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Posts Tagged ‘education’

Post-Primary Schools nationwide to receive High-Speed Broadband

Friday, June 26th, 2009

A 100mpbs Post Primary Schools Project which will deliver high-speed broadband connectivity to second level schools across the country has been launched by  Communications Minister Eamon Ryan TD.  The project is the result of cooperation between the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Department of Education and Science, the National Centre for Technology in Education, HEAnet, and the  Higher Education Authority. The first seventy-eight schools taking part in the Project were announced at the launch in the Digital Hub Learning Studio.

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Under the existing Schools Broadband Programme, primary and post-primary schools in Ireland can access a basic level of broadband connectivity. The 100mpbs Post Primary Schools Project marks the next phase in the Government’s ambition to develop our schools as world-class centres of e-learning and to educate the next generation of knowledge workers and digital entrepreneurs.

Launching the new Programme, Minister Ryan said, “We must equip our students with the skills and creativity they need to thrive in the new digital world we are entering. There is no surer way of preparing them than by bringing the Internet right into their place of learning and allowing them to experiment and interact online. Today’s announcement opens a door to them, to take part in Ireland’s digital future.”

This programme will provide world class infrastructure to enable our teachers and students access and exploit media rich online digital content and collaborate with colleagues on a world wide basis.  Schools will now be able to enrich and enliven their teaching and learning across all subjects on the post-primary curricula via these digital tools and online resources.

Schools have been selected against multiple criteria including geographical location, and an adequate mix of schools to ensure broad social inclusion. The speeds available are similar to those that are being offered to high-end national and multinational companies that operate in Ireland. They allow for the quick upload and download of material, instant connection to websites, and the increased and varied use of online applications.

The NCTE will  work with the 78 school to ensure the full benefits of this high speed broadband connection is availed of for learning and teaching. The NCTE will provide a range of support services including e-learning planning, continuing professional development, Scoilnet, online digital content, and technical advice and guidelines.

The Schools which will initially receive 100mpbs Broadband connections are:

Carlow Vocational School Kilkenny Road Carlow Carlow
St. Leo’s College Convent Of Mercy Dublin Road Carlow
St Caimin’s Community School Tullyvarraga Shannon Clare
St Flannan’s College Ennis Co Clare Clare
Cork College Of Commerce Morrison’s Island Cork Cork
Coláiste Choilm Ballincollig Co. Cork Cork
Christ King Girls’ Secondary School Half Moon Lane South Douglas Road Cork
Carrigaline Community School Waterpark Road Carrigaline Cork
Loreto Convent Letterkenny Co Donegal Donegal
Carndonagh Community School Carndonagh Lifford Donegal
St Eunan’s College Letterkenny Co Donegal Donegal
St Columbas College Stranorlar Co. Donegal Donegal
Loreto Community School Milford Co Donegal Donegal
Pobalscoil Chloich Cheannfhaola An Fálcarrach Leitir Ceanainn Donegal
Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada An Leadhbgarbh Árainn Mhór Donegal
Coláiste Phobail Cholmcille Baile Úr Oileán Thoraí Donegal
Ballyfermot College of Further Education Ballyfermot Road Dublin 10 Dublin
Malahide Community School Broomfield Malahide Dublin
Loreto Secondary School Balbriggan Co Dublin Dublin
Castleknock Community College Carpenterstown Road Castleknock Dublin
Scoil Phobail Chuil Mhin Cluain Saileach Baile Atha Cliath 15 Dublin
Hartstown Community School Hartstown Dublin 15 Dublin
St Dominics College Cabra Dublin 7 Dublin
Mount Temple Comprehensive School Malahide Road Dublin 3 Dublin
St Josephs College Lucan Co Dublin Dublin
Coláiste Bríde New Road Clondalkin Dublin
St Mac Dara’s Community College Wellington Lane Templeogue Dublin
St Marks Community School Cookstown Rd Tallaght Dublin
St Benildus College Upper Kilmacud Rd Stillorgan Dublin
St Aidan’s Community School Brookfield Tallaght Dublin
Collinstown Park Community College Neilstown Rd. Rowlagh Dublin
St Pauls Secondary School Greenhills Dublin 12 Dublin
Rosmini Community School Grace Park Road Drumcondra Dublin
Presentation College Warrenmount Dublin 8 Dublin
St. Colmcille’s Community School Scholarstown Rd Knocklyon Dublin
St Joseph’s College Nun’s Island Galway Galway
Gort Community School Gort Co. Galway Galway
Presentation College Headford Co. Galway Galway
Calasanctius College Oranmore Co Galway Galway
Gairmscoil Éinne Oileain Arann Cill Rónain Inis Mór Galway
Coláiste Ghobnait Inis Oírr Oileáin Arann Galway
Coláiste Naomh Mhuire Convent Of Mercy Sallins Rd. Kildare
Salesian College Celbridge Co. Kildare Kildare
Maynooth Post Primary School Moyglare Rd Maynooth Kildare
St Kieran’s College Secondary School College Rd Kilkenny
Coláiste Íosagáin Portarlington Co. Laois Laoighis
Community School Carrick-On-Shannon Leitrim Leitrim
Castletroy College Newtown Castletroy Limerick
Crescent College Comprehensive Dooradoyle Rd Dooradoyle Limerick
Colaiste Chiarain Croom Co. Limerick Limerick
Presentation Secondary School Sexton Street Limerick Limerick
Mercy Secondary School Ballymahon Co Longford Longford
St Oliver’s Community College Drogheda Co. Louth Louth
Ó Fiaich College Dublin Road Dundalk Louth
St Vincent’s Secondary School Seatown Place Dundalk Louth
St Mary’s Diocesan School Beamore Road Drogheda Louth
St Louis Community School Kiltimagh Co Mayo Mayo
Davitt College Springfield Castlebar Mayo
St Peter’s College Dunboyne Co. Meath Meath
Community College Dunshaughlin Dunshaughlin Co Meath Meath
Beech Hill College Monaghan Co. Monaghan Monaghan
Killina Presentation Secondary School Rahan Tullamore Offaly
St Nathy’s College Ballaghaderreen Co Roscommon Roscommon
Summerhill College Sligo Co. Sligo Sligo
Cashel Community School Dualla Road Cashel Tipperary
St Paul’s Community College Browne’s Road Waterford City Waterford
St Angela’s Ursuline Convent Waterford Waterford
St Declan’s Community College Kilmacthomas Co Waterford Waterford
Moate Community School Church Street Moate Westmeath
Athlone Community College Retreat Road Athlone Westmeath
Our Lady’s Bower Retreat Rd. Athlone Westmeath
Good Counsel College New Ross Co Wexford Wexford
Mary Ward Railway Road Gorey Wexford
Vocational College Enniscorthy Co Wexford Wexford
Loreto Secondary School Vevay Rd Bray Wicklow

UK Universities plan to become world leaders in on-line distance learning

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

A new task force to ensure our universities become the first choice across the world for on-line distance learning was announced yesterday by Higher Education Minister, David Lammy.

The task force chaired by Lynne Brindley, the Chief Executive of the British Library will advise on a wider strategy to build on our past and present successes and ensure we do not lose pace on increased demand in expanding and new markets.

It will be backed by a new Open Learning Innovation Fund aimed at helping universities build on their existing world class reputations to access and engage future markets that are expected to value around £15bn in the future.

This is a competitive match funding initiative, with up to £10m from HEFCE and therefore worth up to £20m in total, aims to encourage universities to work collaboratively with each other and the private and third sectors, to bid for money to develop projects to help transform the way people can get a degree.

David Lammy said;
“Advances such as 3G, webcasts and web 2.0, will allow UK universities to reach out to communities as far flung as Africa and Hong Kong and to deliver high quality, student-centred higher education across the globe.

“The use of mobile technologies such as PDAs and MP3 players means this can be done at a time and place that is convenient for the student wherever they are in the world.

“This Open Learning Innovation Fund will help institutions develop new initiatives and exploit new opportunities to ensure we remain at the forefront of online distance learning as the international market develops.

“I am particularly pleased that Lynne Brindley, Steve Beswick from Microsoft and Martin Bean have agreed to be part of the task force that will guide the way as this important work is taken forward.”

Dame Lynne Brindley, CEO British Library said:
“I am delighted to have been asked to chair the Task Force, and to consider the many opportunities for UK higher education to excel in online learning and meet the changing demands of students. The British Library is itself committed to innovative, high quality digital services, including public and commercial partnerships, and I look forward to making recommendations for action to stimulate growth in this important area.”

