game talk turned to outside interests, and Sarah’s virtual adversary, Scott, who she later found out lived locally and knew some of her school friends, used social media to track down where she lived and ask her out. Sarah was rapidly pressured into sexting, Scott reneged on his promise to keep the pictures private, and . . .? The all-girl teenage audience hooked by the 15-minute drama performed at their school by Saltmine Theatre Company were left to decide if, in the final scene, a friend had found Sarah just in time to stop her committing suicide. In a discussion with actors afterwards, one student said: “It was better than just more information and I didn’t realise I didn’t know so much.” Another couldn’t believe how “something so small could get so big”, while a third said she would, “delete anyone I’m following online I don’t know and take all my locations off Facebook”.

READY TO LISTEN AND LEARN Doreen Cunningham, assistant head at St Catherine’s School, Bexleyheath, Kent, which hosted the drama, sponsored by reseller XMA, said it had drawn on popular student activities such as gaming on mobiles, online texting and Facebook messaging. As a result, 20

the girls had immediately recognised themselves and were ready to listen and learn. It reflects the type of forward-thinking approach to online safety also promoted by the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL), a charitable trust providing schools with safe, secure and managed internet services. The trust’s online safety manager, Ken Corish, believes students will only buy into online safety measures if they feel engaged in shaping how it is delivered. “Involving the whole student body is a prime example of making it work sensibly,” says Corish. “But having said that, how it’s delivered is critical. Most schools have historically delivered online safety as part of the ICT curriculum or in discrete units. Yet we know it is not really about technology any more but about behaviour, and schools are expert at managing behaviour on a day-to-day basis.” He sees sexting as an extension or a migration from young people’s sexual behaviour: “An online safety programme should not be delivered in short bursts but be woven into the rest of the curriculum.” Corish argues against a one-size-fits-all strategy: “It’s not enough to just hold safer internet days and one-off assemblies; digital literacy has to be appropriate for children at the stage they are at.” To support this approach, the trust has produced a range of free school resources, including a full digital literacy and citizenship curriculum covering Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 4 and beyond in key areas of online

safety, such as social media use and relationships and communications.

REVIEWING ONLINE SAFETY For schools anxious to review their online safety provision, SWGfL’s free ‘360º safe’ self-review tool offers guidance on developing an action plan to improve policy and practice. For an annual subscription, the trust’s online safety toolkit, Boost, provides schools with tools covering updates in increasingly stringent compliance rules issued by the government, incident management issues, and access to a wide range of webinars and training materials. But how does a school get tech-savvy pupils to buy in to key internet safety messages when technology is moving so fast? Corish says students will regurgitate overt messages like ‘Don’t put personal details online’ or ‘Don’t meet up with strangers from the internet’, but that will have little impact on their behaviour. London Grid for Learning (LGfL), which serves 2,500 (97%) London schools, has produced Cyberpass, an assessment and training tool with a difference. Instead of promoting set topics and then testing pupils’ knowledge, it sets a quiz designed to help teachers digitally assess students’ initial knowledge of e-safety issues and then focus on building up understanding in weaker areas of awareness. Schools outside London can also access Cyberpass and other LGfL services through Trustnet, a managed internet service launched last year. But education has to go hand in

hand with reliable and increasingly sophisticated security systems. In response to stubbornly high levels of online bullying, for instance, Impero’s Education Pro keyword monitoring software now supplies instant screengrabs as proof to teachers and parents of banned student online activity. In addition, its Confide programme allows students to report bullying incidents anonymously or to preferred members of staff.

REPELLING INVADERS E-safety specialist Watchguard has installed over 60 WiFi access points across Portsmouth Grammar School, which is based in a 300-year-old former army barracks, to achieve wireless coverage. It has also set up its Webblocker filtering service, a bring your own device (BYOD)-friendly system that creates a wide range of user access levels. Yet there are limits, even for the most innovative systems, says the school’s network manager, Trevor Barker. “Whatever we do with content filtering and ever increasing bandwidth, we can’t do much to address the freedom afforded to pupils by their 4G phones, which are beyond our remit.” The answer, as the sexting drama suggests, is that holy grail of student buy-in.

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Promethean showcased the latest version of its ClassFlow learning platform for UK schools. Ian Curtis, head of Europe, Africa and Australasia, Promethean, told Tech&Learning UK: “ClassFlow is a kind of glue that can be used to stick together all the technologies in a classroom, bringing value to the device. This means teachers can have interactive engagement with students, with data provided for the teacher to use in the classroom instantly, or to use for analysis later. It is about personalisation of teaching for individual students or groups, and this only drives much more collaboration.”


From a new robotics curriculum to protecting children from online radicalisation, Bett 2016 provided us with a plethora of technology-based innovations. Heather McLean takes a look at the highlights...


his year’s Bett was a techlover’s dream. We were able to find out about cutting edge launches from many of the big industry names such as Smart and Promethean, as well the likes of Fujitsu and Microsoft talking about their latest ideas and partnerships, while niche companies like Vex Robotics and Impero Software announced some seriously exciting work.

ROBOTS AND RADICALISATION From Vex Robotics we got the first robotics curriculum aimed at GCSE students. Created by Vex in partnership with FANUC, a manufacturer of factory automation and industrial robotics, the new syllabus will inspire and prepare Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 (GCSE) students for a career in engineering. Paul McKnight, head of operations, VEX Robotics Europe, said: “The curriculum is an exciting opportunity to give students a hands-on experience of robotic engineering. We hope the new curriculum will inspire and educate 21 T&LUK Apr 2016 Show News_Final.indd 1

children, equipping them to become the engineers of the future.” Meanwhile Impero Software announced it partnered with Hope not Hate, Britain’s largest anti-racism organisation, to continue to update, refine and improve its radicalisation keyword glossary. Launched in response to demand for the solution from schools, and following new Ofsted inspection requirements, the technology enables teachers to monitor children’s online activity in real time. It alerts teachers when students on the school network use terms from the radicalisation keyword glossary and provides screenshots along with definitions of terms, so that they can assess use of terms in context and open up educational discussions with young people.

