New report spotlights ‘inadequate’ access to technology in English schools

Just 1% of primary state schools provide devices that their pupils can take home, compared to 38% of private primary schools according to new survey data from polling organisation Teacher Tapp, published today by Microsoft in association with think tank The Centre for Education and Youth.

As schools continue to flex and adjust to a second national lock down, this new data highlights the challenges faced in providing the connected learning that education increasingly depends upon. The findings, published in a new report, also highlight the benefits and opportunities that teachers believe access to technology can provide.

Microsoft commissioned the survey of more than 5,000 teachers across England, including more than 1,200 senior leaders, to better understand the value and benefits educators perceive from current education technologies and the barriers they foresee to future adoption, the so-called “digital divide” included. The results are eye opening:

  • In the state sector just
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Minneapolis schools face challenging financial future, projections show

Minneapolis Public Schools is again facing a troubling, yet familiar, prediction about the district’s finances: The budget will remain burdened by falling enrollment and revenue that can’t keep pace with operating costs.

The rollout of the controversial district redesign, combined with concerns over distance learning during the pandemic, have exacerbated the decline in enrollment — a pattern that five-year projections show will continue over the next few years. Assuming the plan is fully implemented, enrollment may start ticking back up by the 2025-2026 school year, district officials said.

“Our analysis finds that, regardless of whether the [redesign] succeeds, the district is burdened by an unsustainable fiscal structure,” read the report, which will be presented to the school board Tuesday.

The board will also consider the certification of the 2021 property tax levy at its Tuesday meeting. The recommended levy of $224 million, down about 3.8% from 2020, is the maximum

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Future of School Welcomes MGT Consulting as a Partner in the Resilient Schools Project

DENVER, Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Future of School (FoS) today announced that MGT Consulting, a national public sector management consulting and technology services firm working with state, local and education clients across the U.S. and abroad, is the latest partner to join the Resilient Schools Project (RSP). The RSP, a partnership between FoS and the Digital Learning Collaborative (DLC), is an initiative to assist schools and districts with developing an ongoing response to instruction disruptions during the 2020-21 school year.

“One of the primary, immediate objectives of the Resilient Schools Project is helping districts address their pressing instructional and technology needs―and in these efforts, we couldn’t ask for a better partner than MGT Consulting,” said Amy Valentine, CEO of Future of School. “MGT’s expertise in strategic planning and implementation, including the firm’s proven track record of leading turnaround efforts at a significant scale, will provide RSP members

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UK leads the way on using technology in schools

The UK has more Microsoft Showcase Schools than any other country in Europe.

The programme works with headteachers to lead their schools through digital transformation through a community of peer support and Microsoft experts.

The UK now has 48 Showcase Schools in areas including London, Port Talbot, Paisley, Exeter and Glasgow.

In total there are 325 education institutions from 58 countries around the world enrolled in the Microsoft Showcase Schools programme.

One of those is Queen Anne High School, in Dunfermline, Fife, which teaches boys and girls aged 11 to 18.

All classes were set up on Teams, with teachers able to share weekly learning material and homework. There is an emphasis on the use of digital technology in classrooms with a “bring your own device” policy in place for all students.

See how Cornerstone Academy Trust is using technology in the classroom:

A OneNote

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COVID cases rise, Prince William and Loudoun County schools prepa

PWCS is welcoming back nearly 3,000 first graders this week, while LCPS is bringing back 7,300 third through fifth graders Tuesday.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Prince William and Loudoun County Public Schools are preparing to bring another round of students back to their buildings Tuesday.

PWCS will welcome 2,775 first graders in two different groups, with half starting Tuesday, the other half starting Wednesday.

LCPS will be adding 7,300 third through fifth graders as well as seniors at the Academy of Science and the Academy of Engineering and Technology to the mix on December 1, also broken up into groups.

Kristin Petersen, who has students in first and fifth grade in PWCS is ready to send her younger son back. He starts with the second group on Wednesday.