The Taskforce will include senior representatives from Microsoft [and Apple], who will join Martin Bean, the next Vice Chancellor of the Open University, the British Council, HEFCE, JISC and Universities UK. The BBC has agreed to advise the task force as and when appropriate.

The Online Learning Innovation Fund, established by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), could help groups of institutions to pursue new business opportunities and promote online learning including using open resources funded as part of the e-learning programme. Universities will also be able to develop greater expertise in on-line teaching and create centres of excellence for the delivery of online learning.

The wider strategy will broadly;
> Develop new plans for international marketing of on-line distance UK HE;
> Continue to promote the development of e-learning across the breadth of HE;
> Work to increase the quantity of learning resources freely available for all institutions to use; and
> Continue to develop the role of the Open University (OU) as a national resource, so that all universities can benefit from the OU’s specialist expertise, developed through public funding.

HEFCE will develop the Open Learning Innovation Fund in the light of the task force’s advice and then consult the sector on the practical details.

Britain is a world leader in distance learning currently attracting more than 100,000 students from around the globe and earning the sector some £200m in fees.

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

Learn Skills expands into Retail and Hospitality training with Didasko partnership

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

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23/01/2009 – Ireland – Learn Skills is delighted to annouce it’s latest partnership with Didasko, the Australia innovative learning solutions provider of engaging interactive multimedia resources.  For 11 years, Didasko has been a leading developer of high quality Learner and Trainer resources for the vocational, education and training industry.
They specialise in the service sectors of Hospitality, Retail and Asset Maintenance and their comprehensive resources and systems for the training provider, teachers and students delivers superior learning, operational and marketing outcomes.  Didasko Learning Resources currently provides resources to leading international universities, domestic and international colleges, training organisations, hospitality and retail groups, corporate sector and secondary schools with vocational programs.

Learn Skills shall spearhead Didasko’s expansions plans into Europe focused on both Retails and Hospitality Unit.  This comprehensive range of courses shall be made available both on-line and also when required in CD-Rom format.  With over 100 on-line courses each supported by both a Learner Guide and Training Delivery Guide to deliver the first complete solution for Retail and Hospitality education and training in Europe. These comprehensive resources and systems for training providers, teachers and students deliver superior learning outcomes and improved operational and marketing effectiveness.

For Education and Training providers:
• The full package – from curriculum to delivery and assessment
• Tailored ordering and packaging for each student
• Low flat rate / unit
• Customised branding of the materials
• Distribution options – CD-ROM, PDF, USB, on-line
• Easy online ordering 24/7
• Just in Time delivery – all orders despatched within 48 hours

For Teachers and Trainers:

• Comprehensive tools support teacher compliance and learner
management :
(Training and Assessment plans, Learner contact logs, Competency
Assessment Matrix, Employability Self Assessment, Skills Demonstration
Training record)
• Use of multiple “adult learning” principles
• Greater focus on delivery and student centric

For Students:

• Tailored customised packaging of learner units
• Engaging interactive multimedia (text, graphics, animation, sound,
video and self assessments)
• Underpinning knowledge is gained
• Extensive glossaries and recipe files within the units
• Self evaluation worksheets
• Supports all student learning categories – ESL or learning difficulties

Parents & teachers to receive practical support to get children learning online

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Teachers and parents across the country will be able to request support and training on how to help school aged children access the internet at home for learning, from a new foundation to be set up by Becta. The foundation will provide a vehicle for all interested organisations to demonstrate their commitment and support to this initiative.

Becta, the education technology agency, will work closely with industry and other interested parties to create an independent foundation, which will administer and distribute industry funds in support of the government’s Home Access programme. The idea was proposed by Microsoft in response to the government announcement made in September 2008 and the foundation is open to other organisations who wish to get involved.

The Home Access programme, which will be piloted in Oldham and Suffolk from February, will work to ensure every child has access to a home computer and the internet for their school or college work. The pilot aims to ensure every 7- to 18- year-old in full time state-maintained education has access to the internet at home.

The Home Access programme forms part of Becta’s Next Generation Learning campaign, which promotes the best use of technology in learning.

The new foundation is expected to be launched later this year, to coincide with the national rollout of the Home Access programme. It will be charged, on behalf of the government, with supporting local training of teachers and parents, including raising awareness of the importance of home access and how to overcome barriers in the community. The independent foundation will be overseen by Becta and other organisations are being encouraged to join Microsoft in providing support for the foundation.