CHALLENGES AND COLLABORATION In its fifth year exhibiting at Bett, Fujitsu UK and Ireland focused on how STEM and digital skills can be established in

education, showcasing technologies and projects, from a partnership with Lego Education and the Tablet Academy to showcase robotics and programming, to a partnership with Bletchley Park, the National Museum of Computing, and the Tablet Academy, to look at the evolution in innovation and technology through time. Ash Merchant, education director for the technology products group at Fujitsu, spoke to Tech&Learning UK about how he sees the challenges in the British education market: “There is a school in the East Riding of Yorkshire where children are taken out of school for six weeks a year for the lambing season. At another school, kids go for a free meal, then go home. “The question is, how do we engage at Key Stage level 2 to higher education, and what should it lead to, in terms of accelerating students into employment? Technology is going to be the biggest driver for change; it touches every part of our lives, but the biggest change needed is in education,” Merchant stated.

Meanwhile Smart Technologies announced Smart Learning Suite, which combines Smart Notebook, the newly enhanced Smart Lesson Activity Builder (LAB), and Smart amp. Speaking to Tech&Learning UK, president and CEO Neil Gaydon said: “As we move from teacher to kid-learning to flipped learning, these tools allow teachers to teach in the way they now need to.” Commenting on big software brands moving into the education sector, Gaydon stated: “We believe education shouldn’t get involved in the whole consumer world of electronics, buying into Apple or Windows; schools need to look at what their base software is and go from there.” At Bett, big label Microsoft spoke of its acquisition of MinecraftEdu and its investment in a new and expanded version of Minecraft for the classroom. Speaking to Tech&Learning UK at the show, Anthony Salcito, vice president of worldwide education at Microsoft, said: “We certainly see an exciting world of learning change and transformation happening and we see technology as making that happen. As we think of our company, education is something we have been passionately focused on, creating leaders, coders, and programmers of the future.” All in all, Bett 2016 was a resounding success. April 2016


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AUGMENTING THE VIRTUAL WORLD There is tech, and then there is virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) tech. With VR taking children into a virtual world and AR bringing that virtuality into the real world, this is the next generation of making learning really come to life. Read on for Tech&Learning UK’s selection of some of the best...

CHROMVILLE Chromville is an alternative educational world made for children based on AR technology. The story is set on an imaginary planet where, as in the Earth, creativity is the basis of human emotions and happiness. It works thanks to a group of templates ready for kids to colour, which is connected to a mobile app. Once youngsters have finished their artistic masterpieces, the Chromville app scans the colouring pages, recognises them and brings the content to life on the e-device screen with the exact colours with which the colouring page has been painted by the child. The experience allows kids to play and

interact with their drawings, while they acquire knowledge through technology, and develop their creativity. Chromville includes three AR apps already available for Android and iOS. Chromville, focused on improving children’s storytelling capabilities, offers 18 templates based on the six inhabitants of the Chromville planet; Chromville Science encourages and creative learning on different areas such as Earth, solar system, human body and water cycle; and Barcy by Chromville comprises five colouring pages with which kids learn the secrets of water and marine world AR.

AUGMENT EDUCATION Augment, a platform that offers users the capability to simulate any object in 3D AR at scale in real time, in real environments, all from the convenience of a smartphone or tablet, is one of the only free AR solutions for the education community. Augment in Education offers a range of uses, including eyecatching presentations, as by integrating AR into lectures, teachers can capture the attention of the audience. For instance, a teacher in dentistry integrated Augment into his lessons to show 3D models of teeth and how the human jaw works. Interactive lessons are possible as students are able to access models on their own devices via the Augment app. By viewing augmented models, students can gain a better understanding of the concepts they are studying. This is a fun way to engage students and reinforce concepts they have observed during class lectures. Prototypes, physical models, detailed illustrations and posters, usually


prohibitively expensive to make, are easy to create with Augment Education – making portable and less expensive learning materials a reality. Students can access models from any device at any time: whether they are at home or in the classroom, students can study and interact with the course materials. The app also helps foster intellectual curiosity, as incorporating Augment into lessons will make students more excited about learning; born in the digital era, students will be continuously stimulated with AR, able to come up with new ideas and think critically about the world around them.

LGFL MAYA The London Grid for Learning (LGfL) is one of the first content creators to utilise AR for its online collection of resources. Its Key Stage 2 resource Maya: A Journey through the Maya World is one of its first resources to make use of AR and was recognised at the 2016 Bett awards, winning in the category for Primary Digital Content. Co-developed with renowned Maya archaeologist Dr Diane Davies, this new resource explores the culture of the Maya people, their complex language, mathematical systems, the cities they built, and the sport and leisure activities they enjoyed. Designed to shed light on an often neglected period of history, Maya covers 10 key areas: archaeology, mapping the Maya, Maya cities, maths, precious materials, calendars, glyphs, Pok-taPok, Maya art and modern Maya. Within Maya: A Journey

through the Maya World AR is utilised to complement, rather than replace, factual information. Through AR, pupils can view a Coplan Ball Court, listen to a howler monkey and see an aerial view of the Temple of Inscriptions. This is achieved by downloading the LGfL Maya app from the app store which allows a 3D model, video, sound or image (or a combination of all of these) to be activated via the camera lens of a mobile app and shown on the screen overlayed on the real world. ‘Trigger’ or ‘tracker’ images can be viewed either within the resource or printed out through the worksheets provided. In this way AR brings history to life and engages students.

