EdTech Trends: Smartphone Feedback for Homework

The Learnovation EdTech summit took place last week in Croke Park, giving visitors the chance to hear about the biggest upcoming EdTech trends from some of the most knowledgeable people in the EdTech world.

Perhaps one of the more interesting trends we heard about was how a school in England is now using voice feedback to mark homework.

Abdul Chohan, a speaker at Learnovation and the co-founder of The Olive School in Bolton, England, told attendees how children from the age of five up take photos of their homework, which is directly uploaded to teachers’ mobile devices and smartphones.

Teachers can then select specific parts of the homework and leave voice feedback all through the use of a mobile device.

Mr Chohan noted that this innovative method for marking homework significantly reduces the amount of time teachers spend on this aspect of school life, and also improves the quality of the feedback to the benefit of students and teachers alike.

In addition, Mr Chohan noted that by communicating via voice feedback, it helps to build a personal relationship between students, parents and teachers.

It’s an interesting take on an fundamental element of education, and one that is very likely to see increased adoption in schools all around the world over the coming years.

5 Tips For Keeping School Websites Safe

Cybercrime is on the rise around the world and with so many different forms of data and data collection now in use, there’s never been a greater need for robust security when it comes to school websites.

While modern cybercrime techniques employ innovative methods for gaining access to private information, it is possible to protect personal data by following a few simple steps.

1. Encrypt all devices

It’s extremely important to encrypt the central device used by the school to store data about students, parents, teachers and admin. It also recommended that any device used by staff remains encrypted at all times to prevent unathorised access.

2. Perform regular backups

Ransomware attacks involve an outside party taking control of your device and preventing you from accessing data on it. By backing up the school’s data on a regular basis, you’ll reduce the likelihood of losing all data in the event of an attack.

3. Create awareness

It’s advisable to not only spread awareness of good technology habits and the threat of cybercrime among staff, but also students. More and more schools are introducing technology into their lessons, so it’s vital that students understand how to stay safe when using the internet.

4. Secure email with multi-step verficiation

Most email providers offer multi-step verification, and it’s a good idea to use it whenever possible. It makes it harder for criminals to access email accounts if they obtain your password, as they will need to input a unique code sent to a personal device of your choosing, such as a smartphone.

5. Update software when available

Out of date software is more vulnerable to exploitation, so remember to update software whenever a new version is made available. Most programs will alert you when a new update is ready for download so all you have to do is click.

iClassCMS features the latest security measures against all forms of cybercrime. To learn more, or request a free website review, please get in touch here.

GDPR And Your School

Boost School SEO

When the General Data Protection Regulation launched on May 25th of this year, many school’s were unsure of how the new rules would impact their websites.

One of the biggest changes of the new framework was the need for consent when it comes to collecting and publishing sensitive data.

Sensitive data in this case refers to the data of all students, staff and parents, and as a result it’s essential that your school website both explains how personal data is processed and asks for permission to store such data.

It’s vital that consent is given clearly and explicitly before any personal data is processed, and parental consent must be given for the school to process the data of any child under the age of 18.

Failure to follow the rules as set out in the General Data Protection Regulation can result in large fines so it’s essential that everyone who has access to the website back end understands the new laws.

iClassCMS school websites are GDPR compliant and in line with all current data laws.

For more information, please get in touch with us today.

Is Your School’s Website Responsive?

Responsive design is essential for any website that wants to succeed in this day and age, including school and education websites.

Responsive design offers a number of practical benefits in regards to generating website views and lowering website maintenance costs, and should be used by all schools regardless of their size or education level.

1. Mobile Users

The biggest benefit of responsive websites is the increase in mobile traffic you’ll receive.

Most people use a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet to search and shop on the Internet, and responsive design ensures they’ll be able to view your school’s website as intended without any errors or issues.

2. Lower Costs

As responsive websites provide an optimal layout for both mobile devices and computers, you’ll save money on maintenance costs.

Traditionally, website owners paid separate maintenance fees for the desktop and mobile versions of their site, but with responsive design you pay a single fee and save money.

3. Faster Loading

Responsive school websites also load faster than traditional sites, so you won’t have to worry about parents leaving before a webpage loads.

Longer loading times also mean more time spent navigating webpages and less time spent reading the information they contain, which can have a negative effect on the user’s perspective of your website.

 

The above are just a few of the great benefits responsive design you can enjoy with the iClassCMS platform.

For more information, or to organise a free website review, please get in touch with us today.

Take Advantage of Everything School Videos Have to Offer

As schools become more accustomed to the latest technologies, we’re seeing an increase in the use of school videos.

While recording a video was once a costly expense that most schools simply could not afford, thanks to smartphones and the popularity of video editing software it’s never been easier (or cheap!) to record a bespoke video for your school.

Some schools use video to promote their curriculum, giving prospective parents a glimpse at how their children will learn, in addition to the various extra-curricular activities students can participate with, such as sports, drama and music.

It’s a quick and easy way to draw interest in your school and keep attendance at a high, as most people use the Internet to research about local schools in the area and video offers a handy way for communicating large amounts of information in a condensed form.

They help your school stand out from the crowd and give the impression your school is a modern institution that understands the importance of staying abreast of the latest technologies.

School videos are also ideal for keeping parents of current students up to date with all the latest news and events, from sports days to school trips and everything in between.

School videos are a great and inexpensive way to promote your school and keep parents up to date with everything that’s going on, but it’s essential to ensure your school’s website is capable of publishing videos.

iClassCMS offers a simple solution for publishing school videos and a handy platform that keeps all your school videos in the one place so you can quickly access them whenever you need to.