Stephen Crowne, Chief Executive of Becta, said:
“We need to ensure that every learner has an equal chance to tap into the benefits of the internet to enhance their learning – and the Home Access programme seeks to do just that, by offering this opportunity to all learners.

“Getting parents and teachers on board is clearly vital to the success of the programme, so we are really excited about this opportunity to support them, in partnership with the industry. I welcome the leadership Microsoft has shown and am now calling for more leading companies to join us in the drive to support parents and teachers.”

Steve Beswick, Director of Education, Microsoft, commented:
“We believe that all children should have access to the learning tools they need in order to realise their full potential. As part of a global programme, we have created an investment fund to support activities that will help ensure the home access programme has maximum impact. Our goal is now to support Becta in setting up the foundation and encourage others across the industry to get involved.”

In early 2009 a pilot begins in two local authorities, focusing on learners aged 7-18. Low income families may be eligible for support towards the purchase of an approved package consisting of a device, connectivity and support.

World’s education community gathers to drive improved use of technology in learning

Monday, January 12th, 2009

The Learning and Technology World Forum (LATWF), a major international conference on technology in learning, opened today, Monday January 12th, in central London with a call for greater co-operation between countries to ensure technology is benefiting learners world-wide.

The Forum is designed to assist educational policymakers and leaders from all over the world in the development of strategies and policies that will enable technology to be used more effectively and efficiently in education.

The Forum has attracted over 500 participants – representing over two thirds of the world’s population – who are actively engaged in policy development and implementation of technology in learning, and over the three day period will be the largest gathering of its type in the world. At the event, UK Schools Minister, Jim Knight will welcome ministers, policymakers and practitioners from over 60 countries.

The event is hosted by Becta, the UK government agency driving the effective use of technology within learning. Describing the Forum, Stephen Crowne, Becta’s Chief Executive said: “The Learning and Technology World Forum provides a rare opportunity not just to debate the policy and application of technology in learning, but also to signal that the education community, individuals, commerce and the world at large all stand to benefit from its effective application”.

“The UK has long championed the development of better and more effective use of technology in education. Greater international co-operation will stimulate new ideas and opportunities for us all to learn from each other concerning our own respective national experiences, which ultimately will transform policy into practice and provide real benefits to educators, learners and governments everywhere.”

The event will include addresses by a number of high profile speakers, such as Andreas Schleicher, Head of Indicators and Analysis at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, and Richard DeLorenzo, who is renowned for his work in education reform in the USA.

Participants will also have the opportunity to attend workshop sessions which showcase innovative practice and new research. Some examples of the workshops include: “using effective online learning to deliver large scale skills improvement”, “transformation needed – trends in ICT and global economic trends”, and “assessing 21st Century skills, national efforts and issues.”

In addition, participants will be able to elaborate on their participation both during and post the event through engagement with a dedicated online collaboration website which has been designed in conjunction with GetIdeas.org specifically to assist participants in their information exchanges with other participants during and after the event.

LATWF builds on last year’s international seminar “Moving Young Minds”, at which UNESCO launched the international ICT competency standards for teachers. The event is being run in partnership with BESA (British Educational Suppliers Association) and the British Council. It takes place between 12 and 14 January 2009 at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, and it is designed to link with BETT, the educational technology show at Olympia (14-17 January). It is being run in partnership with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), and it has support from major sponsors such as Cisco, Intel and Microsoft.

The Learning and Technology World Forum is a global platform for information exchange among key policy makers and practitioners whose primary areas of focus involve the design of policy and implementation of programmes to ensure effective application of technology within education. For 2009, the event theme is “Next Generation Learning” with three sub themes covering 21st century skills, 21st century leadership and an education workforce for the 21st century.

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

Hospitality and tourism training update from the UK

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

24th October, 2008 – UK – A short-life task group has been set up by Ministers to review qualifications within the hospitality and tourism sector and ensure these are relevant and responsive to the changing needs of the industry in these tough economic times.

The group will also examine a recommendation from the Parliament’s Economy, Enterprise and Tourism Committee that education, skills and training in these sectors should be rationalised, with resources prioritised to support an industry-backed system.