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TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE: AR AND VR DASSAULT SYSTÈMES 3DS ACADEMY Dassault Systèmes’ 3DExperience for Academia, 3DS Academy, is a cloud-based platform to enhance project-based learning by providing a digital universe for methods such as conceive, design, implement, operate (CDIO) and project (problem)-based learning (PBL). Through an intuitive web-based user interface, teachers can create domestic or international collaborative environments such as student projects or exams, and assign roles to participants. Students can start projects on campus, continue at home and discuss issues over online communities or screensharing sessions. Educators can remotely monitor projects, manage idea-maturity and assign grades. The 3D massive open online course (MOOC) Studio meanwhile enables educators to quickly and easily produce, integrate and share interactive virtual reality 3D animations, in addition to video, audio or text files, to enrich their courses and enhance learning. Dassault Systèmes Active Shutter 3D System is a new way of displaying stereoscopic virtual

reality 3D images with active glasses that enables total immersion in the 3DExperience. It facilitates sharing of 3D VR models with students so that they understand and visualise theoretical concepts in a playful way that makes the learning process more engaging. At Harvard University, Egyptian archaeology is taught using 3DExperience simulation software. The same 3D modelling software that is used to design develop and make consumer products, aeroplanes and cars has been deployed to reconstruct virtual artefacts and locations from ancient Egypt. These can be viewed in realistic immersive virtual reality allowing the students to examine them and further their knowledge and understanding. Now a huge archive of photographs, objects and notes collected by the university and museums can be viewed at any time, by any number of students without fear of damage or the need to travel to the highly restricted Giza Plateau itself. Dr Peter Der Manuelian, director of the Giza


The colouring brand BIC Kids has launched DrawyBook, a concept based on a free app and a story book, for children aged five to 10. DrawyBook is an original gaming experience using the creativity of paper and the interactivity of digital technology. It invites children to take part in an interactive story incorporating all sorts of handson activities as well as fun and educational games. Children can personalise and play with many aspects of the interactive story by drawing their own characters or objects before scanning them using the app. 22-24 T&LUK Apr 2016 Showcase_Final.indd 2

The drawing is then captured, incorporated and animated within the story for children’s continued used, bringing their drawings to life in front of their eyes. Throughout the game users are challenged with several mini games which appear as the story unfolds, enabling children to score points which can be used to purchase items throughout their journey. In addition to all of these activities, the free BIC Kids DrawyBook app contains educational content with varying levels of difficulty to engage users of all ages.

Archive Project at Harvard, says: “The virtual environment provides a new means for learning about Egyptian civilisation. The project has allowed my students and colleagues to visualise the data and update and integrate them in ways that were not possible in the past.”

ZAPPAR Zappar is helping students to visualise problems and delivering contextualised learning, which helps aid comprehension and retention of information. It quite literally brings lessons and learning to life – fostering collaboration, interaction, engagement and understanding of a given topic. This summer, Zappar will be hosting a massive open online course (MOOC) on the Canvas Network for teachers and students, showcasing how this technology can bring the classroom to life in a fun and interactive way, and in particular, how it can aid those learning STEM subjects. By connecting the physical world of textbooks, lesson plans and presentations with digital devices, students can add a new type of visual aid, splash of colour and excitement, to any subject. Using the online ZapWorks tool and free Zappar app, it is easy for teachers

and students alike to get hands-on with the technology to create their own AR experiences, and can help students understand sometimes difficult STEM subjects. Students studying the solar system or water cycle, for example, can now visualise the planets and waterways through a smartphone or tablet pointed at an image students themselves have created, generating fun learning experiences in the classroom. With mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones, AR has the potential to become a regular teaching tool for schools up and down the country. Caspar Thykier, CEO at Zappar, says: “AR isn’t a substitute for great teaching but it’s a fantastic complementary tool that helps children visualise problems and immerse themselves in a topic, getting really hands-on with the subject matter.”

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TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE: AR AND VR EON REALITY CREATOR AVR EON Reality recently announced EON Creator Augmented Virtual Reality (AVR), a mobile-based application that enables users to easily create, share, collaborate, and publish AR and VR knowledge content. EON Creator AVR combines both AR and VR with a large AR and VR component library and assessment database to create one-of-a-kind learning experiences. It also uses built-in intelligence to help students and teachers quickly create highly interactive learning content directly on their tablets, smar phones, VR headsets or AR glasses without requiring programming skills.

Today, creating content for AR and VR requires programming skills and the use of advanced authoring tools. Subscription-based EON Creator AVR allows anyone to create, upload, and share AR and VR knowledge content in minutes with no programming. These apps can then be shared on EON Experience VR, an AR-plus-VR personalised learning library, for their students or classmates to experience or people around the world. Also, teacher and students can participate in a multi-user learning environment powered by EON Creator AVR; multiple people can be immersed and collaborate inside the same

LGFL THE COLD WAR Witnessing the fallout from a nuclear detonation is just one of the many AR experiences presented in The Cold War, a new online resource to educate Key Stage 3 and 4 students about the history of the Cold War. Designed to bring this important period of history to life, The Cold War was developed with the expert insight of historian and author Dr Helen Fry and created by the London Grid for Learning (LGfL). The resource also includes 180 high-quality video clips filmed at declassified military sites, as well as high-resolution images of locations, personnel, maps and previously classified documents. Alongside these elements, it was decided that further insight could be provided to students through the format of augmented reality. A 3D model, video, sound or image is shown overlaid on the real world through the camera lens of a mobile device and then displayed on the screen. The effect is generated by programming


the device to recognise a ‘trigger’ or’ or ‘tracker’ image using the LGfL Cold War App (downloaded from the app store). There are 13 AR artefacts within The Cold War, giving students an insider’s view into the interior of a nuclear bunker, interactive maps of nuclear fallout across London and high-altitude jet intercepts. Students can also experience a lifelike moving image of Ronald Reagan giving his iconic Berlin speech, an experience which has far more gravitas than simply reading a transcript. One of the many pitfalls of new technology comes in buying expensive equipment that later lies unused in a classroom cupboard. Bearing this in mind, The Cold War only uses AR to show or demonstrate something that cannot be seen or experienced without it. Furthermore, with tablet devices and infrastructures already in place to support use of this technology, there are no additional costs involved in using the AR elements of The Cold War. As the app is downloadable onto any device, students can also use AR at home through their unique USO login.

