Archive for the ‘Wales Wide Web’ Category

My prediction for 2008 – groupware is so cool

January 30th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Around the start of January it has become traditional for educational bloggers to make their predictions on what is going to happen in the world of education technology in the forthcoming year. Predictably, I am late. But better late than never, as the saying goes.

And here is my prediction. 2008 will be the year of web based groupware. Nothing much revolutionary about that. The first on-line application I ever used was FirstClass – jointly hosted by the UK Open University and the BBC in th early days of the web. The interface was not great and of course it was not very fast. But it sort of worked. You could join groups, exchange messages in groups and uplaod files. Pretty basic but that is all most people wanted to do.

I used FirstClass until a couple of years ago. I even got quite smart in administration. After changing hands every couple of years FirstClass seemed to slowly fade, not helped by the refusal to release the code and insisting developers could only work in some horrible thing called RAD.

Of course FirstClass or FC as us aficionados used to call it was not the only groupware product. There were and still are many very good products out there.

But in the last few years groupware has been eclipsed int eh education field by powerful CMS systems, by LMS and VLEs and more lately by social networking platforms. This, I predict, is all about to change. Why?

  1. Groupware is scalable. Not so much scaling up, but scaling down. It works just as well for 5 people as it does for 50. Social networking sowfatre does not scale well – especially downwards. It needs considerable activity to show any gain.
  2. Groupware doesn’t nag – you do not get endless status upgrades. It shuts out the ‘noise’ of the web.
  3. Groupware does the things many people want to do in their work – share files, provide a small repository, share messages with a limited group of people.
  4. Google and yahoo have been quietly developing excellent, free easy to manage groupware products.

Lest give you a few examples. I have been struggling for years to get projects to collectively sharegoogle groups developmental activity through various CMS and more latterly WordPress based platforms. But it is very hard. What they usually do is send me things which I have to put up. And if none of the group are used to blogging it is very difficult to persuade them to participate in a group blog. But people ‘get’ groupware. they can see the value of it and it is very easy to use. It makes their lives easier, rather than being another thing to learn about. In the last three months nearly every new project I have participated in has set up an group on Yahoo or Google.

Another example – a friend and colleague of mine – John Pallister who is a teacher in a UK school worked for a long time in developing a great blog on his experiences in implementing e-Portfolios. But try as he might he got very little traffic, still less feedback. Now he has started a group on Google called e-Portfolios and PLTs (PLT stands for Personal Learning and Thinking Skills). John says:

yahoogroups“I don’t know whether this will work, but I have watched and contributed to many online discussions about both skills and ePortfolios – most discussions dried up very quickly and did not manage to engage the people who were prepared to throw their ideas into the thinking-pot. Can Google Groups as a vehicle help?

I have set the group up with minimal admin and now hope to sit back and enjoy reading about your experiences, thinking and ideas about how ePortfolios can support the development of Personal Learning and Thinking Skills).”

There have been so good posts to the group, though I think John is a little disappointed there are not more active participants. But, as I have written before, lurking is a great way to learn. Even with limited active participants, groups can be a powerful means of mutual learning. And groups – just as face to face – tend to have peaks and troughs in activity, quietening down and then re-emerging for particular purposes at particular times. Groupware is ideal for supporting such forms of discourse and exchange. So stick in there, John.

So that is it. 2008 – the year of groupware.

Fast food qualifications – the future of education in the UK?

January 28th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Agggh – this is just what I feared. For some time I have been convinced we are at a turning point in our development of education and training systems and provision. I won’t go into all the reasons here – suffice to say that I believe education is intrinsically toed up in societal development – including economic development – and that our present education systems are based on the needs and forms of the first industrial revolutions and have failed to change to reflect the profound changes in society resulting from the digital revolution.

That systems will change and change dramatically is without doubt in my opinion. The direction of such change is less clear. I believe there is a big danger that systems will become privatized with state provision becoming a second class option. Furthermore, education is deeply tied up with societal values. Companies will not usually reflect those values in their totality.