The group, which will include representatives from the industry, national education and skills bodies, and college and university sectors, will help inform Ministers on what action may be required. Its remit will be to:

* Identify what hospitality and tourism qualifications are available and advise Scottish Ministers on what is required to make them more relevant and responsive to employer needs during these uncertain times
* Establish how many and what type of hotel school developments are currently under consideration in Scotland and advise on how these can support the industry’s needs
* Summarise, for the industry, the roles of the respective public bodies in relation to qualifications development, validation and funding

Minister for Schools and Skills, Maureen Watt, said:

“Tourism is a key sector in Scotland and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring the right conditions exist to enable it to flourish, particularly in these tough economic times.

“Ensuring that those within the industry and those seeking to join it in the future, have access to the right skills and training is an essential part of that – both for employees and employers.

“The task group will help us ensure that resources are targeted towards skills and training that best meets the industry’s requirements and that training is also sufficiently flexible to adapt to those changes needs.”

Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, Jim Mather, said:

“Scotland has a fantastic tourism product. From our wonderful scenery, to our compelling history, diverse culture, and friendly people, we have so much to offer the world.

“But if we are to continue to compete in one of the world’s most competitive markets, we need to ensure that we have a new generation of well trained young talent who can take Scotland’s reputation to the next level in years to come.

“It is their Scottish hospitality, their standards of service and their skills which will set our great country apart. This new group will ensure that those standards continue to rise, leading to a highly responsive Scottish tourism industry which will be the envy of countries across the world.”

The creation of the task group will help the industry ensure that people have access to the right skills and training to ensure it gets through these difficult economic times. It will also enable Ministers to respond to a recommendation from the Economy, Enterprise and Tourism Committee’s report – Growing Pains – can we achieve a 50 per cent growth in tourist revenue by 2015?

While the Scottish Government agreed with the majority of the recommendations, Ministers wanted to further investigate issues raised in recommendation 246, which said the Tourism Minister should work with his colleagues and key agencies to declutter and rationalise the provision of education, skills and training in the sector and reprioritise the resources towards a system that is demand-led and enjoys the support of the industry and which offers a smaller number of industry and government approved courses delivered by a limited number of centres with geographical spread.

Full membership of the group, which will meet twice and is expected to report by mid-December, includes:

* Iain Herbert, Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Forum. Iain has also worked with several premier Scottish tourism agencies, including the Scottish Whisky Heritage Centre as general manager and as manager for the Royal Yacht Britannia. He is also a former head of visitor operations for the National Museums of Scotland.
* Peter Lederer CBE, Chairman of VisitScotland and Chairman of Gleneagles Hotel Limited. He is also a Trustee of the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland and the Tourism & Hospitality Education Trust.
* David Allen, People 1st. Prior to joining People 1st in September 2007, David spent more than 16 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, in the UK and in Europe. This included working for the Marriot Group and setting up and running a multi million pound conference centre in Fife. He is a member of the Institute of Hospitality and plays an active role in supporting industry led skills and education forums including the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) Skills forum.
* Mandy Exley, Principal, Perth College. Mandy moved to Scotland in 2000 and bought at small hotel on the shores of Loch Tay. In addition to her post in the college, she is a director of the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, and the Scottish Tourism Forum.
* Mary Nasmyth, Scottish Training Federation
* Professor David Kirk, Vice Principal, Queen Margaret University
* John Kemp, Deputy Director of Strategic Development, Scottish Funding Council
* Chris Taylor, Highlands & Islands Enterprise
* Eddie Brogan, Tourism Director, Scottish Enterprise
* Joe Wilson, Head of New Ventures, Scottish Qualifications Authority
* Darah Zahran, Skills Development Scotland
* Eric Milligan, Skills Development Scotland

Source: Scottish Government News

Online skills reduce student drop-out rate in South Africa

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

South Africa- 4th June, 2008 – South Africa’s drop-out rate from tertiary institutions is alarmingly high, with almost 50% of all students entering the tertiary education system not completing their studies. This costs the country billions in cash.