application (AR or VR) as well as interact with the content and each other. Gamified learning elements further enhance the experience as learners can explore, play, work together, compete, and, ultimately, be rewarded. Built-in assessment and coaching encourage and guide students to yield a higher level of retention and knowledge transfer. “I cannot think of a better way to

empower teachers and students than to provide them the means to make highly interactive AR and VR lessons without programming knowledge,” says Dan Lejerskar, chairman.


The Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses are highly suited to use within the education sector. The binocular, see-through lenses enable students to be immersed in teaching by HD or 3D content on a large perceived image of up to 320 inches in qHD resolution. The Moverio’s built-in camera, gyroscope, GPS and other sensors allow software to understand the user’s movements, and enable developers to create interactive AR applications for use within education. A large 8GB internal memory, with space for another 32GB via SD card, means there is plenty of storage for educational teaching applications. The six-hour battery life allows use throughout the majority of the school day without the need to charge, and its lightweight design means it can be comfortably worn for an extended period. It has a pocket-sized control unit, with multi-touch track pad, making it easy for students to control, and its 1.2GHz dualcore processor, Dolby Digital Plus, and

1GB RAM give it enough power to work efficiently, imperative for successful teaching and study. Moverio runs on Android, allowing developers the accessibility and flexibility to create innovative applications for education. One example of this is Dáskalos, a German-based company, creating AR chemistry applications using the Moverio smart glasses. Dáskalos combines traditional textbooks and physical learning materials with digital technology. For example students can use QR code flashcards representing a chemical element, and when viewed through smart glasses the codes become interactive 3D models of that particular element. This blend of physical and virtual learning offers the chance to transform traditionally ‘dry’ subjects, where engaging and motivating students can often prove difficult, into dynamic and interactive lessons.

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Educational technology and the scope of its meaning has changed dramatically over the years. From the simple use of computers to teaching maths, entire online degree platforms, gamification or virtual reality techniques, what started as an experiment in education delivery is now being transformed by a new breed of technology entrepreneurs. EdTechXEurope, now in its fourth year and growing internationally, is hitting London in June to explore these changes


t is widely understood that just as technology has disrupted and improved most major segments of our economy, education and training will in the same way undergo a tech revolution. However, a recent industry report by IBIS Capital and EdTechXGlobal found that digital spend in education sits at just 2%, compared to 35% in content industries, indicating a long rising tide rather than an avalanche of digital penetration in this market. While this is due to some fairly significant differences in the education market compared with other sectors, such as the increased number of gatekeepers involved in digital transition – teachers, institutions, governing bodies, districts and policy makers to name a few – there are also a large number of opportunities that exist and global barriers that only technology can tackle.

ADDRESSING CHALLENGES For the past four years, the annual EdTechXEurope summit has aimed to address these challenges and 25 T&LUK Apr 2016 Show News_Final.indd 1

opportunities by acting as a catalyst for growth in the market through bringing the global education technology community together. The thought leadership event has grown exponentially since its conception in 2012, with increasing numbers of international delegates now attending the London-based summit. The global attendance hailing from 40-plus countries, along with a burgeoning global marketplace, led founders to this year rebrand the summit as part of the EdTechXGlobal series, which now includes EdTechXEurope in London, as well as EdTechXAsia in Singapore in November. EdTechXEurope, taking place on 15-16 June, will provide a platform for decision makers, innovators, educators and investors to share insights and hear first-hand from experts who have realised and embraced the rich opportunities and growth this sector has to offer. The link between rising education expenditure and educational performance is weak, with global

education expenditure expected to increase 8% per annum over the next five years as education becomes increasingly more expensive, according to EdTechxEurope’s EdTech Report 2016. As such, reducing the price tag associated with traditional education delivery is just one example of the opportunities that education technology offers.

POWER OF ED TECH In fact, this is particularly true for e-learning methods, credited with the ability to deliver one-to-many on a completely new cost base. However, cost efficiencies are not only the domain of the e-learning world. Reliable broadband services and the penetration of mobile devices have facilitated policies like bring your own device (BYOD) in schools, allowing pupils to use their own equipment. As a result, less money is spent on hardware, which currently makes up 60% of IT budgets. The importance of ed tech does not just lie with the power it has to bring down costs and engage learners

in new and innovative ways. It is also about the way in which it can equalise standards and enable access for all, resulting in the democratisation of education. With the number of worldwide students expected to hit 2.7 billion by 2035 [EdTechXEurope’s EdTech Report 2016], online platforms, mobile applications and new learning formats are massively improving access to education and bringing with them exciting standardisation possibilities for content, regardless of geographical location. In June, co-founders Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet and Charles McIntyre, with over 150 expert speakers, will discuss these and other emerging trends set to impact the sector over the next 12 months. Key themes will include: skills and talent gaps, adaptive learning, artificial intelligence, and IoT in education, to name a few. Having doubled event attendees consecutively since 2012, this summer’s event is expected to be the biggest yet. April 2016


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IF YOU BUILD IT, WILL THEY USE IT? In 2011 NUI Galway deployed the Kaltura video platform, which not only answered the university’s video issues but came to be used in far more diverse ways than anyone ever expected. Sharon Flynn, assistant director at the centre for excellence in learning and teaching at NUI Galway, gives her account of how the platform has evolved


e started our video journey in 2009. Fast-forward to today and video is now a vital tool for National University of Ireland – Galway (NUI Galway). With 17,000 students enrolled, of whom 3,000 study remotely, the use of video in teaching and learning is growing rapidly. As one of the top 2% of universities globally for teaching and research, we are keen to stay ahead of the curve and embrace technologies that help with our world ranking. Video is clearly incredibly important for blended and distance


learning, and also helps to improve student engagement, and ultimately learning outcomes. We started looking for a solution for managing video on campus seven years ago. While we were looking, we developed our own interim solution, which didn’t scale, and then tried external services such as YouTube and Vimeo, which didn’t allow videos to be kept private. Also, a solution from HEAnet, Ireland’s education and research network, proved difficult to use.

