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www.techandlearning.uk November 2015

PRESSING FOR CHANGE WHAT’S SLOWING DOWN EDTECH ADOPTION?

SCHOOL REPORTING

USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO INFORM AND ENGAGE PARENTS P18

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SEE PAGE 14

MEETING OF MINDS

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WELCOME

Moving on Editor: Michael Nicholson michael@weareoutput.co.uk Executive Editor: Paddy Baker pbaker@nbmedia.com Executive Editor: Joanne Ruddock jruddock@nbmedia.com Head of Design: Jat Garcha jgarcha@nbmedia.com Designer: Tom Carpenter tcarpenter@nbmedia.com Sales Manager: Gurpreet Purewal gpurewal@nbmedia.com Account Manager: Peter McCarthy pmccarthy@nbmedia.com US Sales - Executive Vice President: Adam Goldstein agoldstein@nbmedia.com Production Executive: Warren Kelly wkelly@nbmedia.com Head of Digital: Tim Frost tfrost@nbmedia.com Content Director: James McKeown Contributors: Nick Chater, Andrew Cross, Terry Freedman, Gerd Kaiser, Martin Large, Chris Waterworth Tech&LearningUK is published four times a year by NewBay Media, 1st Floor, Suncourt House, 18-26 Essex Road, London N1 8LR, England Editorial tel: +44 (0)7986 473520 Sales tel: +44 (0)20 7354 6000 Please send press material to heather@mclean-media.com

© NewBay Media 2015. 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 www.techandlearning.uk/subscribe

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My time working on Tech&LearningUK started out with a speculative conversation sometime in the early autumn of 2014. The idea of editing a magazine about education and technology instantly appealed to me; I knew there would be intriguing stories, brilliant characters and lots of innovative technology. I haven’t been disappointed. In fact, all my expectations have been surpassed. I’m writing this, my final Welcome, knowing that Tech&LearningUK’s journey – both in print and online – has only just started. While you may think I’m bailing just as things are getting interesting – and you’d be right – it’s the right time for me to step away and hand the reins over to Heather McLean, who takes up the Editor: Michael Nicholson position of editor with immediate effect. Heather is a successful freelance editor and reporter within the education, technology and business sectors. Her work within the education sector has included writing for Guardian Education, Times Educational Supplement (TES) and ICT for Education. So I’m confident that the title will be in good hands. She can be contacted at heather@mclean-media.com. For me, any walk of life is about the people who, one way or another, have found themselves there. Where education and technology meet, there is an ongoing debate that surrounds their marriage. For me, it’s an intriguing one. I’ll continue to follow its progress with a keen eye as I take on my next challenge. This issue is packed with thought-provoking articles and features. As ever, our contributors have given us a range of opinion pieces, covering subjects like technology being hijacked by large corporations, investing in interactivity, the benefits of laser projection and the advantages presented by video over the network. Our interview is with Barco’s Wim Barbaix, who discusses teamwork, collaboration and information sharing. We’ve got features about how to make the most of free resources, the role of social media in communicating your message to various stakeholders, and we canvass a range of opinions as we ask the question: is technologydriven progress hindered by slow-moving policy? Our solutions features look at a new ‘professional’ studio at the University of Westminster, how the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge are coping with ever-increasing demands for WiFi provision, and how a training and education company came to choose touchscreens over projection-based whiteboards. I hope you enjoy the issue and I wish all of you the very best.

CONTRIBUTORS Nick Chater gained experience in the leadership and management of a rich diversity of teams. In recent years he has turned his attention to game-based learning, education applications, edtech networking and coaching.

Terry Freedman has worked in education since 1975. He has taught in schools, been head of department, worked at the UK’s Qualifications & Curriculum Authority, held a senior position in a London local education authority, and was an Ofsted inspector for ICT and business education.

Martin Large joined Steljes as finance director in 1996, having previously worked in investment banking. Under Martin’s leadership, Steljes has built a strong reputation and business model within the industry.

Dr Andrew Cross worked on high-end graphics software before joining NewTek in 1998 as a senior software engineer; now president and CTO, he has managed the development of numerous projects there. He has published more than 20 technical papers in peer-reviewed scientific conferences and journals.

Gerd Kaiser is senior product line manager for large venue projectors at NEC Display Solutions Europe. His main responsibilities include the management of high-end installation projectors and digital cinema projector ranges. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from the Technische Universität in Munich, Germany.

Chris Waterworth is a teacher at Pear Tree Primary School in Nantwich, Cheshire. He has been teaching in primary schools for over 10 years and has used technology in his classrooms from the very beginning.

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CONTENTS

18

PEOPLE

FEATURES

6 Interview

14 Does Policy Hinder Progress?

Wim Barbaix, Barco

8 Opinion

Nick Chater on the perils of ‘fast education’ Martin Large on success factors for interactive learning Gerd Kaiser on laser projection technology Dr Andrew Cross on the move to networked video

We investigate why innovation often races ahead of change

SOLUTIONS

22 University of Westminster

Recording facilities to rival high-end commercial studios

24 Newcastle College Group

Making the switch from projectorbased whiteboards to touchscreens

25 Universities of Oxford and Cambridge

The right infrastructure is crucial when catering for growing WiFi demand

14 18 Social Media

TECHNOLOGY

20 How To…

Clevertouch Plus Kuato Studios Code Warriors PASCO SPARK Element

How schools can improve communication with stakeholders

6 4

22

Make the most of free resources

26 Reviews

32 Showcase Collaboration Tools

November 2015

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INTERVIEW: WIM BARBAIX

TEAMWORK AND COLLABORATION Wim Barbaix is Barco’s business development manager education – collaborative learning. He works with universities and companies to provide them with technology that will enhance the collaborative learning experience. This includes applications relevant to flipped learning, active learning with technology rooms and remote training facilities

Wim Barbaix: “I travel to a lot of universities all over Europe and I see a lot of differences in the way that technology is being used. But ultimately, the spirit of collaboration is there”

HOW HAS THE CLASSROOM CHANGED SINCE YOU WERE AT SCHOOL? When I attended university in the 1980s there was already a focus on teamwork and collaboration; the only difference was that we didn’t have the technology to support us. Instead we relied on the more traditional methods – like chalkboards and pen and paper. As it stands now, I travel to a lot of universities, all over Europe and I see a lot of differences in the way that technology is being used. But ultimately, the spirit of collaboration is there, it’s just the way that technology enables and supports it that is different.

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DO YOU THINK THERE’S A CROSSOVER BETWEEN EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY USED IN THE ORGANISATIONAL MEETING ROOM? There’s definitely a crossover between education technology and business technology. Students, teachers and business people are affected by the same trends and use technology, like smartphones, laptops and tablets to make their lives easier and to enable them to do things more efficiently. Whether in the learning environment or in the work setting, there are also similar approaches that students and

businesspeople use to complete tasks and projects. These include working together, collaboration and the sharing of ideas and information. From that perspective, the technology needed to bring people together and make collaboration more effective and efficient is ultimately the same. For example, meeting room technology connects users and their devices to a central screen so that data, presentations, video, audio or graphics can be shared with all participants – which ideally should be in real time, and in the same resolution or quality as on the host device. The objective of having this technology is to promote

engagement and participation by enabling each meeting participant to interact with the content and show their own ideas on the shared screen. This same technology can be transplanted directly into a classroom where a teacher and students are interacting and sharing information from devices to a shared screen. In the same way, the characteristics of an effective meeting room technology translate to technology used in the classroom. This includes ease of use, flexibility, compatibility with multiple devices and different operating systems, security and ease of management. For both lessons and

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INTERVIEW: WIM BARBAIX Barbaix believes that collaboration will continue to feature in the classroom in years to come and technology will continue to support and improve it

DO BUSINESSES HAVE ANYTHING TO LEARN FROM THE WAY CHILDREN USE TECHNOLOGY, PARTICULARLY IN A CLASSROOM SETTING?

lessons, whether that’s problem-solving, completing a task or just discussing a topic. So from that perspective businesses definitely have something to learn from the way students are using technology in the classroom. Students have an appetite for technology and are adept at using it to make lessons – and, indeed, learning – much easier and more productive. For the younger generations especially, the so-called digital natives, using technology like smartphones, tablets and laptops is a natural behaviour. For workplaces, these classroom behaviours like active engagement and collaboration tie in with the same technologies that are used in organisations.

We are seeing some very definite trends in the education technology sector – like the fact that students want to be actively involved in the classroom and lessons. There’s been a shift from the teacher-centric solutions of the past to student-centric solutions that encourage active participation and discussion. Students no longer want to lean back and listen to a teacher impart knowledge; rather they want to be actively listening and participating in

WITH THE PROLIFERATION OF WIFI AND HIGH-SPEED CONNECTIVITY, COUPLED WITH THE AFFORDABILITY OF SMART TECH LIKE PHONES AND TABLETS, WILL FUTURE GENERATIONS OF CHILDREN AND TEACHERS RELY ON USING THEIR OWN DEVICES IN THE CLASSROOM, FULLY EMBRACING THE BYOD

business meetings time and productivity are crucial, so any technology that supports collaboration will need to be plug and play, and require minimal to no support from the IT department to get it working and connect all participants. And certainly, when you consider something like BYOD, entrenched in the workplace and also making significant inroads into the learning environment, be it in primary schools, high schools or universities, the crossovers in device and technology use are significant.

