"Good ICT is a necessity, not a luxury"

Having renewed the E2BN IT Procurement Framework contract with Think IT, we thought we should ask Neil Watkins, Think IT Director, why he thinks ICT is so important for schools? 

Very simply, good ICT is a necessity for a school, not a luxury. You can’t run an organisation the size of a school smoothly, effectively or efficiently without it. One of the biggest challenges facing schools though is ICT skills. How can a school be an expert in Broadband connectivity, network infrastructure, cyber-security, equipment, Cloud storage, productivity tools, online safety and everything else required to keep staff and learners productive and safe? I would argue that one person, or indeed one company, can't do it all. That’s why we bring together the right expertise for each individual school, all under one simple to administer contract. Our aim is to make ICT easy for schools.

Why would an organisation choose to use Think IT?

The main benefit is that we save you time and money. You don’t have to get three quotes or go out to tender – just tell us what you want and we’ll get it for you. Buying through the framework means you’re fully compliant with DfE guidance and UK procurement law. Because we work with thousands of schools across the country, we can achieve excellent value for money.

We can also help schools identify what they need, especially if they want to transform IT across the whole estate. Our Think IT Readiness Assessment starts with a 'Visioning Workshop' to identify where the school is now and where they want to be. Every single aspect of technology within the school is considered as a whole - teaching, learning, classroom management, business support, connectivity, communication and of course safety and security. The Readiness Assessment informs the IT Strategy. If required we will project manage the entire transformation.

As I've worked with so many education organisations I'm often asked to share my experience. I’m speaking at the Academies Show in London on the 25th April; my presentation is entitled “7 ways to mess up your schools’ IT….REALLY BADLY”. Everyone has at least one story about a school who got it or 'IT' spectacularly wrong. So if any of your readers have a story they'd be happy to share, anonymised of course, please contact me.

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What are people saying?

“Since using the services of Think IT and their partners, we have seen improvements in staff productivity and collaboration, and an increased use of innovative technology to support teaching & learning.”

David French, Curriculum Manager at Beeches Primary school.

"The framework provides access to the full spectrum of educational IT suppliers without the need for mini competitions so schools can buy direct without having to get 3 quotes or go out to tender, saving both time and money."

Kirstie Phillips, ICT Traded Services Manager at Nottinghamshire County

FlashMeeting Retirement Of Service

E2BN will no longer be supporting or offering the Flashmeeting Video Conferencing Service due to increasing technological issues with the platform. We have, therefore, decided to end all support for Flashmeeting with immediate effect.

E2BN provided this safe and reliable VC service to schools and educational establishments around the World for over 15 years. We were proud and excited to offer this straightforward solution at a time when VC usually required schools to purchase high-end equipment. However, technology moves on and there are now many, often free, platforms that make video conferencing an everyday possibility in the classroom. 

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the termination of the service.

 

 

Copy Cat! Copy Cat!

Images are important in education. They are used to illustrate teaching points, clarify information and inspire. Images convey emotions, capture the imagination and express powerful ideas. And we use a lot of images in schools. 

Generally, we glean these images from the various websites, aided and abetted by Google (other search engines are available). After discarding those that are in appropriate and of poor quality most searchers are still faced with hundreds if not thousands of free images to use as they see fit.

Except that these images are not free for us to use however we like. Just like images, videos, pieces of music and text in the physical world, online or virtual resources are covered by copyright. And using copyright materials in school could lead to prosecution and a hefty fine! 

 

YouTube for Schools to Cease

Information for Teaching Staff

YouTube for Schools (YTFS) offered educational settings a clever way to access the valuable video that is available on YouTube without exposing students to content that was inappropriate. An administrator signed up for a YouTube for Schools account/channel and added YouTube videos that teachers wanted students to be able to access in school to the account. E2BN Protex utilised YTFS on all student profiles by adding educational content to the E2BN YTFS account/channel and redirecting YouTube request to YTFS.

On 1st July Google is will cease the YTFS service. All schools need to be aware that from 1st July the type of content that students might be able to access on YouTube will change. Students may be able to access content that would previously have been inaccessible.

Using Myths and Legends - Case Study

Example lesson sequence - Janice Russell - Barton Le Clay Lower School

willowMy Year 3 class had been exploring the story of the Willow Pattern in literacy and I wanted to allow the children to retell it using the Story Creator (SC2) tool from E2BN's Myths and Legends site. www.myths.e2bn.org

Prior to beginning the work with the children I registered on the Myths and Legends site . Because I would be responsible for publishing the children’s stories on the Myths site a few days after I registered someone from E2BN contacted the school to ensure that I was a bona fide teacher.

Assured that I was who I said I was my account was activated and I register my pupils. This involved uploading a simple spreadsheet of pupil usernames, and passwords. Because the username appears with the published stories, in keeping with my schools e-safety policy I made sure these names did not identify the children. However, so I would know whose story was whose I also included the children’s real names on the spreadsheet.

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