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SOLUTIONS: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND – GALWAY DEPLOYING KALTURA In 2011 we discovered video technology company Kaltura’s open source video platform. We were impressed by its ease of use and that, because it is a hosted platform, we wouldn’t have to worry about storage capacity on campus. The platform also allowed us to keep videos private, another important factor in our decision because it allayed staff concerns over storing video content on publicly accessible sites. Following a successful pilot, we integrated Kaltura Video Building Block for Blackboard with our main Blackboard learning environment in January 2012, making it available campus-wide. Faculty and students now use rich media as easily as text. The cloud-based Kaltura platform allows faculty and students to create, edit and upload videos with a click of a button, using tablets, smartphones and laptops. Once uploaded, videos can be viewed by students and staff from any device, via their Blackboard account. And staff can easily set up access rights for videos so they can be kept personal to a specific class. We believe that this video initiative, underpinned by Kaltura, is unique in Ireland. In 2014 we added more Kaltura tools. Kaltura MediaSpace is a video-centric portal that allows staff and research groups on campus to promote their work to the rest of the world. It is also helping us to recruit the right calibre of staff and students. We have also deployed Kaltura’s video extension for Microsoft SharePoint, which means that we can house training videos on our staff-only intranet.

INITIAL LEARNINGS Although we have always had clear goals for our technology projects, there were some unexpected results. For example, we did not foresee the popularity of the simple webcam recording, particularly for teachers on distance courses. This adds a touch of the personal, where the teacher can speak directly and naturally to the students. The Kaltura screen recording feature is also popular, because teachers no longer have to use free screen recorders or more expensive editing software. 26-27 T&LUK Apr 2016 Solutions 1_Final.indd 2

Also, the platform just works. Early in the project, we were surprised to contact some teachers who were making extensive use of the Kaltura building block, but didn’t realise they were using anything more than the basic functionality of the VLE, so seamless is the integration. We have also seen a considerable uptake in requests for use of our video recording facilities and training. By providing the platform, interest from staff to use video to support teaching has increased.

TAKING STOCK In 2015 we decided to assess the impact that video has had at our institution by looking at the analytics data available on the Kaltura platform. Chart 1 shows the rapid growth in video contributions, contributors and views year on year. Meanwhile, Chart 2 shows the breakdown of content views. As you’d expect, there were relatively few views over the summer recess, but we discovered that students watch videos during teaching weeks as well as during revision periods.

INTERESTING USE We also looked at some of the innovative ways that faculty and students are incorporating video into their teaching and learning. Here are a just a few highlights: LAB DEMOS: One science lecturer now uses video to teach students how to plot drugs data onto graph paper. He storyboarded the whole process. We filmed him in our studio as he filled in the graph and showed his PowerPoint slides. The result is a nine-minute video that students can view prior to the lesson, and as many times as they like thereafter. Two nurses in our nursing faculty recorded a video on an iPad in a single take. One nurse controlled the recording and did the voiceover live, while the other nurse performed the procedure on a ‘patient’. The video is a highly effective way of showing students important protocols and techniques that can be watched over and over again.

Chart 1:

The Numbers 2012



Number of contributions




Number of contributors




Media entries played




Chart 2:

Contect Views













FLIPPED CLASSROOM: One of our lecturers in soil mechanics was struggling to keep students engaged. He created 15 PowerPoint videos with a voiceover using Camtasia, condensing 24 hours of lecture material into just two hours of video. Students now watch the appropriate video before class and spend time in class problem solving. The students are far more active and engaged, and everyone is enjoying the classes much more. One of our speech and language therapy lecturers wanted to link theory to practice using a flipped classroom. She used Kaltura’s screen recording tool and talked to the PowerPoint slides. These ten-minute videos are available for students to view ahead of the practical sessions. By incorporating simple multi-choice quizzes in Blackboard, the students can also test themselves. The result is that the lecturer now focuses on facilitating during lectures, rather than on conveying content. STUDENT-CREATED VIDEOS: A professor in our earth and ocean








science team asks students to work in groups and produce a six- to eightminute video on a topic relating to the history of the world. Students get to unleash their creativity and we have seen some outstanding videos using a range of techniques: some speak directly to camera; some film on location; while others film in our studio using the green screen and add graphics, animations and more. As well as gaining valuable experience of working in teams, students leave with a wonderful artefact they can use for job applications or further study.

IN CONCLUSION One of my favourite quotes derives from the baseball movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, will people use it?” This is not always the case in ed tech, but I’m glad to say that our video capabilities, underpinned by the Kaltura platform, and supported by a small team of learning technologists with advice and training, are proving to be a winner campus-wide.

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DELIVERING ENGAGING LECTURES As part of a 10-year technology upgrade to enhance the learning experience for students, the University of Bath has rolled out an installation of Sony laser projectors to provide engaging learning facilities for students across its campus So far, the university has replaced ten lamp-based projectors with new laser models from Sony


onnecting with students and inspiring them to learn is a priority for all educational institutions. Students today are accustomed to interactive, visual experiences and in order to resonate with this evolving demographic, university lecturing needs to adopt similar practices. At the University of Bath, which is one of the UK’s top ten universities, the teaching body recognised that by bringing the most advanced technology into the lecture theatre, it would be able capture students’ attention and deliver a genuinely engaging educational programme.

