Editorial #165 – Diverse scientist resources

In this week’s Connected Learning Centre newsletter, extremism in schools, diverse scientist resources, discover Learning Bridges, is China right to limit gaming for under-18s, Earth Cubs, and more...

News and resources update

Extreme views on the rise in schools

New research from UCL’s Institute of Education has found a concerning rise in extreme views and conspiracism among pupils, ranging from far-right views to racist language and misogynistic or Islamophobic opinions. The UCL researchers recommended that schools strengthen their anti-discrimination policies; promote opportunities for pupils to openly discuss controversial viewpoints, where these can be challenged; and improve the teaching of critical literacy to help them understand the difference between fact and opinion, and the forces which shape the latter. Critical/media literacy is an area we particularly focus on at the CLC, working with schools on our News Project, exploring the topic in depth in our annual online safety conference, highlighting useful resources, giving a Bett talk in 2019 and suggesting classroom activities. Please do get in touch to find out how we can support your school with this important topic.



Ignore its clunky title, this EU survey (open to respondents from the UK) is worth a few minutes of your time. Following surveys and focus groups with young people, this questionnaire is to gather input from those who care for, educate or can otherwise influence positive online opportunities and experiences for Europe’s children. The feedback will contribute to the development of a set of digital principles for an interinstitutional declaration between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to be published in late 2021, and to the new Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Strategy to be adopted in 2022. Find out more

Responding to online challenges

Useful new 4-minute animation from the UK Safer Internet Centre on how people working with children can de-escalate and manage situations around online hoaxes and vital stories. Watch the video

A scientist just like me

This is a great new resource from the Primary Science Teaching Trust designed to raise awareness of diversity in science-related jobs and to provide illustrated examples of a wide range of science-based careers. It’s a series of short slideshows, each one ‘telling the story’ of a particular scientist or person working in a science-related job – everything from a space scientist and a civil engineer to a marine biologist and a vet. The people included share details of their work and their everyday lives, making their stories relatable to children. At the end of each slideshow, the children are encouraged to imagine and discuss what it might be like to do that job. Explore the resource

Discover Vygotsky the Teacher

Myra Barrs, longtime collaborator with the CLC on projects such as ‘blogging and writing’ and ‘animating literacy’, has just published ‘Vygotsky the Teacher, a companion to his psychology for teachers and other practitioners’. Myra and her expertise on Vygotsky have been a significant influence on the work of the CLC over the years and we think teachers everywhere will be inspired by Myra’s guide to “the interplay of emotion, cognition and art in Vygotsky’s work”. We thought this photo of Myra with children’s literature legend Michale Rosen was especially heartwarming.

Free event: discover Learning Bridges

Join UNICEF Jordan to discuss the Learning Bridges, a national blended learning programme that links textbooks to technology, school to home, and concepts to practical learning. We worked with UNICEF on Learning Bridges, which has enabled half a million children to continue to learn during the pandemic via a weekly printed and digital activity pack linked to the core subjects. The digital element of Learning Bridges used Padlet as a platform for sharing resources in a range of formats. To learn more about Padlet and how it might support blended learning activities in your school, check out our Padlet tutorial video. Join us on 28 September, 3-4pm. Book now

Latest blog posts

Connected learning: creative curriculum catchup, digital strategy and extraordinary learning in your school

The new academic year has begun! While many aspects of school have returned to pre-Covid norms there are still areas of uncertainty and a real need to be prepared for more blended learning, whether on an individual, class or school level. We’d love to help you. Read the blog post

Want more? Check out CLC blog and BlendEd blog


We're listening, watching, reading...

"Why is media literacy prominent in the UK’s draft Online Safety Bill 2021?":
Professor Sonia Livingstone tackles the question on the LSE blog and argues that it’s important to “attend to what kind of media literacy is on offer, and let’s be careful not to shift the burden of responsibility from those creating and amplifying online harms onto their victims.”
"Being a parent can feel, at times, like leading an authoritarian nation of one…":
The Guardian’s Alex Hern takes a balanced view of China’s new rules that online gaming companies will be required to limit under-18s to just three hours of playtime a week, between the hours of eight and nine in the evening on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Give it a try

Earth Cubs

The creators of Earth Cubs, a free educational app about saving the planet, will be running a session at our December computing conference and we’d love to know what you think of the app. Aimed at children aged 3-7, it offers games, puzzles, badges and tree planting within environments such as the Amazon rainforest and the Arctic. There are additional free teaching resources with lesson plans and fun activity ideas.

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Upcoming CPD

Maths and digital technology forum for primary teachers
Maths and digital technology forum for primary teachers

The maths forum provides an opportunity for maths subject leaders to share their expertise and investigate new opportunities for digital technologies to support maths teaching and learning in class and online at home. The forum combines discussion with colleagues about school-wide progress in mathematics, with hands-on activities led by a CLC teacher, demonstrating how technology can be used to support maths. Activities will include programming in Scratch 3, which offers a practical way to illustrate and explore key mathematical concepts such as shape, space, position and direction.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...
Using technology to enhance assessment and feedback in primary schools
Using technology to enhance assessment and feedback in primary schools

Discover how digital technology can change the way we assess pupils’ work. We will demonstrate how teachers can use technology to monitor, evidence and respond to pupils’ progress in school and learning online remotely, and how pupils can use technology to present and reflect on their learning. We will outline a range of approaches to help assess and evidence learning across the curriculum.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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