Cybercafé resource for teachers and pupils

The thinkuknow Cybercafé for Key Stage 2 pupils has been developed by CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection), alongside BECTA (The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) and the Internet Proficiency Group. It aims to develop safe and discriminating behaviour for pupils to adopt when using the internet and other technologies.

Developed by teachers for teachers, the Cybercafé can be used safe in the knowledge that these free resources are appropriate for meeting whole-school policies relating to safeguarding, and are fit for use in the classroom as well as within the PSHE/ICT curriculum.

The resources include a teachers’ pack, which contains teaching activities and background information on new technologies, including advice and guidance on staying safe, lesson plans and pupils’ worksheets.

Visit the Cybercafé

Update on Know IT All for Parents resource (see previous entry for more information)

The Know IT All for Parents resource which Childnet launched last month (see http://www.childnet-int.org/kia) has had a phenomenal take-up with over 212,000 copies ordered from schools (of which 196,345 have now been dispatched). In addition to this Childnet have agreed with PC WORLD that they will make a further 200,000 copies available free to the public through their stores from July onwards. With over 400,000 of the initial 1 million stock already distributed, it’s important that all schools are aware of this resource and can order their free bulk quantities, especially those schools who can benefit from the non-English language sections on the KIA resource (summary information is in 9 languages including Arabic, Mandarin, Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Polish, BSL and Gujarati). A wider communications drive begins this month with adverts in the TES and elsewhere and a special promotional advert is available from http://www.childnet-int.org/kia/about/promote.aspx

Panorama programme on wi-fi

Recent concerns expressed in the press about WiFi culminated in a panorama programme  which raised a number of issues about the installation and use of WiFi systems in schools and by children.

The key reference agencies in this matter are Becta and the Health Protection Agency and the following note contains some background information from them that you may wish to consider

Summary
There is no evidence to date that exposure to the radio frequency (RF) signals from WiFi and WLANs adversely affect the health of the general population. In addition, Health Protection Agency advice is:
• The signals from WiFi are very low power, typically 0.1 watt (100 milliwatts) in both the computer and the mast (or router) and resulting exposures should be well within internationally accepted guidelines.
• The frequencies used are broadly the same as those from ‘traditional’ RF applications.
• Based on current knowledge, RF exposures from WiFi are likely to be lower than those from mobile phones.

On the basis of current scientific information WiFi equipment satisfies international guidelines. There is no consistent evidence of health effects from RF exposures below guideline levels and therefore no reason why schools and others should not use WiFi equipment.

“Following Monday night’s (21 May 2007) Panorama programme, Becta has been in contact with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) – the government agency responsible for health and safety – to obtain the latest guidance on any health issues relating to wireless technology.

Despite the claims made in Monday night’s programme, the HPAs guidance remains the same. The latest advice on their website reads:

On the basis of current scientific information WiFi equipment satisfies international guidelines. There is no consistent evidence of health effects from RF exposures below guideline levels and therefore no reason why schools and others should not use WiFi equipment.”

Based on this guidance, and expert safety advice, Becta believes that there is no need to change its current guidance: while secure wireless networks can complement an institution’s wired network, they should not replace it. Further information on WiFi safety is available on the Health Protection Agency website.
http://www.hpa.org.uk/radiation/understand/radiation_topics/emf/wifi.htm

DirectGov survey on the future of the internet

Interesting findings from a national survey commissioned by DirectGov that came out recently.  They questioned parents, teenagers, over 50s, motorists and disabled people in order to ascertain what services they would like to see provided online. Overall, the top five answers were:

  • ‘No show’ truancy alert if child doesn’t arrive at school (wanted by parents)
  • Taking a virtual tour of colleges or universities (14-18 year olds)
  • Guide to local services for older people (over 50s)
  • Renew car tax online (motorists)
  • Personalised journey planners mapped by accessibility (disabled people).

The top five preferences for parents were:

1. Immediate online alert if child hasn’t turned up at registration
2. View my child’s school disciplinary record online
3. Have a say in the running of my child’s school e.g. online PTA meetings
4. Track my child’s journey to or from school
5. Have a webcam in my child’s classroom.