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TREND RATHER THAN USING SUPPLIED TECHNOLOGY OR INFRASTRUCTURE? As mentioned before, the younger generations of children are digital natives that use technology in their daily lives as standard. From social interactions with friends and buying online, to booking concert tickets and downloading homework assignments, their use of technology is almost limitless. Going forward, this attitude of having the same devices at school, and even in the workplace, with the same functionality and ease of use of the technology used at home and in their personal lives will persist. Just like the BYOD trend in the workplace, using their own devices in the education environment will make sense for students who are at ease with their own devices, and as long as the infrastructure – like high-speed connectivity and effective collaborative technologies – is in place to support the trend, this will become a reality.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF COLLABORATION IN THE CLASSROOM LOOK LIKE AND WHAT ROLE WILL

TECHNOLOGY PLAY? If you consider how classrooms have changed over the past few decades, from chalkboards to interactive displays, it’s not a leap to imagine that technology will continue to have a crucial role to play. And indeed, it will continue to develop at pace, in line with the demands and expectations of students and teachers. While there have been trends that have changed the educational landscape – like students demonstrating an attitude for more engagement and participation – the core of education has remained steadfast. Teamwork, collaboration and information sharing have always been present in the classroom but over the past few years, technology has played a significant role in enhancing these aspects and making the learning environment more efficient and productive. So, going forward, collaboration will continue to feature in the classroom and technology will continue to support it and make it better, whether that’s connecting students and teachers in a single physical classroom, multiple classrooms on the same campus, or individual students all around the world. www.barco.com november 2015

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OPINION

NICK CHATER STANDING IN THE WAY OF EDTECH Children are becoming increasingly dependent on fast education systems

echnology has been hijacked by large corporations purporting to increase efficiency, drive down costs and enhance, if not transform, the educational process. Sadly the reality is very different. The education sector is littered with the latest ‘Turbo Bentley’ that never got out of first gear and lies dust sheeted and garaged. Tragically, as newer, more appealing, devices are developed at an alarming rate, a new generation of gullible educational progressives are courted by the finely tuned educational speak of the richly funded marketing departments. Senior leadership teams are easy prey for the gifted salesman who can feed on their paranoia demonstrating how every detail of a child can be recorded at an instant to track ‘outcomes and progress’. For any teacher and student victim of the latest ‘Learning Management System’, skillfully sold to the hierarchy, these sentiments will resonate. After hours spent creating resources, mastering idiosyncratic software procedures misrepresented as time saving, many teachers are left with the burning question: what was that all about and how did it help the learning process? There are dozens of apps now specifically designed to track the behaviour of children; some of them even offer a teacher the facility to create their own definitions of particular behaviour traits, for which the

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profession are truly grateful. How did this happen? Who is to blame? How can we fix it? The root cause of the problem is not a complex entanglement of many competing issues and processes; simply put, it is naked greed. The ego of many a corporation large and small is nourished by a misguided passion ‘to make a difference’ giving the customer what they want, validated by the popularity and profitability of the product. Unfortunately the proper desire of any organisation charged

‘The damage has been done: as children become hooked on fast food and the sweetened ingredients within, so too are they becoming increasingly dependent on the fast education systems’ with the responsibility of developing young children into self-sustaining lifelong learners starkly contrasts to the values and beliefs of corporations. In this relationship between education

and technology the values of the latter win out, so much so that profit is now being substituted for measurable units of outcome within schools and can determine the success or otherwise of many a fragile learner. The patronising philanthropist is at the ready to cast their pretty packaged solutions on the ignorant masses; fast food strategies are entering the learning arena with fast education and ‘just in time’ learning. Technology is being used to pre-package knowledge to satiate the appetites of an increasingly de-skilled teaching profession with a thinning capacity. We have an abundance of solutions all generated by this expanding market where parents are led to desire the latest device or application that can solve their child’s issue so that they can properly compete in the voraciously competitive global market. The damage has been done: as children become hooked on fast food and the sweetened ingredients within,

so too are they becoming increasingly dependent on the fast education systems being developed by these dominating corporations. However all is not lost! A growing fringe seek to re-establish the core of EdTech. Where corporations and educational establishments have sought consumerism, other groups look to become creators, to program the computer not the reverse. I do not speak of the ‘Free School’ movement, but of a group of people where EdTech empowers, ignites and connects on an intimate level with science, maths and the arts. This group of people are not afraid to be experimental, make mistakes and happily try again. Willing to engage with anyone whatever their background or creed, they are genuinely inquisitive and will seek for solutions with a tireless tenacity. They are my grandchildren – stand in their way with your pre-packaged solutions at your peril! ■ @nick_chater

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OPINION

MARTIN LARGE

CONSIDER THIS BEFORE INVESTING IN INTERACTIVITY Creating the right environment and having the correct equipment are just two factors that will enable interactivity to flourish

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he importance of interactivity in the learning process has long been recognised in educational institutions across the globe. Promoting an ‘active’ state of learning rather than a ‘passive’ state of learning allows students to retain a greater amount of information and grasp concepts more easily by doing, seeing, hearing and reading. In today’s fast-moving digital world it would be difficult to discuss the concept of interactive teaching without the inclusion of interactive technology. For students, laptops and other smart devices were the first step towards interactive learning, therefore it makes perfect sense to complement the BYOD trend with the latest classroom technology. Many teachers believe that while the technology alone cannot compete with traditional methods of teaching, it is one of the key elements to improving interactivity. Using the right technology can foster problem solving and encourage deeper learning, and at the same time it promotes collaboration and social interaction among pupils. The best interactive learning sessions will combine the teacher’s personal techniques with support from the latest technological tools; however, there are a number of fundamental factors that come in to play to help make every lesson a success. First up: interactive environments. The art of improving collaboration

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lies very much in fostering the right environment in the classroom, from the basic physical setup, such as encouraging students to face each other during group discussions, to introducing the latest technology that will support any electronic device. Next, subjects. Those subjects with strong visual elements, such as media studies or graphic arts, will benefit from technologies that facilitate collaborative learning. Core subjects, such as maths and science, can also be enhanced from a practical perspective, using technology that enables modelling, simulation or virtualised problem solving. Add to that: Preparing for the future of technology. Investing in the technology itself may be one of the first obvious steps to take, particularly if we remove the ever-present barriers of funding. However, it is critical to have the necessary network infrastructure in place to support the variations in technology in the classroom. A fast, robust internet connection with infrastructure that delivers a reliable service is key. Many schools and educational institutions have cited the absence of suitable WiFi and broadband connectivity as a true obstacle to adopting more technology and improving interactivity in the classroom environment. If the network is slow, with poor connectivity, students and teachers will be discouraged from using the devices.

Another important factor: equipment. Interactive whiteboards and touchscreens have great potential as a tool to enhance pedagogical practices in the classroom and ultimately improve student interactivity. Some of the latest versions on the market can even be powered directly by a smartphone or tablet, and they allow students to see what is being written in real time and brainstorm ideas during lessons.

‘The best interactive learning sessions will combine the teacher’s personal techniques with support from the latest technological tools’ Afterwards the content can be easily captured, saved and shared. Opting for WiFi-as-a-Service, paid for on a monthly basis, is a sensible way of

simultaneously providing the required connectivity infrastructure, as well as leaving capital budget available for devices. With no initial capital outlay WiFi-as-a-Service is best thought of as a utility, similar to gas or telephone, which can be absorbed as an operational cost. Last but not least: Finances. In a similar vein, when budgets are tight and investments are under scrutiny, one cost-effective option could be to look for a managed service solution for the interactive equipment itself. The requirement in every classroom differs from school to school and the managed serviced solution will ensure each institution gets the right equipment to meet their teaching needs. There are new flexible models emerging on the market that allow schools to acquire the latest interactive technologies, while removing the constraints associated with a capital purchase. Schools will be able to get the most out of their equipment and their investment, and gain a range of financial and operational benefits in the process. n www.steljes.com

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OPINION

GERD KAISER LASER PROJECTION’S BRIGHT FUTURE The benefits of laser technology as a projection light source – including lower total cost of ownership and higher brightness – have been quickly realised by educators

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ntil recently, laser, or SSL (solid-state light source) projection may have seemed a long way from being widely available and the industry was somewhat sceptical about it; however, laser is now proving to be a viable technology for many projection applications. Today, the beliefs that laser might be a steep investment, that it’s still in its early days, or that handling might be complicated because of laser regulations, are only myths. The fact is that laser has matured very quickly to a point at which it is now an easy-to -use working technology that quickly delivers an excellent return on investment. With far longer replacement intervals, laser technology shows its advantages in many ways: firstly the costly lamp no longer needs to be included in the cost calculation – there is no lamp. Offering up to 20,000 hours of operation, equating to nine lamp changes with a traditional lamp-based projector, laser technology delivers long-lasting, consistent brightness with no lamp change required. Secondly, the act of replacing a lamp in a projector, for example hanging from a very high ceiling such as in an assembly hall or lecture theatre, ceases to be a time and resource challenge requiring hire of a cherry picker or scaffolding equipment. Laser projectors are maintenance free, and coupled with lower power consumption, the total cost of ownership (TCO) calculation becomes even more attractive. Lower power consumption is not only

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a TCO benefit, but also an environmental one. In addition, by eliminating mercury lamps from the projector, it further reduces the impact on the environment. Installation of laser projectors has also been made easier, as classification changes mean that specially trained laser officers are not required – previously this would have added complexity to the installation. Now, there are recommendations for health and safety but is it no longer in the realm of laser regulation. For early adopters of laser, this transforms the installation process, making it easier,

more cost-effective and quicker. From a visual perspective, laser is an investment that is already paying off. Viewers rate the image quality of laser-based projectors as far better than those of traditional lamp models. Laser light is extremely pure in colour, thus enabling a very wide colour gamut for a vivid and intense colour illumination. Laser phosphor projectors are relatively compact but nevertheless very bright. In fact, 6,000 to 8,000 lumens with single-chip technology and 12,000 lumens for three-chip models are easy to achieve, and the possible

brightness level will be expanded even further in the coming years. New developments in laser technology have overcome the myths traditionally surrounding its use and there is clear evidence as to the low total cost of ownership, reliability and advanced nature of the technology, enabling more and more applications to be addressed by a laser light source. The education sector is an early adopter of laser projection and is already reaping the benefits; laser is promising a brighter future! n www.ssl-nec.com November 2015

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OPINION

DR ANDREW CROSS

IP WORKFLOW FOR VIDEO – WHAT IT MEANS FOR EDUCATION The ability to produce more content with limited resources is a huge plus for teachers

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he use of video has become increasingly prevalent in education. From production classes to distance learning, to school sports coverage and oncampus television stations, video has changed the way we teach, learn and communicate. It’s on the verge of becoming exponentially more powerful and simpler. There are a handful of points in time when an entire industry fundamentally changes forever. We are at one of those rare moments: the realisation of IP workflows for video. It will impact video producers everywhere, including those focused on educational applications. The move towards IP-based video workflows isn’t about a single specification or industry-imposed technology shift like the move to 4K resolution. IP is a fundamental change in the way video is produced. The traditional mindset is that you are simply replacing one cable with another – an SDI video cable with a network cable. This is understandable. Essentially, they both connect something to something else in a workflow. But the difference reaches far beyond just connection – it’s like comparing a walkie-talkie to a smartphone.