ENHANCING LEARNING The university’s single campus is home to more than 15,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, with alumni representing more than 150 countries. It has committed to upgrading its teaching rooms over the next ten years to enhance the learning experience for its students and aid their educational development. As part of that commitment, it has already capitalised on a broad range of innovative technologies and multimedia communications tools that bring a fresh dimension and enrich the learning experience. Previously, the university installed six Sony VPL-FH500L projectors and a hefty 51 Sony VPL-FH31 projectors to create an immersive, informative learning


environment to bring lectures to life. In 2015 the university decided to take that technology one step further and expanded a rolling refurbishment programme across the whole campus, to ensure more students could benefit from interactive learning.

EFFICIENT PROJECTION A key priority for the university was finding an efficient projection solution that was simple to maintain. Aging lamp-based projectors, which take a lot of time and energy to run smoothly, did not suit the needs and pressures of a modern educational institution, the university decided. Instead, it required a solution that would deliver hours of maintenance-free use. The university needed a solution that would allow it to standardise and improve its technology platform across its teaching spaces. It recognised that laser is one of the most important developments the audiovisual (AV) industry has seen, and wanted to be at the cutting edge of bringing that to its students. Sony’s technology and experience in projectors suited the university’s requirements; the technology company understands AV solutions, and also understands how to create an engaging environment through rich multimedia platforms. Sony’s projectors were chosen by AV integrator Reflex, thanks to the resolution and brightness delivered by 3LCD laser technology, which is up to

10,000 lumens in the biggest lecture rooms where multiples models are used. The Sony solution was the top pick for the university due to its 20,000 hours of virtually maintenance-free operation. In conjunction with the university of Bath’s AV team and Reflex, Sony designed and implemented a solution that featured six VPL-FHZ55 and four VPL-FHZ700L 3LCD laser projectors with a colour brightness of 4,000 and 7,000 lumens respectively. Both laser models selected are designed to fit seamlessly into any environment, offering exceptional brightness, zoom and throw range, coupled with wide lens shift range, meaning they can perform where other projectors would struggle, even in high ambient light.

IMMERSIVE ENVIRONMENT The team succeeded in creating an immersive, informative education environment that brings presentations up to date for both lecturers and students. Feedback on the installation has been very positive from students, academics and staff, resulting in the university feeling that it can positively strive towards educational excellence with teaching solutions that provide access to the creative and interactive advantages that laser projection can offer. With the projectors running up to ten hours a day during the academic week, the university has been impressed with

the power consumption and efficiency. It has enjoyed the reliability and low total cost of ownership that laser technology offers, safe in the knowledge that the image quality will remain throughout the projector’s lifespan. The University of Bath’s AV manager, Rob Hyde, commented on the solution selection: “It was important for the university to find a solution that maintained a high performance, excellent image quality and compatibility with our existing technologies. Reflex recommended Sony’s projectors and they have delivered what we needed. With the success of the initial laser projectors and this latest installation, we’re looking forward to continuing to develop in the years to come.” The University of Bath continues to work to upgrade its projection technology across the campus.

The laser projectors provide up to 20,000 hours of virtually maintenance -free operation

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BITING THE APPLE Albert Pritchard Infant and Wood Green Junior Federated Schools have introduced Apple technology into the learning environment, resulting in much improved creativity and engagement


oung pupils’ learning experience at the Albert Pritchard Infant and Wood Green Junior Federated Schools in Wednesbury, West Midlands, was being hampered by an old ICT suite that the schools were struggling along with. The suite was simply not fit for purpose. Immobile, unreliable, slow and expensive to licence, the equipment was not enabling teachers to engage with pupils in a way that would give them a keen interest to learn. Determined to improve things and, with the help of assistant head and ICT lead, Laura McGee, they set out to find a solution to the problem.


Pupils are enjoying classes much more and are engaging with teachers in a more positive and creative way (Library picture)

CHEWING OVER CHOICES Following in-depth research into available products and technologies, McGee soon discovered Apple was coming out on top. “The technology is so easy to use,” she explains. “The range of multimedia apps that are available are perfect for enhancing the learning process. Plus they can be tailored to Key Stage 1 or 2 so everyone can benefit from them and enjoy using them.” The schools attended a one-day event hosted by Apple Solutions Expert in Education reseller KRCS, and were impressed with the options available. “We were particularly interested in iMovie,” said McGee. “We knew this would really grab the children’s attention and encourage them to be creative. Plus, we were encouraged with the range of numeracy and literacy support options available, particularly those which would help to engage our pupils who have special needs.”

DIGESTING LEARNING The schools invested in a number of iPads and installed a modern ICT suite comprising 31 iMac computers, which is 30

situated at the infant school site. “We chose KRCS to supply the equipment because the training and support was second to none,” said McGee. “As we didn’t have an ICT manager at the time, KRCS helped us specify the equipment, set everything up, including the WiFi enhancements, and spent a day going through the basics. They even helped us to choose the most appropriate furniture for the ICT suite.” MacBook Pro was deployed across the two schools, initially to help teachers get to grips with the technology. “Some teachers were

resistant at first,” said McGee. “This was mainly due to a lack of confidence and knowledge but, following two days of training by an Apple specialist, they soon embraced the changes and realised the benefits they would bring.” The schools installed a bright and modern Apple ICT suite and are now using a mixture of iMac, MacBook Pro and iPad to deliver the curriculum in a more exciting, interactive and mobile way. Pupils are now benefiting from using technology at an early age, giving them a good grounding for future studies.

