Monthly Archives: February 2011

Should schools be held accountable for student’s careers?

School’s to be held accountable for future careers.
Read the full article by clicking here

What your thoughts? Already schools collate their NEET figures but will this lead to ‘career tables’ for schools, another benchmark to be judged against?

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Twitter – the people’s voice?

“How Twitter has become the people’s voice on the eve of its fifth birthday.

Twitter is five next month. There are now 190 million people using the micro-blogging website, sending 65 million messages of 140 characters or fewer around the world each day. Knockers may still dismiss the service as silly but Twitter – or some form of it – looks set to be with us for some time to come. For its legion of fans Twitter is part of a social media revolution that is reordering the way the world communicates, shaking up politics, business and social life and even, some argue, fuelling and co-ordinating historic upheavals from Iran and Tunisia to Egypt. The revolution will be twitterised.

Last week the Californian business received another, more concrete, recognition of its status. Google and Facebook are reportedly courting Twitter. The price tag for this still loss-making venture is put at $10bn (£6.24bn). Just two months ago Twitter was valued at $3.7bn after raising $200m in new financing. In the meantime investors have gone mad for all things social media and Twitter has become one of the hottest properties on the block.”

To read the article by Dominic Rushe in full click here

Our View

I have been tweeting since February last year and I have got to say initially I was sceptical about how Twitter would impact on my life both personally and professionally. I have to confess that I have been pleasantly surprised…. I have contacted with nearly 400 people who have contributed to my PLN (Personal Learning Network) & professional development at some point over the last year. I have been informed about new products, resources and ideas which have all impacted on my ability to do my job professionally. I have also shared ideas, experiences and asked for help on a number of issues, as well as contributing to discussions and providing a ‘sounding board’ where possible.I have been constantly surprised about how willing people have been to volunteer support, answers and suggestions to me, a complete stranger.

I believe that this is why Twitter has been so successful – you can ‘dip in and out’ to the constant flow of ideas and no-one is upset if you choose not to ‘follow’ someone for a while. The use of #tags is important as it gives you the opportunity to follow tweets on a specific topic / product. Whilst other social network sites also offer great networking opportunities, they just don’t measure up to Twitter for me. If you’re not on Twitter – then why not? There are a host of free packs on how to get started on Twitter by companies such as @smarta, @CreativeEdu and others if you’re unsure where to begin.

If you have been tweeting let us know your thoughts below using the comments box – we look forward to hearing from you.

Your Valentine’s Day recipes

With Valentine’s Day looming what are your favourite recipes guaranteed to make your loved ones smile? My husband loves the first meal I ever cooked for him – pasta carbonara with a broccoli & green bean twist, I guess there’s no accounting for taste eh?

Some other suggestions for you…
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/feb/09/valentines-day-gift-recipes

Post your suggestions using the ‘comments box’ below.

Without geography, the world would be a mystery to us

“Geography is the subject that contributes more than any other to young people’s knowledge of the world, writes David Lambert.

The Duke of York might have boasted to an audience of businessmen in Kyrgyzstan that the UK has “the best geography teachers in the world” – but Ofsted isn’t so sure.

In the end, geography isn’t just about reciting a list of capital cities – although that can be an impressive party trick. It is the subject that contributes more than any other to young people’s knowledge of the world, their understanding of the relationships between people and places, and their ability and propensity to think critically and creatively about the ways in which we affect the planet we live on.”

To read The Telegraph article in full, click here

Our View

Geography lessons are not always taught by specialists and this appears to be a key issue, my geography lessons at school were brought to life by an experienced, knowledgeable teacher who had travelled the world. Not all students are so fortunate, so the ‘geography experience’ for the student can be variable.

One way to overcome the issue of non-specialist teaching staff is by introducing a project-based curriculum based on PLTS competencies. The introduction of courses such as the RSA Opening Minds curriculum integrates subjects such as geography and history into mini-projects. It is believed that “a competence based approach enables students not just to acquire subject knowledge but to understand, use and apply it within the context of their wider learning and life. It also offers students a more holistic and coherent way of learning which allows them to make connections and apply knowledge across different subject areas.

Click here to find out more about RSA Opening Minds

What are your experiences? Has your school introduced an ‘Integrated Learning’ curriculum – what has been the impact on students’ learning?

Decision to allow iPads in the Lords puts peers ahead of judges

“The House of Lords’ decision to allow iPads and similar devices in the chamber is an acknowledgement that even our oldest institutions cannot ignore mobile internet technologies.

Though aimless web browsing will remain banned, peers will be able to access official documents, and anything else available online that is closely related to the matter under debate. Existing legislation, think tank papers, newspaper reports, parliamentary research and emails from the public would all satisfy the new regime.

Separately, the Supreme Court has announced today that it will allow discreet tweeting from the public gallery.”

To read the article in The Telegraph in full click here

Our View

It’s interesting to see that new technology is accessed by all, however how will the ‘aimless web browsing’ ban be enforced?  – I’d be interested to see especially in light of the fact that sometimes they are unable to keep the ‘Lords’ awake during sessions!!

What is your view? Do you  think tweets from the gallery is a move forward in keeping up with news?

Pupils confused by ‘preferred’ A-levels

“Pupils as young as 16 are worried that the A-level subjects they choose may harm their chances of a university place later on. Why is there no clear information for them?

With record demand for undergraduate courses, universities have tightened their admissions policies. Some have started disregarding subjects such as general studies, while others publish lists of “preferred” or “less preferred” A-levels. Year 11s who are intending to apply to university need to research qualification requirements now – but there are growing complaints that the information they need isn’t easily available.

“It’s hard to know exactly what universities want from us,” says Amanda, who wants to study journalism or languages. “I tried to research what A-levels would give me the best chances of getting on to those courses, but it wasn’t easy to find. I spent ages on the websites of Cambridge, Oxford, Leeds, Liverpool and Bristol. Cambridge was the clearest, but on many of the others I just found lots of links, with the information all over the place, or not there at all. Because there was often no clear list, I ended up looking up lots of individual courses, even though I’m not yet sure exactly what I’d like to do.” “

Click here to read the article by Lucy Tobin in full

 

Our View

Never has IAG  (Information, Advice & Guidance) been so important to students. It is essential that students receive accurate information about career paths and the relevant qualifications required from staff in schools & colleges. In addition, it is important that universities are ‘open and honest’ about their criteria for entry – in order to give all students a chance to succeed.

What are your experiences? Do you think staff are given appropriate training to ensure that the IAG they provide is accurate? We’re interested in your views so post your comments using the box below.