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Public sector

Naace 2013: day one roundup

The way technology has transformed our lives and how we all use it is transforming the industry.

Professor Richard Noss, co-director of London Knowledge Lab
This year’s Naace Strategic Conference titled ‘Learning without Limits’ kicked off on the 7 March at the Leicester Marriott Hotel. The event has pulled in education leaders, teachers and technology providers from across the UK providing essential insight into the technology that is helping learning and engagement in education today.

The keynote sessions were introduced by Miles Berry, Chair of Naace Board of Management, who also presented its Annual School Competition award to Woodfield School for its transformative use of different devices in the classroom. The school caters for the needs of one hundred secondary school pupils with moderate learning and associated difficulties, many of whom have language difficulties. Woodfield School has introduced the use of different devices to help students express their wants and needs and improve their ability to learn.

Keynote Richard Noss, professor of mathematics and co-director of London Knowledge Lab, set the pace for the rest of the event through his discussion of how ICT is shaping learning and how it should be implemented to engage students.

“We’re driven by technology’s developments and we’re at a critical moment,” he said. “The way technology has transformed our lives and how we all use it is transforming the industry.” Though Noss claimed that education institutions have a long way to go to fully embrace technology in the classroom and out, the array of education technology solution providers at the event illustrated that the industry is moving in the right direction.

Microsoft and Kodu
The Microsoft education team are exhibiting at the event, with a strong focus on Winodws 8 in education and Kodu – a visual programming language made specifically for creating games and designed to be accessible for children. In discussing the role of gaming in education today, Noss said that many are like ‘sugar-coated brocolli’, in that they simply aren’t engaging enough for children. Microsoft’s sponsor zone session today, however, showed that it is possible to use gaming technology to help children engage in learning. Ray Chambers, lead practitioner/IT teacher at Uppingham Community College, presented an inspiring session titled ‘Kodu, are you game?’ that illustrated how children in his class are using Kodu. “Kodu helps stimulate students,” Chambers said. “Students are using games consoles like Xbox 360 and Kinect at home. When they stay up too late trying to complete a level of a game at night, we want to bring that determination into the classroom.” And Chambers suggests that with applications like Kodu, this is possible.


Microsoft Certified Partner and leading UK-based hardware manufacturer and supplier Viglen is also at the event displaying how its tablets, laptops and desktops are helping educational institutions today to enhance the quality of teaching and develop student’s learning skills. Its dedicated schools department offers high quality, cost-effective, industry standard systems, tailored to meet a school’s unique requirements. Each solution offers future flexibility, while those responsible for ICT in the school can rely on long-term technical support.

Capita IT Services, a leading supplier of ICT solutions and support services to education and Microsoft Certified Partner, is also at the event. Capita has brought together a suite of modular services to make life easier – OPENHIVEeducation. Schools can pick and choose what they want from a unique set of connectivity, e-safety, security, access, content, learning platform and in-school technology services that are designed to work in an educational context – and be confident that choosing Capita means choosing well.

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