Technology in schools: saving money with cloud, open source and consortia -
Staffing costs aside, ICT represents one of the largest elements of a school’s budget, so it is no surprise that when savings need to be made, spending on both equipment and software comes under scrutiny.
But with the role of technology as a teaching tool and in society at large growing all the time, the trick is delivering savings without damaging pupils’ education or putting them at a disadvantage in the world outside school.
One solution is open source software, moving away from proprietorial systems where users pay for a licence. This is the route taken by Pool Academy in Cornwall, which has moved four of its six servers to the free CentOS Linux platforms. Windows is still in place on end-users’ screens, ensuring pupils are familiar with systems they will encounter outside school.
The change is saving around £3,000 a year in licensing costs, according to the schools’ ICT manager Phil Jones. This was not the principal motivation, however. Rather than a one-size-fits-all system, going for open source means the school can adapt it to its own needs. It has also proved more stable. “We don’t have down-time with these servers,” Jones says.
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10 things about being an artist that art teachers don't tell you -
What art students need to know is: can I make a living from being creative? The answer is more complex than you might think.
There are many misconceptions about the art world. Ask someone to describe what it means to be an artist, and they will probably paint a picture of one of two extremes. There is no perceived middle ground, no stability, no security: there are simply those who make it, and those who don’t.
The quintessential artist-failure is dedicated, talented, yet tragically unappreciated. Regrettably, their work acquires value only after their death.
The other extreme is the artist-celebrity. The conceptualists, the YBAs, the Damien Hirsts – these cunning characters are able to sell anything, particularly if it has some kind of biological waste product artfully smeared across it.
If popular opinion is anything to go by, the creative sector is a huge gamble, braved only by reckless, or masochistic, individuals. But if you’re an art student, you need to know if this “make or break” view bears any relation to reality?
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Three-year-olds 'coached to get into top private schools' -
Mothers and fathers are going to extreme lengths to ensure infants impress staff during the admissions process for Britain’s top pre-prep schools, it emerged.
The Good Schools Guide said that rising numbers of fee-paying schools – including those teaching the very youngest pupils – are relying on interviews to select children with “individual spark” and to flush out serious pastoral concerns.
Schools often use the process to ask children academic questions, talk around their favourite subject, discuss hobbies or even get them to sing or dance.
But the latest edition of the guide warned how some parents were attempting to cheat the process by paying for professional coaching to drill children in interview techniques.
The guide told how one parent videoed his daughter to give her positive feedback on her strengths and weaknesses while others relied on family friends to conduct mock interviews as preparation.
Education in brief: what becomes of the EBC consultants? -
Michael Gove’s U-turn on GCSEs leaves some doubt as to what will happen to the contract for their development, awarded - controversially
So farewell, then, the ill-fated English Baccalaureate Certificate exams. But we wonder where this leaves a curious contract for their “development”, which was awarded without fanfare before Christmas.
A government contracts database reveals that, on 5 December, the Department for Education awarded work, to be carried out over the period to summer 2014 and worth £39,600, “to develop [the] English Baccalaureate Certificate proposals further”.
Eyebrows were being raised – even before Michael Gove’s decision last week to retain and reform GCSEs rather than introduce the new EBCs – about who had been given this task.
Three quarters of the funding for this contract went to the East Norfolk Academies Trust, a body that currently runs one school, with another due to open in September. The rest went to a consultant based in West Yorkshire. One assessment source questioned where the exams expertise for what looked like a major task was supposed to be coming from.
From today, when you click on the Discover link on the Library Home Page you will be taken to Discover and see the following screen:
There are now two log-in links in the top right corner of the page, one for University staff and students and one for partner college tutors.
University staff and students should continue to use your University User ID and password to log in.
Partner College Tutors should use the Athens username and password you received after completing your application. If you are a partner tutor or member of library staff at a partner college and you do not have an Athens Account find out how you can obtain one at the library web pages.
Are you struggling to pass your numeracy QTS test?
If so you might benefit from attending a workshop run by the Maths Support Tutor, Bernadette Leckenby.