THE REALITY AND THE PROMISE There are several underlying reasons why IP-based workflows will forever

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replace the long-standing SDI video workflows. IP makes a production part of a network infrastructure, which is connected to everything from computers to mobile phones, and even more – think classrooms! This is unprecedented in human history. Compare that to SDI, which runs parallel to the infrastructure, but cannot talk directly to other devices on a network like IP can. IP allows you to take on a more ambitious schedule without expanding your resources significantly. Video producers are being squeezed to produce exponentially more video while maintaining high quality on evershrinking budgets. In some scenarios, crews that once produced 10 shows a year are now being asked to produce 100 or more. Imagine the time, effort and costs of increasing your broadcasts tenfold. With IP-based workflows, your crew and talent can work from a central location that receives camera feeds remotely from wherever the action is, whether it is on another floor, in another building or across campus. Finally, IP workflows will continue to democratise video, with advantages that are too numerous and enormous to mention here. Some have yet to be imagined. Think of the school that can only afford a small vision mixer today having access to more cameras than they could possibly ever use – by

connecting to their local network. Think of a university that can broadcast from any classroom or location on campus – all from a single control room. Imagine a campus-wide, IP-based video production infrastructure where any camera, any device can be used by anyone with access to the network to create content. The possibilities are staggering.

THE CHALLENGE AHEAD The challenge with IP-based workflows is how to make the transition efficiently and with as little disruption to your current infrastructure as possible. Some industry proposals are looking at new camera connectivity standards, which involve replacing one cable with another. Some require installing super-high bandwidth networks. Some require both. Facing these potentially expensive predicaments, you could easily define IP-based workflows as a

work in progress, several years away from having any significant impact or relevance. But what if you could enjoy the benefits of IP-based video workflows, while using the cameras you currently own and without changing or upgrading your network infrastructure? What if there was a way to take what you have already invested in traditional video production and transform it into a robust and powerful IP-based video workflow right away? Without making any significant new investment in anything? It doesn’t seem possible really. But, the future is far closer to fulfilling this promise than most people realise. In fact, the shift is already underway. And not only will it change the way we work with video – it will change the way we learn, teach and communicate once more. ■ www.newtek.com

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FEATURE: POLICY AND PROGRESS

IS PROGRESS HINDERED BY SLOW-MOVING POLICY? We’re living in exciting technological times, where it seems like the next exciting development is just around the corner and almost anything is possible, yet the speed of innovation often races ahead of change. Terry Freedman investigates why progress in education can be a little cumbersome n the September 2015 issue of Tech&LearningUK, Professor Margaret Cox voiced her belief that: “Change is always slower than people anticipate because of the institutional barriers and constraints that people are faced with.” The theme of slow change was taken up by Michael Gove, the then Education Secretary, when he opened the annual Bett show in 2012: “Almost every field of employment now depends on technology. From radio, to television, computers and the internet, each new technological advance has changed our world and changed us too. But there is one notable exception. The fundamental model of school education is still a teacher talking to a group of pupils. It has barely changed over the centuries, even since Plato established the earliest ‘akademia’ in a shady olive grove in ancient Athens. “A Victorian schoolteacher could enter a 21st century classroom and feel

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completely at home. Whiteboards may have eliminated chalk dust, chairs may have migrated from rows to groups, but a teacher still stands in front of the class, talking, testing and questioning. But that model won’t be the same in 20 years’ time. It may well be extinct in 10.” This was interesting because Gove unwittingly stated two speculations as facts. First, he repeated the old trope about classrooms not having changed for centuries. The standard version of this has it that, were a doctor to enter a time machine and land in the 21st century, he wouldn’t recognise anything in a typical surgery. A schoolteacher, on the other hand, would feel completely at home. Whether this is, in fact, true is a moot point, and something which merits an article in itself. The second assumption stated as fact was that we are, in effect, on the cusp of a major revolution and that big changes are afoot. That in 20 or even 10 years’ time the standard classroom template will have been deleted,

and replaced by something entirely different. Professor Cox addressed this in her interview too. She cites the case of Alfred Bork, who every five years predicted that schools would be unrecognisable in five years’ time. On the face of it, that has not happened on a large scale. True, there are some schools doing innovative things, perhaps in unfamiliar ways, but these are the outliers, to use Malcolm Gladwell’s term, rather than the mainstream.

GATHERING OPINION Given, then, that change seems to happen at a more casual pace than many people would like, why is this the case? We asked some education experts to give their opinion on the following statement, derived from Cox’s interview: Is the education system too resistant to change? Is technologically driven progress hindered by slowmoving changes in policy? Although it may seem like the classroom of the

future will be unrecognisable, will it actually be pretty similar to today’s classroom? It’s very interesting to note how their responses fall into two main categories. To borrow from the economists’ terminology, some approached the issue from a macro, systemic point of view, while others took a micro, or schools-based approach. Another way of describing these two sets of comments is to say that those in the first group talk about education, while those in the second talk about teaching. You can decide who falls into which category. According to Charles Clarke, who was Education Secretary from 2002 to 2004: “Increasing powerful education technology has the potential to raise educational quality at all levels and in all countries. However, the barrier is that in most countries… the educational establishment remains very cautious and presents major barriers to increasing educational standards.”

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FEATURE: POLICY AND PROGRESS Tom Bennett is usually described in the press as the government’s ‘Behaviour Tsar’

Clarke, it may be recalled, championed the funding and use of interactive whiteboards in schools, and was part of a wider commitment by the Labour government to education technology in schools. Interactive whiteboards have been criticised by some commentators as not changing practice, but simply reinforcing it. Gove’s comment that whiteboards have replaced chalkboards but that nothing has fundamentally changed is typical of this point of view. For Clarke, slow change is a symptom of the cautiousness of the educational establishment as a whole. Tom Bennett is usually described in the press as the government’s ‘Behaviour Tsar’; however, we asked for his opinion as the founder and director of ResearchEd conferences. Like Clarke, he also believes that schools are slow to change. He suggests the reasons are: “[Education] is so diverse and politically diffuse that there are few simple levers that steer the whole ship. And because education is such a contested idea-space, any widespread change has to appeal to a broad constituency of often-disparate interest groups. It’s not that it’s innately conservative, it’s that it’s so atomised. “Regarding technology specifically, because the promised benefits of technology integration have been so slow to produce scalable, convincing evidence bases, the sector as a whole is often understandably cautious. Plus, technology has often been integrated in a way that put the technology before the learning.”

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But Bennett is optimistic. He goes on to say: “The education establishment has, in my opinion, embraced technology far more than most initiatives or cultural interventions.” As far as the adoption of technology is concerned, Bennett appears to disagree with Clarke. Perhaps it is a matter of degree. Dave Gibbs, a consultant and subject specialist in computing and crosscurricular ICT, who has spent many years supporting teachers and school leaders, agrees with Bennett that the term ‘education’ refers to more than one thing. He says: “The term ‘education system’ is a bit of an oversimplification – the issues are different in primary and secondary education. Primary schools will often try new things but, because they are expected to be experts in lots of subject areas and this requires a lot of training and effort, they may not be motivated to build in technology. There are also many who are ideologically opposed to ‘too much’ technology being used with young children. “Secondary schools often have very narrow subject focuses, and if technology doesn’t clearly help those accountability targets then it’s not prioritised. There are often more obvious ways to affect the ‘bottom line’ that require less training.” Bennett agrees: “But now we’re starting to ask the right questions: why technology? When? For what purpose?” Gibbs goes on to talk about the problem of a top-down approach to

technology-related change: “In policy terms, there were many mistakes made when technology was more central to educational policy – the requirement for schools to have a virtual learning environment, for instance, forced schools into procuring below-par products. Also, making technology into a policy issue requires money to be made available – which isn’t currently possible.” This certainly tallies with my own experience. Although the government targets for computer:pupil ratios (for instance) were welcome from the point of view that they raised awareness, set out expectations of headteachers and made funding available, they had the unfortunate side-effect of penalising innovative and technologically advanced schools. I recall many conferences in which the

up, too little resource is committed to ‘change management’ – training time, policy and curriculum development etc. And when the money is available, the key project management staff aren’t.” ‘James’ – a teaching assistant in a primary school, who asked to remain anonymous – believes: “School leaders need to appreciate how new technology is shaping, and will continue to shape, communication. John Morris, OBE of Ardleigh Green Junior School, is by no means a geek, but he has always understood the need to use technology purposefully and in an expansive way. Sadly, he believes, school leaders who are technologically inadequate or uninformed are unaware of what a long-acting brake they can be on whole school improvement.” He thinks that teachers should be encouraged and given the freedom to

hapless representative of the Education Department was asked such questions as: “Does an interactive whiteboard count as equivalent to 20 computers?” and “Can we use our hardware money to buy software instead?” But is it all down to ‘policy’ or technological conservatism? What about the human issues? Gibbs again: “A common problem is that, whether change is imposed or allowed to happen from the bottom

experiment and take risks. He goes on to talk about the situation ‘on the ground’, the need for kit that is reliable,

‘Change needs to be managed, and time allowed for it to not only occur, but also to be embedded’ Sarah Younie, De Montfort University

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FEATURE: POLICY AND PROGRESS

well-trained staff, IT-literate teaching assistants and digital leaders in every classroom. All very sensible, of course, so why doesn’t this happen in every school? Dr Sarah Younie, reader in education, innovation & technology, De Montfort University, UK, puts the blame fairly and squarely on what she calls the ‘accountability culture’: “Schools, classrooms and teachers’ practices are driven by Ofsted demands and an accountability culture, which demands results. This means assessment is the tail wagging the dog. “It is about understanding the drivers of change. What are the key drivers for teachers in classrooms? Using technology or ensuring assessments results? While these are not mutually exclusive, they can have an uneasy relationship in this complex landscape of contemporary schooling.” Rose Luckin, professor of learner 16

centred design at the Institute of Education in London, looks at both the institutional and human factors. She regards the expression ‘education system’ as comprising “…the legal framework, the policies and resource allocation mechanisms, the human resources and the tangible resources: buildings, desks etc. Any complex system such as this is bound to be resistant to change, because so much has been invested in creating and maintaining the status quo. In terms of the human resources, there is resistance if people cannot clearly see the benefits of a proposed change and if they already feel exhausted by previous change that has occurred.” She also discusses the technology itself as a contributing factor: “Until recently, most of the technology in schools was adapted from business technology and highly unlikely to lead to any changes in the teaching and learning process.”