For more information, please get in touch with us using the contact form.

Why Your School Should Blog

Blogging is one of the easiest ways to spread word about your school, but it also comes with numerous benefits for both teachers and students.

The iClassCMS platform comes with an easy-to-use blogging feature that simplifies the whole process, ensuring anybody in the school can write, edit and publish their own blogs (if given permission).

Apart from its value as a marketing tool for your school, blogging is a great way to create and store the school’s unique content.

It acts a handy online hub for everything you’ve ever published, from newsletters to information about upcoming school trips and everything in between.

For students, blogging is a great way to improve literacy and encourages children and young adults to perfect their typing ability, an invaluable skill they’ll likely need when they’re getting ready for job interviews later in life.

It also ensures students and teachers are familiar with information technology and the many different ways technology is changing our world.

Blogging is also great for encouraging creativity and curiosity in students, and they may find themselves discovering new interests due to visual element of blogs.

There’s many obvious and hidden benefits for student and teacher blogging, all of which your school can enjoy with the iClassCMS platform.

EdTech Trends Update

The EdTech industry is one of constant innovation, so it should come as no surprise to anybody interested in this area of technology that this year’s biggest EdTech trends are constantly evolving.

In today’s EdTech Trends Update, we look at the two areas of technology Irish schools are most interested to explore and how these new forms of technology will benefit students and teachers alike.

Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning, aka education via smartphones and tablets, is becoming increasingly common in Ireland and there are countless educational apps available to download today.

Schools are starting to realise the potential of Mobile Learning and a number of schools across the country are introducing Mobile Learning into a range of subjects to great success.

Among the benefits Mobile Learning offers are greater student engagement, higher lesson retention rates and the variety of learning options available for students to engage in.

Mobile Learning is guaranteed to become a bigger part of students’ lives and as more schools invest in this technology we should expect it grow in popularity and usage.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Affordable Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) for schools is still a while away but some Irish schools are slowly but surely giving their students the opportunity to try out these incredible technologies.

Augmented Reality is a fusion of computer generated images on reality while Virtual Reality features completely fabricated virtual worlds, which can be used to transport students to distant worlds and other eras.

Both forms of technology provide teachers with an innovative method for teaching students, allowing them to experience their lessons rather than just read about it the topic in a book.

A large number of tech companies around the world are developing more efficient and cost-effective AR and VR offerings, so this exciting technology is likely to find a permanent home in Irish schools in the coming years.

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Time Saving Technology Hacks

Technology Hacks

Technology can be very easy to use. It can also be difficult. For those who did not grow up with technology, it can be a really challenging and frustrating experience.

For those who do not fully understand technology, it is a grueling and tortuous experience. In the world we live in today, technology is not going anywhere, and in certain job fields, technology is now commonplace.

In the education sector today it would be considered abnormal for a classroom to not have some type of technology. Whether that technology be a computer, an iPad, or even just a projector. Many classrooms do not solely have a blackboard in the middle of the room. The ways of learning are constantly upgrading, so the methods of teaching should be as well.

“There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.”

– Nancy Kassebaum

Again, technology can be very easy, or it can be difficult. But there is good news. TED Talk speaker David Pogue has created a list of ten tech hacks that will save you some time. It will also provide you with some simple tips to use to help in the classroom. 

Watch the full video here

By Taylor

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Analytics for Education

Education Analytics

Education Analytics

In recent years, the idea of big data analysis and analytics has taken the tech and business worlds by storm. Every action that we take online leaves a digital trail. There’s an increasing emphasis on software that can analyze this large volume of data. Because this analysis is so vast, it can reveal fascinating trends and patterns in consumer behavior.

Learning analytics is the synthesis of user (learner) created data to discover correlations and predict on future outcomes.

George Siemens presents a holistic model for learning analytics that incorporates not only student class performance data, but also elements from all areas of a student’s online life. Predictions based on analytics would lead to adaptation, personalization, and intervention in learning.

This process helps educators and administrators as well. Recorded student interactions in the VLE (virtual learning environment) can be used to help create more dynamic curriculum design. There is potential for the learning experience to be optimized for each student. The impact of any updates or changes can be easily tracked.

Education AnalyticsWhy Learn Analytics?

Learning analytics is scalable – teachers can implement the basic principles as a way for individual students to reflect on their growth and success. An example of this would be to create a table with all class assignments. For each assignment, students can record where they completed it as well as their level of understanding. This also would include the grade they received on the assignment. Learners will be able to identify their optimal environment to complete assignments and predict how well they will do on an assignment based on various factors.

Learning analytics and educational data mining are powerful tools for improving learner performance, but they come with some ethical debates. Can students’ privacy be preserved? Additionally, would a prediction of success or failure during a course help or hinder students learning?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Tech Tuesday: Flipgrid

Flipgrid
It’s a new way to introduce yourself, to present ideas, and ultimately, a new way to learn.

Say hello to Flipgrid.

Flipgrid is an education technology application for teachers and students. Teachers start the video discussion. Students respond. It is a fun way for students to interact with their classmates.
This educational tool is an important up-and-coming technology application in the education world. One of the main reasons relates to communication. Flipgrid boasts many positive qualities, especially for communication skills.
Flipgrid
Most students today prefer talking through their phones instead of talking face-to-face. With Flipgrid, students are still able to communicate without talking face-to-face. Through the video format, communication does still occur. This provides a unique opportunity to improve public speaking skills. The inclusion of video provides teachers an opportunity to give feedback to every student’s response.
Not only does it create a more fun classroom environment, it will help to increase classroom engagement among students, as well.
You can learn more about integrating Flipgrid into your classroom by clicking here.

By Taylor