“We’re excited. We’ve prepared him to obey the teacher, listen,” Petersen said. “I know that the situation that he’s going into

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Opinion | Science-led policy will get Montgomery’s schools reopened

Montgomery County leadership has made unreasonable health metrics, not grounded in science or the interests of our children, a prerequisite for hybrid learning: a daily average of fewer than five cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. This is far more stringent than the state recommendation and approximately four times stricter than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Even at the pandemic’s lowest ebb, Montgomery County has never met this standard. In contrast, students in other U.S. communities that do not meet Montgomery County’s standard have enjoyed months of live instruction, some five days a week, without harming public health.

In September, many large U.S. school districts offered some in-person learning, and the evidence is in. Schools that take proper mitigation measures do not stoke community transmission. In October, New York public schools tested tens of thousands of students and faculty and found only 28 were

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Apparent ransomware attack closes Baltimore County public schools

The Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) system has canceled classes after an apparent ransomware attack shut down internal networks. Described by officials as “a networking issue,” the outage is affecting the schools’ email and grading systems, among others.

BCPS chief of staff Mychael Dickerson confirmed on Twitter that the outage is believed to be the result of a ransomware attack. “We were the victim of a ransomware cyber attack,” he said. “Our BCPS technology team is working to address the situation.” Dickerson could only tweet the message since the BCPS website is currently down.

As a result of the outage, offices have been closed for the day and students have been given the day off. “We knew it wouldn’t be a quick fix,” Dickerson told The Baltimore Sun. “We just don’t want people standing by thinking we’ll get back up.”

Ransomware attacks have become a common tactic for cybercriminals,

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Sharp Canada donates $50,000 worth of technology for education to five Ontario schools to help improve student learning

MISSISSAUGA, Ont., Nov. 24, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — MISSISSAUGA, Ont., November 24, 2020 – Five Ontario schools in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have received $50,000 worth of technology from Sharp Electronics of Canada as part of its [email protected] pilot program. The company is providing calculators, collaboration and professional displays and air purifiers to ensure students at elementary and high schools have equitable access to tools for learning and to help with student success.

The participating schools include Monarch Park Collegiate Institute, Lakeshore Collegiate Institute, Etobicoke School of the Arts and James S. Bell Junior Middle Sports and Wellness Academy in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB); and Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Elementary School in the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB).

In many cases, access to technology depends on students’ ability to bring their own devices to school. Providing calculators to students in need will help them

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New Orleans schools struggle to keep kids in class as the pandemic drags on, challenging families | Coronavirus

Lio Schaefer had long struggled with school attendance. Because he was bored and frequently felt ignored in class, he said he often skipped junior year classes at New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School.

By the time the coronavirus pandemic hit last spring, Schaefer was in a group home for youths with behavioral problems. When he returned to live with his mother he could have re-enrolled in Sci-High. But worries of contracting the virus, coupled with an online learning platform he had no interest in turned that decision from a maybe to a no.

Coronavirus cases have tripled in New Orleans public schools in a week, prompting district leaders to urge students and staff to limit gatheri…

“Going back to high school just seemed like a bad idea,” the 17-year-old said.

Schaefer’s story is a cautionary tale. Despite massive efforts to ramp up virtual instruction and make learning possible

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The virus wasn’t spreading in New York City schools. Why close them?

But while rising test positivity is a cause for concern and a reason to increase public health interventions, it can’t be looked at in isolation — and it’s not a good measure on which to base a decision to close schools. The metric is best interpreted as a gauge for how hard we’re looking for cases and how hard it is to find them. It is not equivalent to prevalence of the coronavirus in the community (although it is related to that figure); mainly, it’s a signal to do more testing.

The only epidemiological reason to close schools would be evidence that they are magnifying infection and driving community spread. And so far, there is no data suggesting that in-person education is doing those things. To the contrary, the prevalence of infection in schools is comparatively low.

Given the long-term harms that occur when children are out of school for

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