CLARIFYING CHANGE

‘Increasing powerful education technology has the potential to raise educational quality at all levels and in all countries’ Charles Clarke

Perhaps we should be more precise about what exactly we are referring to when we talk about ‘change’. As Younie says: “Changing structures is easy, changing cultures, professional practices and established ways of working is very different.” What are the common themes we can glean from these diverse comments? Change is bound to be slow because ‘education’ comprises many aspects, frameworks and interests. A key driver in change is whether technology is perceived by both teachers and school leaders as being able to ‘deliver the goods’ in terms of learning outcomes. Change needs to be managed, and time allowed for it to not only occur, but also to be embedded. Of course, whether fundamental change in the way schools look and work is actually desirable is another issue entirely….

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FEATURE: SOCIAL MEDIA

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE AT SCHOOL TODAY?

How does your school communicate with stakeholders? How often do you do it? When is the best time to do it? These are all things we’ve considered at school and questions that we hoped we’ve answered, but we’re always evolving and so are methods of communication, writes Chris Waterworth

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hether it is a detailed newsletter each week or regular updates on Twitter and Facebook, letting parents know what is going on in schools is essential in our modern world. As parents, we tend to ask our children what they’ve done at school when they get home. The classic answer: “I don’t know, I can’t remember.” So how do we help parents encourage children to talk about their learning? 18

Getting the children engaged in talking about something they’ve done in school can help them further understand a concept or to tackle any misconceptions that they’ve got around a certain subject. Parents want to know. Joseph Peree, teacher at St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School in Lydiate, has used social media to reach out to his parents. He says: “As each school does, we have the sceptics

and those who are tech enthusiasts. However, the common opinion was that we needed a quick, easy and efficient way to communicate with the school community. Twitter has allowed us to send instant messages at the touch of a button, proving particularly effective when classes are off-site; on trips or residentials. “Our Early Years Foundation Stage has, with great success, implemented

2Simple’s 2BuildAProfile which allows them to capture observations using iPad, quickly categorising them for easy retrieval, exporting and printing. Furthermore, parents have access to each of their child’s observation online so they can see their child’s progression and enjoyment of school life. We look forward to purposefully expanding our use of technology over the coming years.”

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FEATURE: SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS SCHOOLS USE Facebook pages and Twitter feeds have been a real hit with the parents of children in secondary and primary schools. Teachers are taking photographs of children’s work, sharing things that are happening in school and posting links to interesting articles – all of this gives the parents an insight into their child’s time in the classroom. Schools find that parents are commenting on the photographs they are seeing throughout the day and by being able to comment, feel part of the school day. This gives parents a way to start a conversation with their children by showing them a picture of their work or other work that is going on in the classroom. Parents are free to comment on pictures and information. Indirectly, it helps to sell your school as well; like a form of free advertising. Rebecca Stacey, headteacher at Castle Carrock Primary school in Cumbria, has used social media to good effect. She says: “Our Twitter feed has been a great success for getting parents involved at home. Our families are spread over a wide geographical area and many of our pupils get a bus in. We link to a Facebook page as well to get maximum attention. “Tweeting pictures of work completed, along with an ‘ask your child about...’ comment has meant that parents are able to ask more than just: ‘What did you do today?’ Parents have told us that it’s helpful and useful and we have more and more parents on Twitter now.”

BRING IN THE EXPERTS Using Twitter, schools are able to connect with the world instantly – sharing ongoing work, thoughts and ideas with experts from theatres, museums and various places that schools could never even dream of visiting. The children love to read these tweets from people they have admired and learned about during their time in school. Suddenly the work they are producing has a worldwide audience and really matters – a real purpose for learning. Give the children experiences of [online e-learning environment] Edmodo, Facebook and Twitter, teach them e-safety, teach them how to blog, how

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to code, how to create videos, record their voice, sketch, peer assess, and ask for help from the world. Connect with local schools as well as those in far away countries. Share code, videos, blogs, photographs, get feedback, improve and then share again. Your audience is already there. Most, if not all your parents will have a Facebook or Twitter account. Why not tap into that communication source? Dr Catherine Hack, lecturer at the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences at Ulster University, states: “I think it is really important that universities and schools work together to help pupils achieve the best they can; social media can be really helpful in achieving this. I run workshops, debates and poster competitions, which provide a great opportunity for pupils to meet current students. They use closed Facebook groups so that they can continue to work with the friends they have made at our events. “It is important that children get the opportunity to develop their skills using social media for learning, as it will be so important for living and learning in the 21st century.”

CHILDREN AS PUBLISHERS, NOT CONSUMERS Children and adults need to move away from consuming information from the internet and begin to publish unique work of their own. Technology coupled with social media has enabled us to share our work quickly and receive feedback almost instantly. We need to allow our children to research, understand, apply, receive structured feedback and crucially further improve their work. In our schools we’re allowing children to consume more information than we are allowing them to publish it. More and more children are given opportunities to apply skills in lots of different curriculum areas, but rarely do we allow our children to publish this information anywhere other than a ‘topic book,’ ‘learning journey’ or a school website with an audience of a few hundred. There is a huge connected world out there and we need to show our children from a younger age how big it really is, by interacting with it. Technology has allowed us to do this from the comfort

of a tablet computer and a Twitter account. Simon Withey, teacher consultant and Edmodo ambassador, has huge experience using that platform for online learning. He states: “Since 2011, I’ve been using the closed learning social network called Edmodo. There were just over 7 million users worldwide back then. This has now grown to over 57 million users, who are teachers, parents and children.

“By using Edmodo, there is a natural progression towards the flipped or blended classroom. The flipped or blended classroom quite literally turns Bloom’s Taxonomy on its head with a 0.48 effect on learning, where 0.4 is significant. (DesLauris et al 2011). This again really engages each student individually allowing them to replay their knowledge acquisition over and over again when, where and at what time they want.”

SCHOOL WEBSITE – EVERYBODY HAS ONE, RIGHT?

‘I think it is really important that universities and schools work together to help pupils achieve the best they can; social media can be really helpful in achieving this’ Dr Catherine Hack, Ulster University “Edmodo looks smells and feels like Facebook, but – to prevent schools’ senior leadership and parents from passing out – please note that Edmodo is a closed social network so only verified teachers can connect with their students and encourage their parents and careers to follow their siblings. Students love to learn in this way. They positively engage with the way that Edmodo personalises their learning experience. I have engaged some very dis-engaged youngsters (BESD special school) they were very excited in using a social network where each student can take part on the groups learning and are not overshadowed by peer group personalities.

The school website is usually the first port of call when you need something from your school, whether it be a date, a piece of homework or some school news. It is a great way to showcase your school but the vast majority of the time school websites are full of outdated news, dead links and very little information to engage parents. Schools spend thousands and thousands buying into a pre-built website and then never update it. Ofsted will look at your school website, they will start to make judgments about your school using the information you provide. Make it easy to use, and a clear representation of the things that happen in your school. Put a link on there for the lead inspector to follow to access key information. There are loads of links out there detailing what should and shouldn’t be on school websites, but ultimately, get it updated and showcase the amazing work that goes on in your school.

GETTING IT RIGHT FOR YOUR SCHOOL Whatever method you choose, make sure you are consistent with what you do. Sharing information and work can be very successful for schools. Parents feel as though they know what is going on in each classroom and information is always readily available. Some schools share more than others via Facebook and Twitter, but it is beginning to be used more and more throughout the country. People are beginning to see the advantages it has. So choose carefully, evaluate what you have done – what worked and what didn’t – and crucially, ask parents for feedback. november 2015

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FEATURE: HOW TO

MAKE THE MOST OF FREE RESOURCES We round up some of the applications that will have a big impact in your classroom but won’t cost your school a penny omething free in education, or in life for that matter, is not to be sniffed at, but it’s not very often we get given something for free without a catch. Well, luckily technology throws up something every now and again which is catch free. We take a look at what’s currently available for teachers.

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EDMODO: FACEBOOK FOR KIDS Having the ability to share information with your pupils is essential in today’s world and finding a safe, secure place to hold that information is crucial. Edmodo gives you that online space to share your content quickly and efficiently. One of the beautiful things about Edmodo is that it looks like a lot of the social media sites that are currently out 20

there – ones the children are already using. You can post updates, links, images and embed video directly into the site. Sharing is easy; paste a link, take a photograph, or comment. The

children can then use their smartphones or tablets to view the content – yes, the app for that is free as well. One of the strongest features of the site is also its simplest – the ability

to comment. Children can post their thoughts, ideas and work on Edmodo and then receive feedback from their peers and teachers. It is a very powerful tool to have 30 children, plus your teacher, suggest improvements for your work – online peer assessment. Setup is simple. The children do it themselves at home or in school using a class code, which automatically locks after a month. If you haven’t got the code, you’re not getting in. Teachers have full control of the site, choosing to approve every post or just allowing the children to post whenever they like – clearly some sound e-safety lessons are needed if that’s the way you choose to go. Edmodo is a win-win – a hub for everything in your classroom, available 24-hours a day.

