Free 'Switched on Computing units' for the hour that lasts a week
Switched on ComputingPublisher Rising Stars is giving primary schools free access to the programming units from its Switched on Computing scheme to support the Hour of Code week of action (March 3-9).

The scheme, which was launched at the BETT 2014 educational technology event, was developed in association with Havering Support Improvement Services, Computing At School (CAS) and Naace. The free materials are being released to help teachers and pupils to start coding using free software.

The free 'Espresso Coding' service has an exciting schools competition to support Hour of Code week
Espresso CodinEspresso CodingPupils can use engaging graphics to code animations with ‘Espresso Coding” is putting its weight behind the Hour of Code [UK] campaign with a app competition for UK primary schools to tie in with the national week of action – March 3-9.

“We are very pleased to be working with the Hour of Code [UK] and to support their campaign, we aim to get as many primary pupils as possible to create and publish apps which can be entered into our competition” said Espresso founder Lewis Bronze. “Some schools are worried about the new computing curriculum. We hope that by working with us and our Espresso Coding service they will see that it’s very manageable   – and fun too.”  

Don't believe the hype. John Potter welcomes a new book that questions assumptions about educational technology
Neil Selwyn is professor of education at Monash University in Melbourne and has just published his new book under the eye-catching title of Distrusting Educational Technology. Such a title will come as no surprise to those of us who have worked alongside him or followed his work in the past few years (since the days of Telling Tales on Technology in 2002).

As we have come to expect from him, it’s a detailed, scholarly and well-written piece of work which acts as a measured counterbalance to the wave of hype and largely unfulfilled promise of educational technology in the developed world.

They've sorted out most school internet connections – their remit – so what next for the RBCs?
logo ICT4CollaborationThe Regional Broadband Consortia were set up in 2000 by the then Labour government under its National Grid for Learning Programme to connect all schools to fast broadband for internet services and safeguarding. Funded and managed by local authority clusters in the main, and guided by the now defunct ICT agency Becta, there were 10 RBCs in England.

Some were more successful and high profile that others but they mainly fulfilled their roles. With Becta gone and less LA accountability for education – what now for these vital but often hidden school providers? Stepping out from LA apron and purse strings is just move number one. And the Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning (YHGfL) is doing that and more.

New online tutoring service aims for ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’
Tutorfair tutorTutor leads a Tutorfair session in schoolA new online booking service for tutoring, Tutorfair, has pledged to provide free tutoring for pupils on free school meals. For every paid session booked – for school or home – Tutorfair promises to provide one free of charge to any pupil nominated by his or her school.

The new service has gone live first in London, where research indicates that as many as 40 per cent of learners have access to tutors, and goes nationwide in 2014.