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Misco roundup – Education


Misco roundup – Education
24th February 2017

by Shannon Greenhalgh

Often when discussing education and technology, the focus is on the students. But do teachers have the skills to use modern technology?

Two thirds of teachers struggling to use 3D printing, research suggests

While 3D printers are being implemented in schools to help with the curriculum, it seems educators may be struggling with the technology, Computer Weekly reports.

According to a survey by print management specialist Y Soft, nearly two thirds (65%) of educational establishments questioned said 3D printing technology was difficult for teachers to use. Meanwhile, the majority (87%) admitted limiting access to 3D printing technology.

When asked why the educational facilities limited the use of 3D printing, the reasons cited included inability to control access to 3D printing, educators being unable to manage 3D printing materials, lack of guidance on how 3D printing could support the classroom curriculum and cost.

One of the main reasons teachers said they had not used 3D printing was because they did not see how it could fit into their curriculum, with over a third of respondents claiming this to be the reason.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the main subject schools felt would best be supported by 3D printing was technology, mentioned by 70% of schools. Engineering came a close second.

Of those questioned, nearly a quarter (23%) of primary schools said they had introduced 3D printers, while over three quarters (77%) of educators said they intended to increase spending on 3D printers in the future.

Schools in England to be offered cyber security lessons

Cyber security lessons will be offered to schoolchildren in England in the hope of creating the next generation's leading experts to defend the UK from cyber-attacks.

BBC News reports that the plan, devised by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), will see 5,700 pupils aged 14 and over working on the subject for up to four hours a week in a five-year pilot.

The Public Accounts Committee warned that the UK's cyber defences were being undermined by the skills shortage, with the risk of criminals or foreign powers attempting to hack into critical UK computer systems now ranked as one of the top four threats to national security.

While the cyber security industry employs 58,000 experts, the committee warned that there are difficulties in hiring people with the right skills.

The DCMS will provide funding of £20m for the lessons, which will fit around pupils' current courses and exams.

Digital and Culture Minister Matt Hancock commented: "This forward-thinking programme will see thousands of the best and brightest young minds given the opportunity to learn cutting-edge cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies."

Smartphones increasingly being used as learning aids

A new report by the YMCA Awards that explored the escalation of technology in education found that nearly half of students are regularly using smartphones to assist in their studies.

The report also revealed that the majority (82%) of students want to have access to a mix of traditional offline resources and newer digital learning methods in their studies, Education Technology reports.

To support their learning, more than three quarters (78%) said they use websites, 70% use online quizzes, 62% use online videos and a quarter use online games.

But students don't want to be given big bits of content; instead, six in 10 learners would like to see small, bite-sized learning content of around five to 10 minutes, while 59% would like multimedia, such as video, audio and illustrations, to be included in this content.

Smartphones were cited as the most used devices in the daily lives of the students questioned, ahead of laptops and desktop computers, with three in five students picking the smartphone.

Director of the YMCA Awards, Rob May, said: "As our research shows, mobile phone usage to aid study is on the rise and this is only likely to increase in coming months and years.

"And, with over 80% of learners preferring a mix of learning methods, it makes sense for providers to begin to explore the possibility of offering some aspects of training through mobile technology."

Companies encouraging kids into STEM through partnership with CA Technologies

To encourage Year 9 children to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers, CA Technologies has partnered with technology employers, Computer Weekly reports.

Mars, GSK and Deutsche Bank volunteered employees as part of the CA Technologies Create Tomorrow initiative to help the company teach 150 students what careers in STEM entail.

The aim of the scheme is to address the IT skills gap throughout Europe by creating digital jobs and educating young people about STEM roles.

Head of the Create Tomorrow initiative and VP of communications at CA Technologies, Sarah Atkinson, told students that more companies are becoming increasingly "fuelled by software".

"Every business today really is becoming a software business – even road sweepers use software to track where they're headed," Atkinson added.

The companies held workshops for students to attend which used hands-on activities that were designed to show the practical and creative side of STEM jobs.

In its own session, CA Technologies taught students Python coding using the BBC Microbit.

Access governance heralded as pathway to education technology's future

In recent years, there has been an increasing implementation of access governance in schools, ITProPortal reports.

It might not be classroom technology but the solutions ensure students can access technology in the classroom as, without this technology infrastructure, students wouldn't be able to access basic information systems or even use school-provided devices.

Access governance enables school administrators to know who has access to what, when and where. It allows them to have a better management of student accounts and student access privileges for various systems and platforms throughout the school's environment.

With access governance, school don't need a full-time employee to create and edit student accounts before the start of each term or school year, as an automated account management module allows student information systems to be linked to all the applications and systems the institution uses.

Access governance solutions are an easily implemented and easy-to-use way of managing the school's user accounts and provides an easy way for new applications of technologies to be implemented and managed.

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