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FEATURE: HOW TO left it when you prepared it at home, on another PC or Mac. It is really easy to embed rich media into the presentation for your class – the whole process is contained within the software. Simply search for a video and it will perform a ‘safe search’ of YouTube. Click on the video and it is ready to go in your presentation. Already have the URL, then just paste it in the search box and it automatically embeds it into the presentation for you. This process is the same for images as well. Nice and simple, nice and quick and safe – the kids could do it. Built into the software is ‘ProConnect’ a simple tool that allows any child with a tablet device and the app to interact with the content on the board. You can create interactive quizzes, take votes, race against other children and all the data can be stored for you online – great for assessment, and you can filter what results are shown on the board. You can even export the data into a spreadsheet to further your assessment. The ProConnect app is available on Android and iOS.

PROWISE: PRESENTER AND PRO CONNECT Your interactive whiteboard is the centre of your classroom, but not much has changed with whiteboard software over the years – Notebook seems to be the choice of most schools up and down the country. Prowise Presenter is an alternative to that very software given to you all those years ago and is, once again, free. Firstly, and most importantly, and one of its big ‘selling’ points (it’s free, remember) is that all the files are held in the cloud. You can work at home, not bother with Dropbox or memory sticks, hoping that the right software is installed on the Mac or PC they you’re using when you get to school – it is entirely browser based. Log in and your work is waiting for you, exactly as you

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SCRATCH AND SCRATCH JR: PROGRAMMING Want to create a game or animation with your children and all you have is access to the internet and a class full of laptops? Then Scratch is the way forward for your school. Scratch is a simple ‘block-based’ programming language that allows children to learn the basics of computer coding and create some great looking content at the same time. The software is online, so the children can create their own logins, allowing them to continue their learning at home.

With Prowise Presenter you can hold all files in the cloud

This is a great feature and one that shouldn’t be overlooked as it means the children can start to build up collections of games and work on them over weeks, instead of starting afresh each time. Scratch Jr is a simpler version of the full online version. It is available on iOS and Android and is aimed at the younger child who is starting out on their coding journey. It is bright, colourful and intuitive – the children can even upload their own images to animate from the world around them.

EDUCANON: EMBED QUIZZES INTO ANY VIDEO We’re starting to see more and more use of video in our classrooms, particularly with the advent of the flipped learning model. Children will view content outside the classroom and come armed with the knowledge they need to tackle the application inside the classroom – sounds simple, but how do we know they’ve watched the content? eduCanon is the answer to that question. The software allows you to take any video from any site and embed interactive questions straight into it – you even get graphical feedback from each question answered by the children. The software allows you to see who has watched the video, which questions they answered, and which ones they need help with. This information is priceless for any teacher – it feeds into

TEN FREE APPLICATIONS FOR YOUR CLASSROOM 1 Edmodo 2 ProWise Presenter and ProConnect 3 Scratch/ Scratch Jr/ Bee-Bot 4 eduCanon 5 Vittle Free 6 Twitter/Facebook 7 Book Creator 8 iMotion 9 Tellagami 10 Blogger

your planning without the children even being there. If you’ve got Edmodo, you can add a link into the homepage and their log in details are automatically synced with eduCanon. The children do not need to go elsewhere to watch the videos, as they are on their homepage – no other logins, no hyperlinks to follow; it’s all in front of them.

SOMETIMES FREE SOFTWARE IS GREAT There is a plethora of free software out there all claiming to be the best for your classroom, but you must remember that it must have sound pedagogy behind it to be successful. Many pieces of software are eye-catching and attention grabbing for your students, but only have a couple of weeks of shelf-life – choose carefully and think before diving in head first.

eduCanon can help you get more from video content

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SOLUTIONS: UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER

TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL The University of Westminster now offers recording facilities that many high-end commercial studios would be proud of, so we took a trip to the Harrow Campus to find out how they came about

Studio manager Colm O’Rourke with the SSL Duality console

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here’s something not quite right with the image you see accompanying this article… Rather than being a photo of a professional studio complex, it is, in fact, a shot of the new set-up at the University of Westminster. It’s what around 300 music and audio production students enrolled at the University of Westminster’s Harrow Campus have had available to them since the start of the 2015-16 academic year. While many audio professionals will have spent years begging for the chance to be let loose in a studio equipped with a 48-channel SSL

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Duality mixing console, PMC’s flagship monitors, TubeTech outboard and much more besides, that kit is now helping to guide students at the very beginning of their audio journeys. Alan Fisher, previously acting dean and head of the uni’s music department, and now consultant, explains the thinking behind the facility: “Our philosophy is to only introduce students to equipment that is industry standard. We realised some years ago that we needed an acoustically accurate recording studio that was of sufficient size to accommodate a large group of students. It has taken five years

to accomplish our mission, but the University of Westminster now has a facility that is easily on a par with commercial recording studios, enabling us to educate students on the techniques and skills they need to progress in the real world.” And if the Duality wasn’t eyebrowraising enough, it’s also home to the first PMC QB1A main monitors anywhere in Europe. These are the same monitors that were installed at New York City’s Capitol Studios recently. As well as vast quantities of Van Damme analogue Blue Series, video, HDMI, data and control cable, along with connectors, patchbay and

studio hardware – all supplied by VDC Trading. Furthermore, there are also 5.1 surround sound systems featuring PMC’s twotwo 8 speakers in the control room, adjacent live room with variable acoustics and in three other spaces across the facility. What’s more, the control room is permanently linked to the university’s existing live spaces, including Area 51, a large onsite performance area boasting an L-Acoustics ARCS Focus PA system and Avid Venue SC48 mixing consoles, courtesy of SSE Audio Group – enabling concerts and gigs to be recorded.

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SOLUTIONS: UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER ‘Westminster University now has in its possession one of the finest audio recording facilities to be found at any university in the world’

Bill Ward, Langdale Technical Consulting

GOING ALL-OUT In fact, there was a lot more to the install than just the main centrepiece, as Bill Ward, director of Langdale Technical Consulting, explains: “This was a big install with an SSL control room housing the 48-channel Duality console, a machine room, live area, vocal/drum booth, three rehearsal rooms, two performance rooms, a fully equipped live venue and, just for good measure, two further spaces allocated for future use and expansion,” he reveals. “We designed a complex multi-room system and I have to say Westminster University now has in its possession one of the finest audio recording facilities to be found at any university in the world.” Designed by Peter Keeling of Studio People, the facility’s impressive spec is largely down to the work of studio manager Colm O’Rourke – along with other members of the faculty – while Yan Gilbert-Miguet and Neil Bola of Academia took responsibility for sourcing and supplying the gear. “It was a collaborative process, particularly for the big-ticket items such as the console and the monitors,” O’Rourke explains. “We listened to a number of different monitors but the only ones that really impressed us were the PMCs. Although we all have very different musical tastes and different views on what a good monitor should sound like, PMC was the only brand on which we could all agree.”

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“We are now using 48 channels of Prism Sound ADA-8XR I/O in our new control room and the sound we get is exceptional – very natural and with no coloration at all. “We’ve got a top-class facility – well we’ve got two, as we’ve also got Area 51 and we know that’s really up to scratch for the live side of things.” And as for the console, getting hold of a board of this quality had been on the university’s wish list for some time, partly as a way of fulfilling demands that weren’t exactly easy to meet. “It was the one thing that students would give feedback to us about,” O’Rourke reveals. “So we were confident if we only installed equipment with a global reputation for excellence, we would attract the best students from around the world to study with us. “As part of the deal, our engineers have been certified by SSL on the Duality and the [existing SSL] AWS, and to put that on our website or outside out tech office is really attractive for students. My staff get a great kick out of that.”

THE BEST OF BOTH The new desk’s hybrid approach, which allows students to combine a traditional analogue path – SSL’s SuperAnalogue inputs, mix bus and processing – with digital audio workstation control and integration on the same surface was also key for O’ Rourke, who was keen to stress the importance of passing down

both modern and classic recording techniques to the next generation, and used the outboard versus plug-ins debate as an example. “We don’t dictate to our students, we say: ‘Okay, here’s the plug-in version and here’s the real thing’ and we’ll line them all up, play three versions and ask them to tell us which they think is the best,” he says. “Until we do that they won’t come in here with the idea that a Duality is going to sound better than their Waves plug-ins, but we let them listen and decide. We’ve kept three studios heavily on outboard, and this [the main control room, with space for up to 25 students at a time] is one of them. The idea is to give them both experiences. “What we want to do with our students is say ‘there are all the plug-ins that’s you need, and there’s all the hardware, so you decide, learn how to use them and we’ll show you how it all works. We’re not going to tell you which is best; you’re going to find out yourselves.’” O’ Rourke has been succeeding with this method of ensuring proficiency with both analogue and digital equipment – while allowing the class to pick their own preferences – for some time now, and relishes that moment when the student realises they’ll need a lot more than just a laptop and some software when they take their first steps in the real world. “We get in students who think they know a lot before they do, and when they come in they will have used the plug-ins, they’ll have done a certain

amount of in-the-box mixing, but by the time they leave they’re generally different people entirely,” he continues. “They’ve discovered what a mixing desk does, what a proper room does and why you would spend so much money on monitors, and that gives us a lot of pleasure actually. “And to be able to give them a facility where we know the monitors are excellent, the room is excellent and the desk is excellent – that gives us an awful lot of pleasure too. We’re probably the biggest course in the university now, which is weird considering we were the smallest when we started 16 years ago.” There are plans in place to allow producers and engineers to use the facilities out of term time, and make the studios useful to non-students in other ways. “The new studio facilities are primarily there for teaching, but the university is also developing some interesting links with external organisations such as the BBC, providing a Maida Vale-style service to the BBC Introducing initiative, and British Underground in promoting their acts,” reveals Fisher. “Students from TV and Music get the opportunity to work on these projects, which gives them real experience while they are still studying. This is definitely a benefit to everyone involved and something we are keen to expand.” www.pmc-speakers.com www.solidstatelogic.com www.vdctrading.com

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SOLUTIONS: NEWCASTLE COLLEGE GROUP

MAKING THE SWITCH Fifty-four VIVIDtouch screens, at sizes ranging from 55in to 84in, were selected for the project

such as freeze-frame and blank-out, that teachers find useful in the classroom. Intuitive attributes such as pinch and zoom shorten the required training time. Finally, peace of mind comes not just from the durable construction of the touchscreens but also from the manufacturer’s five-year on-site deinstall and re-install warranty.