I have no problem with MacDonald’s offering training programmes. Far from it. I do have two issues. One – why the hype? Why is the Prime Minister announcing new apprenticeship programmes by a few major companies. The rub is in the detail. MacDonald’s and other organisations will now be able to accredit their own programmes. They will become private examination boards. It could be argued that a number of the examination boards in the UK are effectively private organisations. But their purpose is to accredit learning. MacDonald’s primary purpose is to make p-rofit for shareholders by selling hamburgers.

Perhaps I am being paranoid, but I fear the reason that prime minister brown has announced these new programme sis that this represent another large shift towards privatising education and training in the UK.

From the Guardian: “The prime minister has defended the accreditation of in-company qualifications after it was announced that staff at McDonald’s could gain the equivalent of an A-level in burger bar management.

The fast food giant, Network Rail and the airline Flybe are the first three companies to win government approval to become an exam board.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has approved a pilot “basic shift manager” course, which will train staff in everything they need to run a McDonald’s outlet, from marketing to human resources and customer service skills.

The budget airline Flybe will start piloting their “airline trainer programme” in the summer, which will cover everything from engineering to cabin crew training.

Much of the course will fit with the QCA’s Qualifications and Credit Framework, which allows credits for units of work to build up to full qualifications over time.

The company hopes to award qualifications equal to good GCSEs and up to university degrees.

Network Rail is piloting an initial qualification in track engineering and hopes to issue qualifications equivalent to GCSEs, but with some units at postgraduate level that could contribute to a master’s qualification.

Speaking on GMTV, Brown said: “You have got to do a pretty intensive course to get that qualification. It’s not that standards are going to fall. It’s going to be a tough course. Once you’ve got that qualification you can go anywhere.”

The evidence against Facebook piles up

January 24th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

I am in York at a meeting of the Jisc Emerge programme. There seems to be increasing disillusionment with Facebook. And the evidence against Facebook is mounting. This is from the latest edition of the LabourStart newsletter.

“Facebook, the social networking website, is getting a lot of attention these days. In the trade union movement, there are differences of opinion about how useful Facebook actually is. Some of us are making a real effort to find out by using Facebook as an organizing tool. One of them is senior LabourStart correspondent Derek Blackadder, from Canada. Derek’s day job is as a staffer for the country’s largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). He’s one of the people who thinks Facebook is potentially quite useful for trade unionists.

Well, maybe not so much anymore. You see, a few days ago, Derek was banned from Facebook. I’ll let John Wood from the U.K. tell the story in his own words: Derek got a note from the good book, telling him he was trying to add too many friends, and should calm down a bit, or else. Now as a union organiser, he’s quite likely to want to add lots of friends – it’s kind of what he does. So he waits a bit and tries again, and is told he can’t add any more at the moment and to wait and try later. Fair enough. He waits a bit more and tries again, same message. By now, he’s probably frothing at the mouth and muttering “must organise, must organise”, so he has another go to see if the coast is clear, and promptly gets himself a ban. That being a ban from Facebook itself – no more profile, no access to the stuff he’s built up, no appeal.

John has launched a Facebook group to sign people up to protest the ban on Derek. I am writing to ask each and every one of you to take a moment and sign up to join the group. “Eric Lee, who runs LabourStart suggests supporters should join Facebook. He says “I know that most of you are not yet signed up to Facebook. This is good time to see whether we can mobilize the kind of support — the thousands of names — that will force the owners of Facebook to reverse course and allow Derek to do what he does so well: organize.”

I am not sure we should encourage people to join Facebook. It may be time to campaign and organise against the platform owners.

Blogging – a post modern diary or just kitsch

January 23rd, 2008 by Graham Attwell

I am delighted to post the latest in our occasional series of guest blogs. Jenny Hughes is a great friend of mine and works for Pontydysgu. She is not a regular blogger but that has not stopped us having many discussions about blogging.

“I’ve been staying with Graham in Bremen for the last 10 days. We’ve drunk too much, smoked too much, spent every evening in the pub making copious notes on beer mats and then stayed up every night discussing ideas that are going to change the world. OK when you are a student but the wisdom of doing this when you are approaching 60 is doubtful. The outcome of it all is that we did prodigious amounts of work but Graham, being the more geriatric of the two of us, is still in his bed, exhausted, at 11 am on Wednesday.

