Editorial #166 – The power of cognitive diversity

In this week’s Connected Learning Centre newsletter, try a free cybersecurity tool designed for schools, Facebook under fire over Instagram’s impact on teen mental health, programme a Pi message for the International Space Station, the power of cognitive diversity, give the Online Together project a try and much more...

News and resources update

DfE cybersecurity tool pilot

A trial of a free and anonymous self-assessment tool, which allows schools to assess their cyber security measures through a grading system of 0 to 5, starts today and runs until 9 October. It’s open to any school and will be fully rolled out next year. It’s in response to the rise in cyber attacks on schools, especially ransomware attacks. Read the Schools Week story

  • Hackers are leaking children’s data: this is a US perspective but the same threats apply to UK schools – NBC News collected and analysed school files from dark web pages and found they’re littered with personal information of children. In 2021, ransomware gangs published data from more than 1,200 American K-12 schools


Instagram’s secret teen mental health research

Facebook-owned Instagram is under fire after its own research was leaked which shows teenagers blamed Instagram for increased levels of anxiety and depression. In 2020, research found 32% of teenage girls surveyed said when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse. The company is accused of keeping the research secret. According to the Guardian, “Comprised of findings from focus groups, online surveys and diary studies in 2019 and 2020, the Instagram research shows for the first time how aware the company is of its product’s impact on the mental health of teenagers. And yet, in public, executives at Facebook, which has owned Instagram since 2012, have consistently downplayed its negative impact on teenagers.” Read the BBC story

Astro Pi Mission Zero opens

Mission Zero is the simplest, it’s open to children from age seven, takes around an hour and doesn’t require any prior programming knowledge as the step-by-step guide leads you through. Suitable for a club or in class, the teacher or mentor signs up to receive a class code, then the students individually or in small teams write a simple program to take a humidity reading onboard the International Space Station. Once submitted by the teacher it will be delivered to the astronauts with a personalised message, and providing it is error-free it will actually be run on the space station for real, with special certificates to follow. There’s a teacher guide, a short video about how a student feels to be involved, and plenty of time to plan for this before March 2022. Find out more

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
Missed our CAS Inspire showcase this week? Catch up with our roundup of the event. Read the blog post

Want more? Check out CLC blog and BlendEd blog

We're listening, watching, reading...

"Do you surround yourself with people who think like you?":
then you need the new RSA short from Matthew Syed on the power of cognitive diversity
"From F1 to Deep Mind":
Radio 4’s The Life Scientific is always worth a listen and last week’s interview with Hannah Fry was especially interesting, touching on why she loves maths, the power of pushy parents and the perils of algorithms

Give it a try

The Online Together project

The latest tool from internetmatters.org invites children and their parents/carers to take a short quiz to help recognise how gender stereotypes can impact them in online spaces and encourage them to respect and celebrate differences. Give it a try

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Upcoming CPD

New to subject leadership in primary school computing session 1, 2 and 3
New to subject leadership in primary school computing session 1, 2 and 3

This programme is designed for primary teachers who have recently taken on responsibilities and leadership for technology and computing. It will cover curriculum planning, tools and resources, methods for supporting colleagues and progression and assessment. Colleagues will be expected to attend all three sessions. The third session will be held in a school and will include classroom visits.

Further details for sessions 2 and 3 to follow:

Session 2: 9.30-11.30am Thursday 27 January (virtual)

Session 3: TBC (in person)

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...
Everyone can Code with Swift Playgrounds – a blended approach
Everyone can Code with Swift Playgrounds - a blended approach

Get hands-on with the Swift playgrounds app for iPadOS and resources from Learn to Code and Everyone can Code.

- 17:00
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.

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