SPEEDING UP TASKS

For this education and training company, changing from projector-based whiteboards to touchscreen displays made sense on multiple fronts

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ith a turnover of more than £179 million, Newcastle College Group (NCG) is one of the largest education, training and employability organisations in the UK. Investing £18.9 million in a refurbishment of its 10-storey Parsons Building, NCG identified the need for new technology in its classrooms that benefited both teachers and students.

Refurbishing the 10-storey Parsons Building cost a total of £18.9 million 24

An analysis of its existing technology, which comprised ultra-short throw projectors and interactive whiteboard solutions, found these were not fit for purpose. Additionally, NCG was conscious of its carbon footprint, and wanted to select technology with the potential to reduce running costs and utility overheads. The chosen solution entailed moving away from interactive whiteboard projector solutions. After several consultations and supplier demonstrations, NCG opted for a package offered by GPS Installations, which comprised installing VIVIDtouch screens (at sizes ranging from 55in to 84in) into all classrooms. There were a number of reasons behind the choice. First, the VIVIDtouch screens provided a quality image at an affordable price. Clear, vivid images were identified as being of utmost importance to users, no

matter the external lighting conditions. A comfortable teaching and learning experience that would capture even the minutest of detail and add to the engagement of students was a ‘must have’.

POWER SAVING The decision-making process also involved evaluation of powerconsumption figures; a cost comparison found that not only would ongoing maintenance costs be heavily reduced by having no replacement lamps, but the energy saving over a five-year period was significant. NCG found that it would save £12,500 in electricity consumption alone, based on using 54 interactive touchscreens over the short-throw projector set-up. Ease of use was also a major consideration. The displays feature 10-point touch, enabling studentteacher collaboration, and properties,

Chris Weeks, head of IT (colleges) at Newcastle College Group, comments: “I am extremely happy to say that the screens are being embraced by all… Simple attributes such as the ability to pinch and zoom and the use of flick gestures have meant that the transferable skills our staff and students have gained from the use of tablet devices are speeding up simple tasks when presenting and teaching in the classroom.” Also, with staff having created learning materials on SMART Notebook, it was important that the new touchscreens were compatible with this software package. Weeks adds: “The GPS Installations team were exceptionally adept at liaising with the building contractors and us, the customer, progressing the installation of 54 screens within a matter of weeks. “They also helped shape our staff training courses… without such support and professionalism, the project may not have finished on time.” www.gpsinstallations.co.uk www.steljes.eu

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SOLUTIONS: UNIVERSITIES OF OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE The colleges’ ICT departments have seen a huge year-onyear growth in mobile-device related traffic

STAYING AHEAD Twenty-eight Oxford and Cambridge colleges and university institutions have adopted a solution that is enabling them to cope with ever-increasing demands for WiFi provision

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he University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford have prestigious reputations for research and education, ranking as the top two universities in the UK. When it comes to the use of technology to enhance research and learning, both understand the need for excellent services and a futureproofed infrastructure to keep them at the forefront of the world of education. Twenty-eight colleges and institutions within these two universities have turned to Aerohive to increase bandwidth and ensure their networks can support the ever-increasing number of devices entering each campus. While all of the colleges had WiFi access technology in place, their ICT departments have seen a huge year-on-year growth in mobile-device related traffic, driven by students using an increasing number of tools, such as tablets and smartphones, to access lecture material as well as for personal use.

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“Over the past three years, we’ve seen large increases in demand on the network… We now see around 22,000 unique clients each week as the number of devices per person has risen from less than one person to an average of three,” says Simon Mortimore, computing systems manager at Exeter College, University of Oxford.

ACCESS ALL AREAS The network also needs to be able to reach office spaces and bedrooms – not just the lecture theatres, libraries and scientific labs – so that staff, students and guests are able to connect to the internet to complete assignments wherever they are. In recent years, the universities have come to realise that the internet is increasingly used for recreational purposes, which has become important to its residents. An increase in demand for watching video, for example, has resulted in a need for higher bandwidth and as such the colleges need to ensure this does not

disrupt the learning experience. The network also had to allow seamless connectivity across multiple different sites, be compatible with a number of historic Grade I listed buildings and provide support for the ‘eduroam’ system – which also allows students from the universities to instantly access internet services while they visit other universities across Europe.

NO CAPACITY ISSUES Aerohive’s controller-less architecture is cited as a key feature by many users. This eliminates capacity and bottleneck issues, providing maximum coverage to enable staff and students to use the network for both academic and recreational purposes. Additionally, Aerohive’s Hive Manager provides ICT administrators with visibility and control over multiple networks and devices from a single easy-to-manage interface. As Hive Manager is largely quantity independent, the colleges were able to try out the solution before they committed to it. Aerohive’s training and online support community has also become important, helping administrators manage the network, so that each team can become self-sufficient. Gareth Dawson, IT manager at St Peter’s College, University of

Cambridge, says: “Staff and students expect immediate connectivity wherever they are for their multiple devices. By providing us with an easy to implement, deploy and manage solution, while dealing with a high load on the network. “Aerohive has been an important partner for us. We envisage more devices entering university grounds, and so the scalability Aerohive can offer helps futureproof our investment.” Anjanesh Babu from Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum comments: “We are deploying to four museums and primarily are aimed at providing public wireless access functionality so we needed to ensure that the infrastructure used could support multiple sites and that it was an investment built for the future… We are fully confident that Aerohive is capable of handling the increased traffic that comes with multiple devices per person as well as helping us identify future requirements along the way. Deploying an integrated, affordable single pane of network is our vision and Aerohive is the only one out there who can meet our criteria for expected massive traffic densities in listed buildings while remaining aesthetically suitable for our deployments.” www.aerohive.com november 2015

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PRODUCT REVIEW

CLEVERTOUCH PLUS An easy-to-use connected classroom display with an impressive range of bundled software

KEY FEATURES Full HD or 4K display with 10 points of touch Android operating system, 1.5GB RAM, 8GB on-board memory n Works with or without additional PC n Intuitive operation n Impressive software bundle n Free access to apps in Cleverstore – age and subject graded, rendered for large screen, ad-free

levertouch Plus is an interactive classroom display built around an Android operating system, and its maker says it has been designed to be as easy to use as a tablet computer. It is available in five sizes: the 55in, 65in and 70in models feature full HD (1080p) resolution, while the 75in and 84in are 4K models. It features 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of on-board memory (as well as the Android 4.2.1.OS), so it can be used with or without an additional PC (different model options are available for the two screen resolutions). A set of on-screen widgets includes a home button, which brings up the user interface: this takes the form of a set of icons at the bottom of the screen which provide access to features such as Clevernote annotation software, the Finder for files, a web browser and the installed apps. Because it has onboard memory, content can be stored on the internal drive and pulled up onto the board. Additionally, content can be

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brought in via a USB drive, conveniently located on the front of the screen. (There are also HDMI, VGA and RS232 ports.) Any kind of content – including web pages and video frames – can be annotated and saved. When using the video player, tapping one finger on the screen starts and pauses video, while tapping two brings up the annotation tools. Audio is played through built-in 10W speakers. Whiteboard functionality includes the ability to add pages as you go, and to adjust screen colour (useful in SEN environments), pen colour and line size. There is also a split-screen mode which allows two people to use the screen at the same time, independently of each other. The Clevernote software has been designed to be so intuitive that even young children can walk up to the screen and start making annotations. The screen features 10-point touch functionality. One neat feature is that the pens that come with the display attach

magnetically to the screen bezel, making them less easy to lose. While they are fairly resilient, if they do break they are cheap to replace – and you can always use your finger to write and draw on the surface instead. An impressive collection of software comes bundled: • CleverLynx annotation software, which allows you to import any type of document and make notes over it, and save these annotations using screen capture. There is an image bank and a wide variety of maps – and because each display comes with a five-user CleverLynx licence, material can be prepared away from the classroom on another computer; • Snowflake MultiTeach – a selection of games and activities in a range of subjects; • DisplayNote, which lets you control the Clevertouch with a tablet or phone, and share its content with students across multiple devices via the cloud or

WiFi; and • CleverMaths – annotation software with maths and physics tools, including drawing 2D and 3D shapes, and an on-screen calculator. The Clevertouch Plus also comes with exclusive access to the Cleverstore – a selection of educational apps that can be accessed free of charge. These have been curated by Clevertouch to be age and curriculum specific, have been rendered to suit the large display size and are free of distracting advertisements. The display is designed to be resilient – it has a covering of 4mm antiglare safety glass, for example – and further reassurance can be taken from its five-year on-site de-install/re-install warranty for UK mainland customers. It’s hard to think of a requirement that the makers of Clevertouch Plus haven’t thought of. It’s distributed in the UK by Sahara Presentation Systems. www.clevertouch.co.uk www.saharaplc.com