There is a workshop this Friday 15th February at 12.30 in the Study Support Zone.
As numbers are limited can you please email Bernadette (Bernadette.email@example.com) to book a place
If Gove axes AS-levels, equality will feel the blow -
Modular courses and retakes help students in struggling schools bridge the gap between GCSE and A-level.
The education secretary, Michael Gove, wants to make AS-level qualifications non-contributory to a final A-level grades and instead impose one definitive set of exams after two years of study. Gove argues this will make A-levels richer in content, ensuring students are learning information that they will retain, rather than memorising content solely for exams. Quite rightly, this has caused widespread concern from students and teachers.
I’m in my second year of study at university and I found the existing A-level system to be reasonable. I can imagine there would have been a huge pressure if my entire A-level grade and future in education relied on one set of exams.
Gove is misguided in his assertion that the current system encourages students to memorise information that they forget after exams; he also fails to acknowledge that modules are interlinked, with A-levels building on knowledge gained at AS-level. The consensus among my fellow students and teachers is that breaking down the A-level process into smaller, more manageable segments through modular study allows individuals to display their full potential. It is disconcerting that politicians are often detached from the issues they address and fail in acknowledging the opinions of those who are directly affected by policies.
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GCSE results set to accelerate drive to turn schools into academies -
A number of secondary schools seen as ‘failing’ has nearly doubled in a year after government raised minimum pass rate.
The number of secondary schools deemed to be “failing” has nearly doubled in a year as a result of the government shifting the benchmark for schools that are underachieving – even as results overall have improved. The increase in failing schools is likely to accelerate the already rapid transformation of schools into academies.
GCSE results for more than 4,000 state and private schools and colleges in England showed there were that the benchmark of 40% of pupils in a school gaining at least five passes at grade C or higher, including English and maths, was not reached in 195 schools.
This was an improvement on the equivalent figure of 251 schools in 2011 that failed to hit the 40% mark, but the Department for Education (DfE) has since raised its minimum requirement for pupils attaining the standard from 35%. Only 107 schools failed to reach that figure in 2011.
The 195 schools seen as failing can be targeted for takeover by academy chains, a process the DfE says brings improved results. This argument received some backing in the latest GCSE figures, which showed the proportion of students reaching the five good GCSEsstandard rose by 3.1 percentage points in sponsored academies, as against a national rise for state schools of 0.6 of a percentage point. Including independent schools, the proportion of pupils gaining the five good GCSEs increased to 59.4%, against 58.2% in 2011.
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Arts Council chief accuses Gove of abandoning cultural education -
Education secretary risks leaving a generation exposed and robbing children of their birthright, warns Liz Forgan.
Michael Gove is abandoning the next generation’s cultural education, leaving them “dangerously exposed” without the basic artistic understanding to recognise themselves and their culture, according to the head of the Arts Council.
In a lecture on Tuesday at the British Museum to mark the end of her tenure as chair of the arts-funding body, Liz Forgan will say the education secretary risks “robbing a generation of its birthright and failing in the duty we all have to continue our culture”.
She will say: “Just as we let a whole generation lose the capacity to cook so we are in danger of making the same break in the transmission of our cultural language.”
In her speech, titled A Farewell to Arts, Forgan will express alarm at the absence of arts subjects from the Ebacc, the new qualification at 16 awarded to pupils who have gained GCSE grades A-C in five subject areas: maths, English, two sciences, languages and the humanities. By excluding subjects such as art, design, music, dance and drama from the Ebacc, she argues, “a big red signal is hoisted saying with total clarity, ‘We don’t care’”.
She will note that 15% of schools have dropped one or more arts subjects since the Ebacc was introduced.
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Want to access other University Libraries in the UK? Apply online to join the Sconul Access Scheme (it's free) -
Is there another University Library nearer to where you live than either of the University of Sunderland’s libraries? (whether Murray Library, St Peter’s Library or our London Campus Library). Perhaps you would like to access a library in the holidays if you travel home, visit…
(Source: uosliboffcampus, via uoslibraryculture)