A number of iLife and iWork apps are now being utilised to deliver the curriculum across the two schools, including iMovie, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages and Numbers. McGee comments: “The children particularly love iMovie and GarageBand. They can record their own music and add it to video footage they’ve taken around the school site. We have played their movies in assembly and they really enjoy showing off their creations.” Teachers report that pupils are much more engaged and are having fun while learning vital skills that will help them in their future learning. Plus, with the installation of WiFi, the children are able to continue their learning outside the classroom walls. Carla Clarke, head teacher at Albert Pritchard Infant and Wood Green Junior Federated Schools, comments: “Choosing KRCS and Apple products was absolutely the right route to improving the way our children are learning. The technology is so easy to use that even our Key Stage 1 pupils can benefit. They are now arriving at Key Stage 2 much more confident and ready to learn.” Pupils are enjoying classes much more and are engaging with teachers in a more positive and creative way. They are learning new skills and studying independently at their own pace. The schools’ online learning platform, Frog, has even made homework “more fun”, she notes. “The range of multimedia apps that are available are perfect for enhancing the learning process. Plus they can be tailored to Key Stage 1 or 2 so everyone can benefit from them and enjoy using them,” McGee concludes.

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HP SPROUT PRO Using technology to improve teaching and learning

KEY FEATURES All in one PC, document camera, 2D and 3D scanners plus more Combines 3D capture of real-world objects with simple yet powerful editing tools Brings students’ ideas to life New high-performance processor and memory technologies


P unveiled Sprout Pro, an immersive learning platform designed for schools and professionals, earlier this year at Bett 2016. For the modern classroom, Sprout Pro consolidates the PC, document camera, 2D and 3D scanners and more, into a cost-effective, all-inone solution that reinvents the way teachers and students learn, create, collaborate and share. By using Sprout’s blend of tactile, visual and audio engagement, educators are offered powerful means of differentiating instruction and personalising learning, says HP. Sprout Pro builds on the original all-in-one Sprout PC and ecosystem with several software and hardware enhancements. It provides a modern foundation for any curriculum and skill development at any level by accelerating remote learning to allow students and classrooms around the globe to collaborate together on projects and assignments in real time. Meanwhile, it also maximises classroom IT budgets and helps to 32

close the digitisation gap by combining multiple technologies into a single, affordable piece of kit. The Sprout Ecosystem also continues to grow with several new 3D-oriented applications from Autodesk –Tinkercad, Sculpt+ and Print Studio – which deliver professionalgrade tools tuned for Sprout. Tinkercad is an easy-to-use tool for creating digital designs. Sculpt+ users create or sculpt anything, from creatures, spaceships, vehicles, props and more, directly on the device in full 3D, before using the 3D print environment of Print Studio. Additionally, the new Light Guide Systems Pro modernises manual assembly processes in commercial and training applications. Sprout converts a desk’s surface into a digital-physical workspace and adds new functionality such as: • The Sprout Companion for Skype for Business enables a new level of remote sharing and collaboration, including the ability to share a Sprout 2D capture during a Skype meeting, as well as easily annotate

on the Skype whiteboard using the Sprout pen and mat. HP External Display Mixer allows users to share what’s on the Sprout dual screen, video from the webcam, or the downward-facing camera, or all at the same time. HP Scan provides added professional-level document scanning and optical character recognition with features like

custom resolution, exposures, colour or greyscale and scan destinations for pro-level results. • HP Magnifier replaces a document camera and allows users to share live physical objects or documents with an audience. • Microsoft Windows 10 Professional provides a safer, innovative and updated experience while helping users to manage their devices, apps, and identities. • The new generation Intel Core i7 processors with DDR4 memory for additional processing power and integrated graphics performance. Says Gus Schmedlen, vice president of education, HP: “Sprout Pro by HP transforms a classroom desk space into a digital and physical workspace that allows teachers to inspire in a more natural, intuitive and creative way – while students get a hands-on learning experience so they can take ideas from thought to expression like never before.” Sprout Companion for Skype for Business, HP External Display Mixer, HP Scan and HP Magnifier are included.

Year 10 students at The Marist Schools in Ascot were tasked with working out the application of HP’s new Sprout Pro in their school, as well as holding workshops for teachers on its use. One student on the Sprout Pro team at the school, Lottie Stabbins, commented: “In schools, you can only ever be taught by a teacher who teaches in their way, but with Sprout you get another angle or you can learn in a different way. Sprout Pro makes me want to be taught.” Meanwhile, another student, Grace Hillabrant, said: “Sprout means you’re able to use your imagination more and whatever you think of, you can create it.”

April 2016

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LINGUMI LEARNING CUBES Teaching languages to youngsters through AR play


ondon-based start-up Lingumi, founded by graduates from Oxford and UCL, recently launched its first product: a connected toy that teaches languages to infants through play. Lingumi Learning Cubes consists of five connected child-safe cubes in a little white box that interact with an app on a tablet or smartphone. The kit is designed for children aged two to six years old, the period when infants’ brains are proven to be most adapted to language learning. The game teaches five languages, including English, French and Mandarin. Toby Mather, a modern languages graduate from Oxford, decided to start Lingumi while he was teaching English to children in Russia: “We wanted to design an app for language learning, but our academic research and conversations with families with young children led us towards something more tactile and interactive than just tapping and swiping, so we designed the cubes.” The app works using camera technology developed by co-founder Adit Trivedi, a computer science graduate from UCL. The Lingumi Learning Cubes are child-safe foam cubes that use augmented reality (AR) technology to connect to an iOS or 33 T&LUK Apr 2016 Product Focus 2_Final.indd 1