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PRODUCT REVIEW

KUATO STUDIOS CODE WARRIORS KEY FEATURES

Learning to code in a gaming environment

■ Free

■ Classroom-oriented

■ Easy to understand and use

■ Good mix of learning and gaming ■ Graphically accomplished

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he idea that children should be taught, not just how to use a PC, but how to program one, has seen rapid growth in the last few years, and there’s no shortage of resources available online to enable this, of which Codecademy is perhaps the best known. Few of the available resources, though, are designed specifically for the classroom – and that’s where Code Warriors from Kuato Studios, a London-based developer of educational games, comes in. Code Warriors is about two things. The first is understanding the role algorithms play in programming – how a sequence of simple instructions causes computers to do what they do – and how these can be refined and debugged. The second is to teach children the basics of JavaScript. That doesn’t sound too much fun – so Kuato has created the kind of gaming environment with which most children are familiar in order to provide better engagement. Code Warriors – which is aimed at 8-16 year olds – is a turn-based 28

strategy game for two players, similar to chess. Players start at opposing ends of the board with two programmable battle robots – the Code Warriors – and a Power Core to defend. Boot Camp gets a child started – learning, via point and click, how to create a sequence of instructions – and then seeing the robot move in response. As the robot moves, the instruction it is executing is shown on the screen (although this could have been done more clearly). Lessons become progressively more challenging – but are always accompanied by the ‘reward’ of seeing a program turn into an onscreen animation. There are plenty of challenges which progressively increase in how demanding they are as pupils move from Beginner through Junior Coder and Coder to Hacker. Graphically, the developers have done a good job – creating a rich, compelling onscreen experience. No, the graphics aren’t up to the standard of Call of Duty or Halo – but neither do they

need anything other than a PC’s built-in graphics to look good. Where Code Warriors comes into its own is in the way it is designed to enable teachers to monitor the progress of their pupils. The learning objectives of each exercise are clearly documented, and a dashboard provides an overview, by pupil, of progress against key learning outcomes. Information about individual progress from session to session is also available, as is the ability to compare progress against the class as a whole. Perhaps best of all: Code Warriors is free. How Kuato makes money from it isn’t clear: there’s no advertising, no paid upgrades. The company didn’t respond to questions on the subject. So: what are the downsides? An important one is that Chrome isn’t supported. That’s a shame (the problem is of Google’s making, rather than Kuato’s) given that it’s the browser many children will be familiar with. There are occasional lapses of attention to detail – navigation isn’t always what it should be,

and random typos/punctuation errors – but, on the whole, these don’t detract significantly from the experience. It can also be frustrating: when you’ve failed a challenge three times, there’s no obvious way of finding out why. You’re compelled to keep trying to get it right, or you can’t progress. That, of course, is the opportunity for a teacher to add value. In summary: Code Warriors is a great idea, and for the most part well executed (it’s not without its foibles) – although it may be less appealing to the older children at whom Kuato is aiming it. However, it can unquestionably help to teach an important subject – and, perhaps most importantly, is potentially as valuable a tool for teaching as it is for learning. It’s not designed to create a child who is immediately able to get a coding job, but if it inspires children to want to take learning programming further – which it appears very able to do – then Code Warriors certainly deserves consideration. www.codewarriorsgame.com

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N O M M O C N ORE I

M

better! e h t r o f , s s e your busin r o f , u o y r o f , ur days ISE 2016 – Fo

ISE

ISE is the only exhibition that breaks down the traditional technological and business boundaries that covers the Broadcast, Pro Audio and AV markets. It features over 1,000 leading manufactures and service companies – all under one roof.

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PRODUCT REVIEW

PASCO SPARK ELEMENT Frank Pileiro reviews a portable and powerful device designed for use inside and outside science classrooms

KEY FEATURES

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he SPARK Element is an Android-powered science learning device. It allows students to conduct hands-on, inquirybased STEM, science and physics experiments right out of the box or via a variety of sensors. It comes preloaded with lab activities, software and applications so students can start learning right away. The SPARK Element is a well-made and thoughtfully designed device. The power of the device comes from SPARKvue (software for data collections, visualisation and analysis), which is what makes it shine. The built-in lab activities and software make it easy for teachers to assign labs and for students to conduct them, either alone or collaboratively. SPARKvue, paired with the correct accessories, allows students to connect older sensors as well as PASCO’s interface-free wireless spectrometer and polarimeter, so you can continue to use your legacy sensors. Since the SPARK Element comes ready to use right out of the box, 30

teachers can have the devices up and working in a very short amount of time. It’s very easy to follow a guided built-in lab and to collect and analyse data in real time. PASCO has taken the stable and widely adopted Android platform and layered its own interface over it to create a device that is specifically designed for STEM learning. This focus eliminates the possibility of students straying away from their assigned task and getting distracted. Although the SPARK Element does not have a built-in web browser, it does have a nice assortment of applications (including a calculator and stopwatch) as well as an online store for teachers to add apps. The form factor is very nice and it’s small enough that even younger students can hold it in one hand. The device is also encased in a rugged outer layer that is water-resistant so it will stand up to the rigours of daily student use. Its sturdiness and size also make it ideal to take out in the field to conduct

on-site experiments and data logging. PASCO makes this device for ease of use and collaboration. Since science is such a collaborative field, this feature means that students can gain real-world experience in the classroom. When paired with USB Link or AirLink2, the SPARK Element can be connected to over 70 sensors at an economical price. PASCO also offers wireless interface options, including the SPARKlink Air and 550 Universal Interface, which further increase the device’s wireless and data collection capabilities. The 550 Universal Interface even includes a builtin signal generator.

■ Ruggedly designed device is easy to set up and use right out of the box ■ Teachers and students can use built-in experiments or design their own ■ Enables collaboration so data can be shared and compared In summary, PASCO SPARK Element is a well-designed tool created specifically for STEM, science and physics education. The device is fun and easy to use and brings relevance to data logging and analysis. It is available from UK supplier SchChem, at a list price of £211.65. http://education.scichem.com

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Welcome to the New Search the World’s Most Powerful AV Product Database with Over 440,000 Products from Hundreds of Manufacturers Visit the New AV-iQ at www.av-iq.eu today! AV-iQ is a comprehensive online resource for the pro-AV industry that includes a database of over 440,000 products from hundreds of manufacturers, all with richly detailed product information, manufacturer and installer case studies that provide detailed examples of real world installations, local service directories, product comparison tools, and much more. And it’s been redesigned just for you...

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IN THE KNOW, ON THE GO

The new, completely responsive design will let you search up product information from your laptop, tablet or mobile device. And the AV-iQ newsletter series will give you the latest updates to the site and give you insider tips on getting the most from your membership.

Visit the New AV-iQ at www.av-iq.eu today! For information on sponsorships, contact Gurpreet Purewal at +44 (0)20 7354 6000/gpurewal@nbmedia.com or JŸrgen Mšnch at +49 (0)711 25005-61/moench@avipool.com.

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TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE: COLLABORATION

LET’S GET TOGETHER The tools that are engaging students and encouraging collaborative learning

BARCO CLICKSHARE As digital natives, students expect the same levels of ease of use across all the technology they encounter. This is particularly true of the classroom where the use of technology is really starting to take root as an essential part of interactive and collaborative learning. One of the main areas that technology is used in the classroom, particularly in higher education and for subjects like visual arts and media, is the presentation setting where students and teachers gather round a large screen and use their own devices, such as laptops, tablets and even smartphones, to participate in the lesson and share the screen. The ClickShare wireless presentation system is the ideal technology for this environment. ClickShare, depending on model, allows up to 64 participants to connect to the presentation screen (like a plasma screen or projector) at the same time, while four users can

share the screen simultaneously. Users connect to the screen using a USB dongle that works in just seconds, or via an app. ClickShare is compatible with all operating systems – iOS, Android and Windows – and no special adapters or cables are necessary to connect. Also, it supports all devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones, so regardless of the device or OS, users can connect

easily and efficiently. All content is represented as it appears on the host device – audio and video is synced, with low latency and all graphics and information appear in their original resolution. From an IT department perspective, the ClickShare units are easy to maintain, manage and upgrade via a web portal that can be accessed from

anywhere. For schools and campuses featuring many of these units this saves time and means IT staff don’t need to physically go to each one. The units are also secure – using standard encryption to protect user data while they are connected, and with safeguards to ensure that users cannot be connected by accident. www.barco.com

CASIO CORE According to Casio, the core of any classroom technology collaboration set-up is the projector, which brings lessons to life for students, and allows for digital content to be incorporated into traditional lesson formats. However, the cost involved with installing, running and maintaining projectors can often limit the uptake of this fundamental collaboration tool. Hence why this year Casio introduced its new Core (XJ-V1) projector to the market, in a bid to bring its high-performance collaborative technology to any school budget. This latest addition to the manufacturer’s completely lamp-free laser and LED line-up was designed to introduce projection technology to a school, or act as an ideal replacement projector, and hails in at a cool RRP of £449. These punchy classroom projectors offer high reliability, maintenance-free performance with no need for lamp change. Elimination of traditional mercury lamps means the Core is more environmentally friendly and saves considerable time and effort in safe

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disposal and replacement. Furthermore, they offer superior colour with high brightness, great connectivity and potential 3D capability. Great for collaborative classrooms, the Core also provides useful ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) capability in order for teachers to project videos and other content

wirelessly from smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. The Core boasts a brightness of 2,700 ANSI lumens with HDMI and VGA input, and audio in/out with RS232 control. It is designed to be easily refitted to existing ceiling-mounted installations. The true benefit of Casio’s Core laser-LED lamp-free

projector, however, lies in the total cost of ownership for its high-quality, high-impact classroom collaboration capabilities. It has virtually no drop-off in brightness over the 20,000-hour projector lifetime (compared to the fairly rapid brightness degrade experienced with lamp projectors), and this high reliability is guaranteed with Casio’s five-year or 10,000-hour on-site warranty. www.casio.co.uk

