future education trends

3 education trends set to be hot in 2017

November 16th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized

Here’s what’s predicted to be hot in 2017:

Virtual Reality

VIRTUAL REALITY

Instead of opening up a text book and attempting to visualise the world of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun, the growth in Virtual Reality (VR) has meant students are able to place themselves in a virtual world, strolling through the Egyptian desert, in front of the Tombs of the Kings.

Innovators such as Google are rolling-out their test programme in the UK asking schools to get involved in the Google Expeditions platform.

Renowned Maya archaeologist Dr Diane Davies has partnered with the London Grid for Learning to create ‘Maya – A Journey through the Maya World’ – this resource brings together a variety of augmented reality resources.

Although just starting out as a school resource, we think this is an area definitely to watch. Once a VR Viewer that is compatible with an iPad or Chromebook becomes mainstream…..watch this space!app

MOBILE LEARNING

The anytime, anywhere characteristic of mobile devices not only removes the obstacle of location, but also promotes student collaboration and interaction.  With the average British household owning at least 1 smartphone and 1 tablet, students are able to pause their task and resume it at home by simply logging in to the app on their home device, expanding their learning further.

Check out these Apps for Educators. Mobiles in the classroom tends to be a devisive area for teachers, with some feeling the technology is best for outside teaching time, however with the huge adoption/addiction to phones amongst teenagers it surely is an area we should be looking to engage with?

GAMIFICATION

We’ve written a whole article on the benefits of Gamification in the classroom! It’s an area we are really excited about seeing what will happen in the future!

What are you most excited about seeing in 2017?  Let us know – hello@microcomms.co.uk.

 

 

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying – can Social Media stop it?

November 16th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized

Bullying is an ever-present problem and a recent report from the NSPCC’s Childline service has shown it counselled more than 4,500 children in the past year compared to about 2,400 in 2011-12. The total number suffering online abuse is thought to be far higher. Some children as young as seven told Childline how they were tormented, abused and scared to go to school.

How can technology help to do something about it?

Social Media platforms have been stepping up to the mark. Twitter has instigated several updates, one of which changes the language of its violent threats policy, allowing the platform to intercede even when an abuser is vague about the kind of violence he or she is threatening or promoting. Previously, the policy required the aggressor to post specific threats before Twitter could respond. Twitter staff have also start locking accounts they regard as abusive for set amounts of time. Users whose accounts have been locked may be required to verify their phone number and delete offensive content before being allowed back in.

cyberbullying

Facebook’s bullying prevention hub, done in partnership with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, provides a space for teens, parents, and educators to discuss and address cyberbullying. The social network also has a team dedicated to promoting empathy and respect online.

Instagram take all violations very seriously too – this includes negative comments, fake profiles or hacking of accounts, you can use their in-app reporting tool.  They have also recently launched new opt-in content filters that users can apply to their comments starting today. The filters block posts that include what the company calls ‘deplorable words’.

Snapchat sees bullying in the form of screenshots, sending pics without permission and negative comments. They also have a reporting tool to use if someone is harassing or bullying you. Their community guidelines also spell out how to use the App safely.

Although they don’t have all the answers, it is good to see Social Media providers trying to address the problem.

 

 

 

Gaming in the classroom

Game Changer – how gaming impacts learning

November 15th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized

The role of gaming in education is fast becoming a hot topic in schools right now.  But how is gaming impacting and changing classroom learning today and how can schools expect this to evolve in the future?

What is meant by ‘gaming’?

The term ‘Gaming’ essentially refers to adding an element of competition or challenge to an individual’s learning, with some entertainment or fun along the way.  But gaming has a serious side too because it is fast becoming a widely used, popular and interactive way for children to learn in classrooms today.Gaming in the classroom

Teachers are well aware that a great number of pupils have access to games consoles, computers and tablets at home, where the primary use is playing games.  Many of these games are interactive and allow children to compete against other people in real time over the Internet.  Although teachers have often discussed how children have become too technology dependent at home and sometimes feel disconnected when they come into school, the role of gaming is finding its way into school but in a structured way. 

Increased concentration and focus

Gamification (as it is referred to in school) means that games are constructed in such a way that learning takes place at the same time as the child is enjoying the game.  There are many benefits to this style of learning too.  Pupils are more likely to concentrate on a game in school because this action takes up part of their leisure time and is therefore a familiar exercise.  It also allows pupils to work at their own speed and within their skills set.  The element of competition also means that they will push themselves in order to progress in the game.

Gaming in the classroom

Adopting a strategy with the right balance

At the moment gaming plays a fairly small role in contrast to the overall curriculum and technology use at the moment is centred on delivering content and using cloud based applications for submitting work. However, main-stream developers are seeing the impact gaming can have in education, with big-boy gaming franchises developing classroom versions such as Minecraft Educational Edition.

 

How can schools adopt a successful strategy for gaming and what are the first steps to take?

  • Look at what devices would best suit your school – Chromebooks will run any web page but do not allow downloaded apps; iPads don’t always run all of the web based content available and there may be large costs involved.
  • Look at your current curriculum and see where there are opportunities to introduce games.
  • Don’t be put off by a perceived skills gap between staff and pupils; they need to work more in partnership.
  • Don’t be afraid of using guided learning (pointing pupils towards resources) and setting a clear time for use in lessons.