We also made lists. Every night in the bar, we made a list of work we simply had to do the next day – which we then lost and the following evening we made a new list. Last night’s list said “must do my blog – Gra” but as we crawled out of the Viva (one of the best bars in Bremen) on the wrong side of midnight, Graham’s last slurred whimper was  “You’ll hash to do m’blog f’me.”

So here goes…..

As I said, this week has been a strange mix of ‘doing’ (uninterrupted hours of banging away at a keyboard) ‘talking’ (shared coffee and fag breaks) and ‘thinking’ (invariably between 10 pm and 3 or 4 am in the Viva). Nothing particularly unusual about this except that I was fascinated how the agenda became so explicit and the fact that were planning-in thinking time (which was, in fact, intensive talk time) as opposed to ‘talking time’ when we tended to discuss what we were going to think about. (Keeping up?)  It made me wonder how many people actually have this luxury – a job where you can sit in the pub and get paid for ‘doing thinking’.

One of the first things Gra told me to ‘do thinking about…’ was the  idea of ‘bricolage’, as used by John Steely Brown to describe the different way that kids are learning in the digital age.  What JSB said was

“Classically reasoning has been concerned with the deductive and the abstract. But our observation of kids working with digital media suggests bricolage to us more than abstract logic. Bricolage…..relates to the concrete. It has to do with abilities to find something – an object, tool document, a piece of code – and to use it to build something you deem important. Judgment is inherently critical to becoming an effective bricoleur.”

Other than a month in France last summer renovating a house – which meant a daily trip to the bricollage (DIY) shop, I had largely forgotten the concept. In fact, ‘Bricolage’ was a word which I had always felt was becoming ‘devalued’ used as it now is for naming coffee bars, nightcubs, content mangagement software, record labels and the like.

However, I think JSB use of the term is interesting and helpful. This was a concept which had fascinated me as a student back in the 60’s and 70’s, when Claude Levi-Strauss was one of my guru,s but which I had not thought to apply in this context. JSB had tripped some useful switches for me.

In fact I thought it might be interesting for me to go back to the source of these ideas to see whether I could make anymore connections so I revisited “The Savage Mind” (1966) and came up with some (personally) useful ‘treasures’ (treasures = the word Levi Strauss used to describe the ‘bits and pieces’ of  knowledge a bricoleur has in his chest).

One of his (L-S)  key ideas is that the concept of bricolage refers to the rearrangement and juxtaposition of previously unconnected signifying objects to produce new meanings in fresh contexts. Bricolage involves a process of resignification by which cultural signs with established meanings are re-organised into new codes of meaning.

Meaning what exactly….well, the examples most often used examples are drawn from popular culture. For example the  construction of the Teddy Boy style of the 50’s combined an otherwise unrelated Edwardian upper-class look, a Mid West American cowboy bootlace tie and brothel creepers in the context of a youth culture. Likewise the boots, braces, shaved hair, Stayprest shirts and Ska music of the Skinheads of the 70s was a symbolic bricolage that signifies the hardness of working class masculinity.

That is not an un-useful idea for me.  There was a time when use of computers, electronic communication technology, instruments, an impenetrable technical language and the like were all part of the cultural ‘myth’ of the scientist, the academic boffin in his laboratory surrounded by wires and huge machines that in someway symbolized the idea of personal discovery and making the break through that would re-shape the world…..Conversely, ‘tools’ were symbols of craftsmen, the myth of the ‘honest artisan’.

Now I am the parent of 5 children, computers, electronic communication thingummies, gadgets, widgets, technobabble and a house full of grunting teenagers with surgically attached headphones, mobile phones Velcro-ed to their ears and  I-pods at breakfast are all part of the cultural myth of “Yoof”.

Which, of course is in total opposition to the cultural myth called ‘education and learning’.  How many parents (and the Daily Telegraph and Chris Woodward)  be-moan the fact that ‘can’t get their children to pick up a book’ or ‘they never read nowdays’ or restrict access times to computers ‘because it’s bad for them’ and they ‘should be doing their homework’ and ‘you can’t tear them away from their screens’? Hmmm! When I was a kid it was ‘ Could you get out head out of that book and do something useful.’