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TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE: COLLABORATION CRESTRON AIRMEDIA The way in which we teach and learn is changing. The modern learning environment that helps to transform students from passive listeners to active participants requires collaboration tools that not only enable the instructor to present to the students but also enables students to actively contribute to their learning. Using Crestron’s AirMedia Presentation gateway, students can wirelessly present their findings to the whole class using whatever source or format they choose – whether it is a PowerPoint, Excel, Word or PDF document, or showing images from their personal iOS or Android mobile device, MacBook or PC laptop. Connection is seamless with no wires to connect to, no complicated settings to configure and no AV or control system is required. All students have to do is connect their device via the local WiFi network to start sharing their content. Presenting with AirMedia is simple using its intuitive Play, Pause, and Stop buttons that appear on your device’s screen. Clicking the Play button selects your device as the presentation source, sending whatever is on your screen to the room display. AirMedia lets you pause the presentation, freezing the current image on screen so others can continue to view it while you look through your personal files and emails. Once you’ve located the new content and brought it up on your device, simply click Play to resume the presentation. When you have finished presenting, just click the Stop button to stop displaying your device. Using Quad View mode, up to four sources can be displayed simultaneously, enabling students to display different content on screen at once without having to toggle back and forth. With up to 32 participants connected, the instructor can continually control whose content is being displayed, and adjust where that content is positioned in the Quad View. www.crestron.eu

DISPLAYNOTE

With collaboration between devices becoming more and more important in the classroom, audiovisual reseller CDEC has noticed the growing popularity of systems such as DisplayNote and its exclusive CleverTab Touch Solution, created in partnership with Sahara. Managing director Toni Barnett says: “DisplayNote allows teachers to easily share any lesson content live from the in-room display, directly to student devices. Students can work on computers or tablets and capture the content live on their device and make their own notes for review. This is highly beneficial as true collaboration comes with the ability for the teacher to view student screens alongside each other and even send these to the display to allow the rest of the class to view and discuss. “Feedback from teachers is that they can collaborate directly with and empower students by allowing them to contribute live in the lesson – imagine sharing a maths worksheet

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EXTERITY

and asking one of the students to provide their answers – they can do so from the device they are using in their own seat and their answers are sent live to the front of the room.” Collaboration tools such as DisplayNote allow students to express their creativity and allow even the shyest of students to contribute. The teacher tools enable this collaboration but also provide elements of control with the ability to pause student screens, monitor them, send messages to the group and test for knowledge with instant response questions. Alex Cooke, director of learning at Clacton High School, says: “DisplayNote allows me to use the iPads more as a learning tool and classroom aid rather than a word processor and internet research tool.” DisplayNote software for 10 student connections comes with every Clevertouch interactive flatpanel. Extra connections and licences can be purchased. www.cdec.co.uk

The latest generation of tech-savvy students expects technology to support lectures and hands-on projects. With more emphasis put on group projects, students need interactive tools such as video to help them collaborate in a more effective way. While video messaging software like Skype and WhatsApp group discussions are already commonplace, universities that provide access to multiple types of video content across a wide range of platforms are sure to offer an attractive learning proposition to prospective students. Aware of the role that video plays in young students’ lives, prestigious universities like City University London have started to deploy IP video systems to deliver internet, TV and video. In City University’s case, the content offering includes Sky Sports, international news channels and live feeds from portable cameras – to multiple devices across campus. These video systems also add a new dynamic to students’ personal study by providing professors with the ability to record their lectures, which students can access at leisure on their own laptops and mobile devices. To avoid the cabling costs entailed by traditional video distribution systems, IP video sits on the university’s existing IP network, providing a cost-effective, robust solution that is easy to install and maintain. Inherently flexible and scalable, the system fits any size of installation or number of devices, and enables administrators to manage and control the system from anywhere on the network. The capabilities delivered by IP video enable students to develop new skills by taking part in the university broadcast media and feel at home away from home, safe in the knowledge that they can access the content they want, when they want it, on the device of their choice. www.exterity.com

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TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE: COLLABORATION KALTURA MEDIASPACE / CAPTURESPACE MediaSpace, developed by video technology company Kaltura, is an easy-to-use social, video and rich media portal that lets businesses and educational institutions build their own private YouTube – a CorporateTube or CampusTube. MediaSpace opens up media creation and sharing for contributors, moderators, and viewers across a multitude of channels, encouraging community, collaboration, and social activities using online video on any device. Users can securely create, upload, share, search, browse, and watch live and on-demand videos, presentations, screencasts, and other rich media content, anytime, anywhere. Delivering a great crossdevice user experience, MediaSpace features powerful control, governance and analytics tools. MediaSpace is used by enterprises for collaboration and knowledge sharing, corporate/executive communications, employee training/ onboarding, and external marketing/

communications. Educational institutions use it to accelerate learning, build a sense of community, and communicate with external audiences. Key functionality includes: easyto-use video uploading, management and publishing of content; intuitive search and discovery; powerful user-generated content and editing tools; consumer-like social tools that let users comment, rate, like, and share videos; accessibility and closed caption support for hearingimpaired/multilingual audiences; and content recommendations that help to maximise video consumption. Kaltura CaptureSpace can be fully integrated with MediaSpace and offers a simple way to create searchable, interactive video presentations that can be viewed on any device. CaptureSpace combines recording, automated publishing, and interactive viewing to enable video capture in class, at the office, at home, or on the go. Content creators

can capture multistream recordings synchronised with a PowerPoint presentation or screen capture, while viewers can easily navigate to content, search through slide text, switch between video streams, and view picture-in-picture. Enterprises use CaptureSpace

for cross-departmental knowledge sharing, capturing employee expertise and employee training/onboarding, while educational institutions use it for lecture capture, flipped classroom, lab demonstrations and student presentations. www.corp.kaltura.com

PROMETHEAN ACTIVPANELS Learning should never be a passive experience, and creating an active and collaborative classroom has never been simpler than with Promethean’s ActivPanel technology, exclusively distributed in the UK by TD Maverick. Taking the concept of a whiteboard

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to new heights, the ActivPanel lets students become immersed in learning with their intuitive software. The displays can be used to display content, show video and audio, and allow for more traditional writing and annotating experiences. Their touch-integrated

LED technology allows the panels to work with digital pen for writing, video and presentation modes for display, and built-in high-quality stereo speakers to create an all-in-one solution. They function with multitouch gestures, allowing for real hands-on learning as

students can actively participate and change on-screen content. ActivPanels display Full HD content on their LED screen, and ensure easy viewing from anywhere in the classroom with their low-glare, low-reflectivity display and wide viewing angle. They run award-winning lesson delivery software for collaborative interactivity; ActivInspire and ClassFlow software suites offer teachers a vast suite of free tools and resources. These help to bring lessons to life, increase collaborative and active learning, and help to deliver multimedia interactive lessons and assessments for any subject. Perfect for classrooms of any size, the ActivPanel offers multiple configuration formats, such as a fixed mount or mobile stand, to fit screens ranging in sizes from 55in, 65in, and 70in HD and 84in 4K (Ultra HD) displays. A vast variety of ports including HDMI, VGA, USB and Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) allows for convenient connectivity. The ActivPanel incorporates with Promethean’s suite of high-tech solutions such as ActivInspire, ActivSoundBar, ActivExpression, ActiVote, ActiView. Promethean offers a generous support package for schools and classrooms to enjoy years of interactive learning experiences after installation. The ActivPanels boast up to 50,000 hours of expected display life combined with a comprehensive five-year warranty. www.tdmaverick.co.uk

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BACK PAGE PICKS WHITE PAPER

EVENT

Whiteboard, projection or both? The whiteboard as an education tool has morphed into many forms with the addition of new types of video and interactive content in the classroom. This creates a significant challenge for technology decision makers in education. How can a whiteboard double as a video display surface without losing the best attributes of each use? Is it possible to annotate and interact with clearly projected video on a whiteboard surface that can stand up to prolonged marker use and erasure? Presented by projection screen manufacturer Da-Lite, the white paper ‘The Interactive Classroom: When to Select a Whiteboard, Projection Screen, or Both in One’ looks at some of the issues around this question, and presents a case study where interactive and traditional pen-based techniques exist comfortably side by side. To read the white paper, login or register on our website www.techandlearning.uk

The return of the UK’s premier education show The Bett Show returns to the ExCeL Centre in London on 20-23 January. Newcastle University’s Sugata Mitra has been confirmed as the first keynote speaker. He was given the $1m TED Prize in 2013 in recognition of his work and to help build a School in the Cloud, a creative online space for children from all over the world. Topics covered in the seminar sessions include e-learning, edtech trends, student satisfaction and MOOCs. Nearly 700 exhibitors from across all levels of the education sector – more than 200 of them new to the show – will also be on hand to present the latest developments in the market. International pavilions will present the latest ideas and solutions from France, Spain, Norway, South Korea, Singapore and the UAE. The Tech&LearningUK team will be on the showfloor too. To arrange a meeting with us, email jruddock@nbmedia.com.

EDITORIAL CALENDAR

ISE 2016: BEST OF SHOW AWARDS

Coming up in future issues of Tech&LearningUK January 2016 Classroom technology for 2016 Security and BYOD Technology showcase: Top 10 software releases for 2016 Show preview: BETT Show 2016 How to: Optimise your virtual learning environment

September 2016

April 2016

November 2016

The classroom of the future, today Video technology and telepresence Technology showcase: AR/VR Show preview: The Education Show Show review: BETT Show 2016 How to: Promote online safety

Relevance of game-based learning Learning management systems Technology showcase: Voting systems Show review: Education Innovation How to: Use e-books to foster engaging learning environments

Utilising the cloud Mobile devices as learning tools Technology showcase: Projectors How to: Optimise WiFi, importance of and challenges

Tech&LearningUK will once again be recognising the most innovative new products on show in Amsterdam with its ISE 2016 Best of Show Awards. The awards are open to any company showing a product at ISE 2016 that is new since the 2015 event. To nominate a product, visit www.newbay-awards. com and complete the short form. The deadline for entries is 29 January. A panel of judges from across the pro-AV spectrum will vet products live on the ISE showfloor and winners will be presented with a Best of Show certificate during the event. In addition, all entrants will be featured in a Best of Show Digital Edition sent out after the show. www.newbay-awards.com

Please send editorial submissions to heather@mclean-media.com

Remember – you can follow Tech&LearningUK on Twitter at @TechLearningUK and on the web at www.techandlearning.uk 35

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Tech&LearningUK November 2015