One thing that is clear, is gaming is here to stay.  Pupils are motivated by this approach to learning and we are seeing positive progression.  There is of course, always a balance to be had.  Children still need to sit exam papers in the traditional sense and they still need context for their learning, but if we create the right mix, gaming can really help to propel learning in the future.

Let us help you discover how technology can aid you in your classroom. Our team of account handlers love to talk tech and are happy discussing the smallest requirements right through to solving the bigger challenges.

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IT in schools drive kicks off for summer

July 14th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized

IT in Schools is front and centre spotlight. We are all about education, education, education this week with the annual mad dash to take briefings from school for ICT work and upgrades that always needs doing over the summer months when the school is closed to pupils.  Many of our new clients have found that over the past academic year, their networks and servers just aren’t up to scratch to support the volume of devices they have in school and the amount of live/streamed work they are doing to support the curriculum and have called us in to help.

If this sounds familiar and over the past year you have:

  • invested in new technology that has overloaded your network?
  • had lessons disrupted by poor server or network performance?
  • been frustrated by the quality of the technology in your school?

give us a shout and we will pop into school and take a no no obligation look at your ICT set-up.  Maybe it is just time for a routine upgrade or you don’t yet know what needs doing, you just know things need to improve.

We can only fit in a limited number of projects this Summer so don’t delay any longer, give us a call on 03300 020 000

The Drones are coming!

June 17th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized

Since the launch of the New Primary Curriculum in 2014 it has redefined the way pupils are taught the use of technology.

Ipad controlled drone for the IT CurriculumComputing revolves around how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed. Pupils studying computing will gain an understanding of computational systems of all kinds, whether or not they include computers.

After the success of our Summer Term Workshops, we are busy planning the schedule for the new school year in September. PlanIT Primary are delighted to offer fantastic computing opportunities to your pupils!

You don’t need to have the equipment, or the qualified member of staff to teach it, all you need to do is provide us with a workspace, we will provide the rest!

These workshops are an engaging way for pupils to be taught valuable computing skills by a qualified teacher, while also using top technology!

Workshops

  • Drone Programmer (Half day/Full day) – During the sessions, the pupils will be set a variety of fun, engaging tasks using coding on our drones and iPads. We will teach your pupils the art of programming – they will learn the basics of code, using tech that they can see live, whilst making sense of how coding works!
  • Pro Animator (Full day) – We can tailor this workshop to fit around any topic you are doing! Using your topic, we will work with pupils to create ‘stop animation’ videos, add background music and voiceovers. By the end of the day you will have a great product to share with parents.
  • Game Maker (Full day) – Ever wanted to create your own computer game? Using Chromebooks and Scratch, we will work with your children to show them how to build their own computer game. A fantastic opportunity to demonstrate those hard to teach skills.
  • Future Inventors (Half day) – A great way to introduce your pupils to creating circuits and basic programming using our littleBits kit, this workshop enables them then to create their own inventions.
  • Apprentice Inventors (Full day) – Does your school have the future Tim Dyson? During this day, pupils will work in groups to create an electronic product using our littleBits kit, film an advert and write a pitch! A fantastic way to combine computing, science and literacy.
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Microcomms helps give little boy “best day ever”

February 13th, 2014 Posted by Uncategorized

A Chacewater schoolboy has described having the “best day of his life” after Microcomms replaced one of his flood-damaged Christmas presents.

Seven year-old Rhys Lobb was smiling from ear to ear as he stood up in the Chacewater Community Primary School assembly on Friday to collect his brand new Samsung Galaxy tablet.

The tablet, which was donated by Microcomms, replaces one destroyed by floods just one week after the schoolboy received it for Christmas.

Rhys was overwhelmed with thanks and couldn’t wait to get started on his new toy.

He said: “It feels really, really, really good.

“I was really sad when we lost everything.

“It’s really special and definitely the best present ever.”

The Lobb family had a terrible start to 2014 after they woke up on New Year’s Day to find the ground floor of their house under a foot of water.
Hope was restored when three year old Samuel Hoskin from Mawgan, near Helston, prompted his family and the local community to collect vouchers and toys to replace the ruined presents.

But there was one present the funds couldn’t replace – Rhys’ electronic tablet. After hearing the family’s plight, Chacewater Community Primary School’s head teacher, Chris Gould, contacted the schools IT supplier, Microcomms, and asked if they could help.

Microcomms have supported Chacewater Schools IT infastructure for many years,

The company were more than happy to donate a replacement and decided to present it to Rhys during an assembly which addressed the theme of “crisis”.

Simon Murley, the managing director of Microcomms, said: “It was touching to see so many generous people pull together in another family’s time of need and we are proud that we could be a part of that.

“We hope Rhys has fun playing all those games on his new Samsung tablet and hope this small gesture will go some way to ensuring he and his family can get back to normality after the unfortunate floods over Christmas.”

Rhys’ mother, Carly Lobb, attended the crisis assembly with her seven-month-old daughter, Freya.

She said: “It’s really fantastic because not only did Rhys lose his Christmas presents but it was his birthday on the 28th so he lost many of those presents too.
“He told me today was going to be the best day of his life because he was getting a table and having a Chinese!”

*Article written and published by The West Britton