The other main use of the term Bricolage, is ‘the juxtaposition of signs in the visual media to form a collage of images from different times and places. This kind of bricolage as a cultural style is a core element of post-modern culture. (Sage Dictionary of Cultural Studies)

So we have concrete shopping centres with ‘modern’ architecture incorporating cafes with stripped pine furniture and red-checked Mid West ranch house table cloths juxtaposed with jungle areas of exotic plants and Victoriana pubs.

[Some people would call it kitsch (if done with irony), for others it is post modernism!]

In the same way the global multiplication of communication technologies has created an increasingly complex semiotic environment of competing signs and meanings. This creates a flow of images and juxtapositions that fuses news, drama, reportage, advertising etc into an electronic bricolage. Some people have started to use that horrible word ‘edutainment’ to try and capture this but communication bricolage works better for me.

My ramblings are about to end rather abruptly because Graham has just got up and I can hear the sweet noise of the coffee grinder …

“Graham – is blogging a post modern version of a diary or is it just kitsch…?”

(answer not printable).”

Out and about, travela and social networks

January 21st, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Been catching up on the administration – I am sure you all wanted to know that. But at the end of the week it is back on the road. On Thursday and Friday I will be in York at the Jisc Emerge conference. And on Friday evening o travel to Halle – near Leipzig it seems – for the first meeting of the European funded ICONET project.

As ever if anyone is around and wants to meet up that would be cool. Given that I travel quite a lot I set myself up an account on the new social network, Dopplr.

Seems a smart idea – but to be really useful – especially in allowing yiu to work out where your friends are going to be – you need a big social network on the site. And so far only my friend and colleague Eileen is sharing with me. She is at home – at least that is what Dopplr says. Help – I am lonely – anyone else got an account on the site?

ICT and SME Book

January 21st, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Sorry to all those of you who I have promised a copy of Searching and Lurking and teh Zone of Proximal Development. I haven’t forgotten. The problem is that the books are in Vienna and I am in either Wales or Germany. I am working on getting copies to Bremen – anyone driving this way could do me a very big favour. And whilst printing costs are fast falling, the cost of logistics seems to be getting ever more expensive. I’ll find a solution soon.

Open Source – good – but is it accessible?

January 16th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Talking with my friend Jenny. She tells me she has been searching for an Open Source Desk Top Publishing system

Although Jen would deny it she is pretty good on computers – in fact she is very good. And after reading the reviews and shopping around she selects Scribus. I have never heard of it myself but it certainly looks promising.

Then she goes of Sourceforge and gets this text.

“Scribus/Aqua is a port of Scribus to a native Aqua build using Qt Free for Mac OSX.

This binary is the official release of Scribus 1.3.3.10 for OSX. It needs Ghostscript 8.54 or later.

This package and the libraries are PPC only. They are not Universal and will use Rosetta on Intel based Macs, which might affect performance. Minimum OSX version is 10.3.9.

The binary is downloadable from Sourceforge This binary includes all needed libraries except Ghostscript. To install, follow these directions:

* Download and unpack Ghostscript. Move the framework to /Library/Frameworks.

* Download and unpack ScribusAqua-1.3.3.10. Move Scribus.app to some convenient folder, eg. /Applications.

* Double-click on the Scribus application. If everything goes well, the splash screen should appear.

* On first start Scribus will scan all available fonts on your system. That may take upto one hour. Be patient, it is only needed on the first run.

* If you get the errormessage “Ghostscript was not found on your system”, you need to specify the path to the ghostscript executable manually in Scribus-> Preferences-> External Tools.

One of our dear users has provided a ReadMe which lists some of the current pitfalls with Scribus on Macintosh.

You should join #scribus on irc.freenode.net for hints and help.”

Jen cannot understand this. She calls it “technical wanking”. Why can’t open source developers describe their development in ways people can understand. As Jen says “how dare you say this is open to the world. It is not open”

End of rant from outraged of Pontypridd.

Developing tools to support workplace competence development: e-Portfolios and apprenticeship

January 15th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

I have always liked the apprenticeship model. At its best it provides authentic practice based learning and at the sme time develops an occupational identity for the learner.

At the beginning of February I am attending a conference in Vienna organised by inAp – the International Network on Innovative Apprenticeship. One of the papers I am co-presenting at the conference is entitled ‘Developing tools to support workplace competence development: e-Portfolios and apprenticeship’. I have always been interested in the potential of e-Portfolios for vocational education and training and in particular for apprenticeship. I will post a download of the full paper later this week (when I have finished the referencing etc.). In the meantime here is the key excerpt explaining why I think apprenticeship needs modernisation and how e-Portfolios can contribute to this.