One reason cited by an HSRC study is that students are not equipped with the correct study tools in order to cope with the academic work load in the first years of their degrees.  An online study skills programme, designed to meet the needs of South African students, is one way to equip students with the tools needed to cope with a demanding study regime.
Named Masifunde, after the isiXhosa phrase “let us learn”, the study skills programme is a response to the challenges that students face in South Africa, such as the lack of study know-how due to deficient preparation at high school level and high pressure to get a job whilst studying at the same time. In fact the HSRC Student Pathways Study, conducted from 2002-2004, found that “many of those who dropped out had worked to augment their meagre financial resources, no doubt adding to their stress levels”.
Using a study skills programme developed by the Oxford University Department for Continued Education as a base for the South African version, TSiBA and Oxford University worked together to form Masifunde.   Tristram Wyatt of Oxford University has been involved in the development process for the programme in South Africa. “The programme is locally adaptable, concentrating on not-for-profit organisations to use with their students,” he says.  “It’s aim is to arm students with coping tools like good study skills in order to alleviate some of the challenges they are faced with in the quest to qualify with a tertiary education.”
Oxford University and TSiBA Education, a non-profit, free-to-student university were a perfect match to launch this project.  “TSiBA’s strong ethos of helping others fitted well with our own intention of reaching out and helping students,” adds Wyatt.  Like any university, TSiBA struggles to retain students because of the socio-economic circumstances in the country and therefore understands the importance of developing a course that will help its students to cope with the workload.
“By offering this course free to other institutions to use with their students, TSiBA’s philosophy of, `pay it forward’ is mirrored well in this programme” says Leigh Meinert., MD of TSiBA.  “We have been brainstorming a suitable structure for the programme since last year to ensure that it is accessible. By bringing in our own students to tell us what it is they need to get out of the study skills programme, we have been able to set a realistic programme that answers the needs of the students,” says Meinert.

Source: IT-Online

Becta says Learning with technology gets the right results

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Becta, the education technology agency, is urging schools to improve the way they use technology to support learning, as evidence continues to build around the positive impact on GCSE results and grades.

Research reveals that schools that embrace technology see a significant improvement in GCSE results compared with those that do not. Key findings from six years of research by Becta include:

* school ‘e-maturity’ – where technology is integrated across the curriculum and wider school life – is statistically linked to lower absence rates and higher points and percentage A*-C grades at GCSE

* in GCSE science, the average gain from ICT use is 0.56 of a grade (in 2002, 52,484 pupils moved from grade D to C as a result of using technology in their learning)

* schools making good use of broadband and connectivity demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in the percentage of pupils gaining 5+ A-Cs at GCSE in the year after broadband introduction

* a study of young people’s ICT use in the home showed a significant positive association between pupils’ home use of ICT for educational purposes and improved attainment in national tests for maths and English GCSE

* the introduction of interactive whiteboards results in pupils’ performance in national tests in English (particularly for low-achieving pupils and for writing), maths and science, improving more than that of pupils in schools without interactive whiteboards.

Stephen Crowne, Chief Executive of Becta said:
“The evidence is clear; when schools use technology effectively, it can have a direct impact on pupil attainment and results. As pupils across the country find out their GCSE results, schools need to think about whether grades could be improved even further by better use of technology. We know that currently only 20 per cent of schools are using technology effectively right across the curriculum, which means there is real potential out there to improve results and raise grades if schools take full advantage of the benefits technology can bring.

“Schools should make the most of the Internet, mobile phones, interactive whiteboards, school radio stations, blogs, podcasts and video conferencing, helping to create a stimulating and engaging environment for their students.”

It’s not just pupils that see the benefits of better use of technology. The majority of teachers feel that technology in the classroom has a positive impact on the engagement, motivation and achievement of their learners. Technology also has the potential to provide parents with more timely information about their children’s work and progress, for example via secure on-line access, so they can in turn support their children.

The research cited in this PublicTechnology.Net press release comes from the following evaluations and research studies on the impact of ICT use in schools:

* Butt, S and Cebulla, A (2006), E-maturity and school performance – A secondary analysis of COL evaluation data. London: National Centre for Social Research

* Harrison, C et al (2002), ImpaCT2: The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Pupils Learning and Attainment. ICT in Schools Research and Evaluation Series No.7

* Somekh, B et al (2007), Evaluation of the Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion Project

* Underwood, J et al. (2005), The Impact of Broadband in Schools.

* Valentine, G, Marsh, J and Pattie, C (2005), Children and Young Peoples Home Use of ICT for Educational Purposes: The impact on attainment at key stages 1-4, DfES

“This research highlight the need to embrace technology in Education and also training to enhance performance and training outcomes”, said Sean Griffin, Co-Founder of Learn Skills, the web-based skills and compliance training company.

National Skills Strategy – Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism sector in England

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

In March 2007, the then Minister for Tourism, Shaun Woodward MP launched the National Skills Strategy (NSS) for the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector in England.