The top five for teenagers are:
1. Take a virtual tour of colleges or universities
2. Have virtual driving lessons
3. Earn money through using your skills online
4. Have job interviews
5. Have school lessons / tutorials.

For more on the survey, see http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_068423

Does this have implications for what we should be doing in schools for our young people and parents?

Strategic Leadership of ICT

This is your final opportunity to participate in the SLICT programme.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is now recognised for its potential to enhance learning and teaching. The SLICT programme offers an opportunity to work with other school leaders to build a sustainable vision for ICT in your school, where learning is at the heart of every decision. This programme is now entering its final year and as a Headteacher in South Gloucestershire you are urged not to miss the opportunity to benefit from this programme.

For further information and for programme dates, please visit http://www.ncsl.org.uk/slict

Know It All

Schools can order bulk copies of a new resource from Childnet International to help parents promote positive and safe Internet use. ‘Know IT All‘, an interactive CD-Rom commissioned by the DfES, will be available to all maintained schools in England to order in bulk quantity for parents free of charge.

Know It All DVD logo

“A key aim of the CD-Rom is to encourage parents to have a dialogue with their children about the internet and there is special material produced by and for young people, and a special Activity Centre with quizzes and games that parents and children can play together. A summary of the advice on the CD-Rom has been translated into Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati, Polish, Mandarin, Punjabi, Urdu and British Sign Language and is presented in the latest multi-media video.”

http://tinyurl.com/28fdfd  or http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/default.aspx?PageFunction=productdetails&PageMode=spectrum&ProductId=DFES-00308-2007&  ;

A related CD ROM – Know IT All for Schools, was published in 2005, and is still available from:

http://tinyurl.com/24dr9b  or

http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/default.aspx?PageFunction=productdetails&PageMode=spectrum&ProductId=KIA-SCHOOLS& 

Opening Keynote at the BETT Show

The minister for schools, Jim Knight, provided the opening keynote speech for the BETT show. He focused on three main areas which are listed below.

The Importance of Technology

  • This blurs the boundary between formal and informal learning as children can log on where and when-ever appropriate and it enables direct and immediate communication between schools and parents through web sites, text and e-mails.
  • Technology is also an essential tool to help teachers plan, assess and monitor progress.
  • The most effective schools provide clear evidence that technology is helping to improve achievement and open up choice through innovation

ICT Test at Key Stage 3

  • The minister outlined that the test has real potential to support assessment for learning, but that to realise this potential, teachers should be able to use the test at any point when pupils are ready, as a resource which can indicate student’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • The KS3 online test is consequently not being made statutory but will be available for use throughout the whole key stage and there is an intention to revise the piloted test and to focus on developing materials which can be used more flexibly throughout the key stage.

Digital Divide

  • Reducing the digital divide is seen to be crucial in ensuring every child benefits from the advanates offered by technology and an aspiration for universal home access to technology and the internet was stated.
  • The Computers for Pupils initiative is giving access to technolgoy to disadvantaged families at home and there will be further support. South Gloucestershire schools do not currently benefit from this initiative.
  • The DfES want to build on the success of the 20% of secondary schools who already operate home loan schemes.
  • They also want to open up after school access to pupils and their pareants through extended schools.

The minister closed with the following statements

‘ So classroom practice will have to adapt to the knowledge that children can access resources at home.’  ‘…we will be pro-active in seizing the opportunities technologies offer rather then being overwhelmed by the pace of change. That we will support our workforce to ensure that these opportunities are understood and accepted in the classroom.’

The entire speech can be downloaded from the DfES web site.

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/speeches/search_detail.cfm?ID=468

BETT Show Award Winners

The winners of the prestigious BETT awards 2007 were announced on January 10th 2007. The annual BETT awards represent a partnership between Becta (the Government’s lead agency for ICT in education), BESA (the trade association representing the educational supply industry) and Emap Education who organise the show. It is the largest educational technology show in the world. The awards recognise outstanding education sector products and learning solutions. Judges review the entries based on criteria including design, cost-effectiveness, support of higher order skills and effective learning and teaching styles. They also focus on technical criteria relating to the robustness and resilience of each product. This years winners in each category can be viewed on the ICT web site.

http://www.learningwithsouthglos.org.uk/ICT/curriculum/training/Conferences/BETT2007/index.htm#NomineesAndWinners