Android tablet or smartphone. Unique binary codes are printed onto the faces of the cubes, and are detected by the app using the front-facing camera on the tablet or smartphone, as the child and parent play. This means that there is no technology or sensors in the box or the cubes, which can be chucked about by the kids as much as they like without risking technical damage. ‘When I saw the Lingumi cubes, my first thought was this could be really motivating for some of my ASD kids; the language used is simple and repetitive and the visuals could really engage them’ Helen Froggatt, NHS speech therapist When a child puts a cube on the box, which is their ‘playing area’, it activates a character on the smartphone or tablet screen (the same colour, with the same face as the character on the cube), and that character teaches them a word, or activates an object on the screen. For example, in one game a baby is in its high chair asking for food items, and the characters are on shelves around the baby, holding the items: if it asks for milk, and you trigger the character holding the milk, that character gives the milk to the baby who says ‘Yum, milk’

(this varies depending on the grammar model). If you trigger the apple, the baby will say something like ‘No, not the apple, I want milk’. The scientific method behind the idea has been developed with advice from world experts in child language acquisition, including Professor William O’Grady from the University of Hawaii, author of How Children Learn Language and an advisor to the company. The start up is also running an academic study with Dr Caroline Floccia, an expert in psycholinguistics at Plymouth University Baby Lab (Department of Psychology) on an academic study to measure how well children learn words in a second language, across different conditions to test the effectiveness of the method. “Most learning apps make claims that they haven’t backed up scientifically; we’re trying to be thorough with our research,” says Mather. In terms of measuring input, there are multiple ways it is done with Lingumi: one is measuring how accurately children respond to questions by selecting correct cube colours. Others measure engagement: which types of games children prefer, and how long they spend playing them. The model then delivers the same language, but

KEY FEATURES Colourful cubes that interact with Lingumi apps, made from squishy, child-safe foam Self-strengthening learning content delivered to learners across interlinking products A structured methodology, blending tactile play and digital apps Products for under 6s, informed by user testing and ongoing academic studies Compatible with Apple iOS 8.4 and above, and Android 2.3 or above through preferred types of games. An example of how it would work is that the system would figure out that a child was having difficulty with understanding the word ‘apple’, and so it would loop back and deliver that child a very simple game, in which the ‘apple’ was shown on screen with the audio repeated several times. Then, at a later stage, it would check again to see if they understood ‘apple’ in a more complex game, by seeing if they recognised which cube to use to trigger it. Lingumi, retailing at £34.99, is an exciting development in linguistics. April 2016

33 18/04/2016 16:40



Poor WiFi hindering student prospects Just over half of IT managers in schools around the world believe poor WiFi access is negatively impacting student learning experiences. The Unknown Network, a study commissioned by Aerohive Networks, of 560 IT decision makers in schools around the world, found widespread dissatisfaction in the current deployment of WiFi services to meet the needs of students and teachers. The findings show that 92% of IT decision makers in schools recognise the importance of high-quality WiFi for the learning experience. Only 41% of respondents, however, feel they have deployed WiFi that provides enough visibility and control to support students with their learning. According to the study, while access to budgets remains competitive, investment in WiFi and bring your own device (BYOD) connectivity solutions will be a major priority for a large proportion of IT managers in 2016. The Unknown Network report confirms that devices and mobile technology have permeated the teaching environment in recent years. Altogether, 75% of schools and other educational institutions have embraced and actively encourage BYOD. Respondents believe high-quality WiFi will most likely improve learning outcomes for IT, technology, science and maths which is significant, given that global demand for a workforce skilled in STEM subjects continues to grow.

GREAT IDEAS Smart robot teaches kids and adults to code

Codeybot is an exciting two-wheel self-balancing robot that teaches the fundamentals of coding in a fun and playful way, and has been created by the robotics experts at Makeblock. The small robot packs in plenty of features, including the ability to shoot lasers out of a special detachable turret, playing your favourite music, dancing, and much more while teaching kids the ability to code. The robot is easy for beginners to adopt, and complex enough for experienced coders to tinker and learn.

Kids challenged to ‘Take Six’

AVG Technologies, an online security company, and The Scout Association have announced the start of a new initiative aimed at encouraging young people to think before posting or sharing their pictures, videos or texts. The launch of Take 6, or #tk6 is focused on helping people make more informed decisions online. #tk6 is built on the idea that people should stop to think before posting or sending, essentially encouraging them to ‘take six seconds’ before making that decision. There are three options for the #tk6 community to tackle their very own ‘six-second challenge’: • Six Seconds of Silence: With the help of their friends and fellow Scouts, we challenge children to record a video showing the action of counting to six in silence, to symbolise the six seconds of thinking before you post. • The Lemon Challenge: Accepting the nomination, brave the bitterness to bite into a lemon for six seconds, then nominate six more people to take the challenge. • Be Prepared: Create six-second videos illustrating The Scouts’ ‘Be Prepared’ motto to represent the time needed to stop and think about a decision in the digital world.

EDITORIAL CALENDAR Coming up in Tech&LearningUK magazine later this year September

Utilising the cloud Mobile devices as learning tools How to: Optimise WiFi Tech showcase: Projectors


Relevance of game-based learning Learning management systems How to: Use e-books for engaging learning Tech showcase: Voting systems

Please send editorial submissions to

Remember – you can follow Tech&Learning UK on Twitter at @TechLearningUK and on the web at 34

April 2016

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08/04/2015 16:53:42 09/04/2015 09:50

The latest Wireless Education Presentation System from wePresent Introducing the new WiPG-1600


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wePresent’s new WiPG-1600 wireless presentation system was designed with the modern classroom in mind, allowing students to mirror their laptops and mobile devices - including iOS devices through AirPlay - in full 1080p resolution. The ability to connect up to 64 students at a time in a BYOD-capable higher education environment allows classrooms to move beyond slideshows and lectures to become active learning environments.

Teacher/Moderator Control Remote Presentation View Touchscreen Control Full Network Integration

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Š wePresent 2016

14/04/2016 09:38:33

Tech&LearningUK April 2016 Digital  

Technology for engaging minds

Tech&LearningUK April 2016 Digital  

Technology for engaging minds