The strategy called ‘raising the bar’ set out a Ten Point Plan to raise the skill levels of the sector’s current and future workforce. As the title suggests it also alluded to the massive opportunity that hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games presents for the sector.

Hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism is a large, exciting, diverse and dynamic sector. It has a global reputation for quality and innovation which are richly deserved. However, the sector could be achieving much more if employers were able to recruit the right people with the right skills and that they could hold on to a highly skilled workforce. This is what the strategy aims to achieve. There are no easy answers, but what the ten point plan presents is a clear strategy to tackle existing challenges and raise the skills and performance of the sector.

Hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism is a large and growing sector currently employing nearly 1.4m people in England. The sector is made up of 14 industries; these vary in size with the largest industry – restaurants employing over 430,000 people and the smallest – youth hostels just over 1,600. England accounts for 83% of all sector employment across the UK.

There are approximately 155,958 individual hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism establishments in England of which a third are pubs, bars and nightclubs and an additional third are restaurants. Small and micro businesses are predominant with 76% of establishments employing fewer than 10 people. However, in terms of the workforce the industry is highly polarised. For example, in hospitality 45% of employees work for 280 employers and another 45% are employed in small and micro businesses.

The sector is hugely important for the economy. In 2005, it accounted for 3.5% of the UK economy and was worth approximately £85bn. In 2005 the UK ranked fifth in the international tourism earnings league behind the USA, Spain, France and Italy.

Sector performance is being undermined by a poor skills record:

  • 54% of managers do not possess the minimum level of qualification required for their position
  • 63% of employers believe their staff’s customer service skills are not sufficient to meet their needs
  • 40% of chefs do not possess a qualification at level 2, the minimum required to prepare and cook from scratch
  • High labour turnover is resulting in a chronic recruitment crisis with 70 percent of recruitment being undertaken to replace existing staff
  • Conservative estimates suggest that we are annually losing 590,640 people or 30% of the workforce
  • This costs the sector £886m a year
  • By 2012, the sector would have lost 4.1m people costing the sector £6.2bn.

Learn Skills has sellected the Hospitality Sector as one it will focus on to deliver quality web-based training in order to upskill and improve retention rates among staff.  As in Ireland, the Hospitality sector is essential to the success of the economy as a whole and web-based training can delivery increased value and consistency of delivery to both employees and management with the Hospitality sector.

Skills Challenge Facing The Irish Economy

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Ireland – 15th May, 2008 – The skills challenge facing the Irish economy was the subject of a major seminar organised jointly by the National College of Ireland (NCI) and the National Centre for Partnership and Performance (NCPP), and held in Dublin on May 15.

The ‘Learning at Work’ seminar was chaired by NCPP director Lucy Fallon-Byrne and was addressed by Minister for Lifelong Learning Seán Haughey, Leo Casey of the Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching and Prof Chip Bruce, National College of Ireland.

Four national initiatives, designed to promote and encourage learning at work, were showcased also at the seminar, providing the 100-plus delegates with real-life examples of innovative responses to the future skills challenge.

Among the issues discussed at the seminar were:

  • The role of workplace learning in driving and growing the Irish economy;
  • The opportunities for, and obstacles to, workplace learning that exist in Ireland today;
  • Effective ways of engaging employers and employees to ensure Ireland is equipped for the future skills challenge.

National College of Ireland president Paul Mooney said the message was simple:

“For Ireland Inc. to succeed, the barriers to workplace learning must be identified and systematically removed. To survive and prosper in a tougher global environment, we need to collectively up our game to out-think the competition.

“The highest performing companies of the future are the ones that are becoming engaged in workplace learning initiatives today. The time is now and there is zero room for complacency on this. The future is decided by those who sense change and actually start to do something to respond to this. For everyone else, the time bomb is ticking.”

A new DVD was launched by Minister Haughey. Produced by NCPP, the DVD profiles the practical experiences of five Irish public and private-sector organisations that have recognised and embraced workplace learning as an enabler of change. Their stories illustrate the value of promoting human talent and creativity in the workplace, and make a powerful business case for lifelong learning and workplace training and development.  Upskilling is now a necessity.

Copies of the DVD are available (free of charge) on request from the National Centre for Partnership and Performance.  Simply drop an email to Conor (conor@ncpp.ie) with your contact details, and he’ll post them out to you as soon as possible.

Source: Education MATTERS