Why modernise apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship is perhaps the oldest organisational form of education and training and has proved surprisingly resilient despite radical societal form. So why should we modernise it now?

The first current challenge to apprenticeship lies in the present industrial revolution based on digital technologies which is having a profound effect not only on production systems but on many aspects of society. Within enterprises we are seeing a rapid period of innovation with a shortening life cycle of products, new forms of production and new forms of organisation of production and the development of new materials and products. All these are leading to rapidly changing occupational profiles and requirements for competences, although obviously the extent of these exchanges varies greatly between sectors.

A further challenge to apprenticeship is the expansion of higher education and a consequent tendency for the prestige of apprenticeship to decline.

More significant, in the long term, may be the changing ways we are learning and developing and exchanging knowledge. Although the term knowledge based society is somewhat rhetorical, it does reflect a growing emphasis being placed on knowledge for innovation and product and process development. A major impact is the growing recognition of the importance of work process knowledge – applied knowledge in the workplace. Linked to this is a move form classroom or school based vocational learning to work based learning with an increasing emphasis on informal learning. Jay Cross claims that perhaps 85% of our learning is informal yet the major emphasis in education and training has been on the 15% that comprises formal learning.

There is also a growing recognition of the role of organisational learning and of the importance of building on the knowledge of employees. This of course, may include apprentices.
Finally – and perhaps most important – is the changing ways in which (not just) young people are using new technologies for learning and for developing and sharing knowledge. Of particular note in this respect are the use of social networks which transcend traditional work based networks and the impact of web 2.0 in facilitating the use of computers for creating as well as consuming information and knowledge.

In many ways these changes are good news for supporters of apprenticeship, particularly the increased emphasis on work based learning. Nevertheless, they present a challenge to traditional forms and organisation of training, signifying a move from knowledge and skills transmission models to more collaborative peer group forms of learning. We believe that the introduction of e-Portfolios can act as a transformative tool to build on the strengths of apprenticeship models of learning whilst at the same time modernising pedagogic processes.

What could e-Portfolios bring to apprenticeship

As we said in section 2 of this paper there are many different definitions of e-Portfolios. Our belief is that e-Portfolios represent primarily a transformative pedagogic approach. This section of the paper reflects that viewpoint.

1. Bringing together learning from different contexts

e-Portfolios have the potential to bring together learning from different contexts. This is particularly important for apprenticeships which in a dual system context have often suffered form a lack of co-ordination between school based provision and work based training. More important than administrative coordination is curriculum is curriculum and pedagogic coherence. E-Portfolios have the potential to link the content of learning from different contexts. This they can bring together practice (work based) learning and theoretical (school based) teaching. Furthermore e-Portfolios can provide for the recording of and reflection on informal learning – not just as a stand alone item – but in the context of other forms of learning.

2. Reflecting on learning

e-Portfolios can be a powerful tool for reflecting on learning. Jonassen, Peck and Wilson (1999) argue that ICT supported learning is only useful (effective and efficient) if learning is active, constructive, reflective, intentional, authentic (contextual and complex), conversational and interactive.

Active learning means that learners are actively manipulating their learning environment and observing the effects of what they have done. In this way, learners are responsible for the results of their learning.

Meaningful learning implies actions, but actions are not enough. Learners have to reflect on their actions and their observations. These reflections could or should lead to the integration of new experiences and ideas with existing knowledge or should at least leads to insight into what the learner has to learn (constructive learning). It is this combination of active and constructive learning which makes learning meaningful. Learning is not a result of just practice; learners also have to elaborate their knowledge and skills and create or construct new insights.

The authenticity of the learning environment not only leads to a better understanding of cases or principles, but also results in a better transformation of learning outcomes to other cases and contexts.

To make a learning environment authentic, it should include complex and open tasks, as well as simple ones. Like in the ‘real’ world or job-related practice, people work together and interact in order to learn, and solve problems. Cooperation between learners (both collaboration and conversation) is seen as important as a goal of learning as well as a mean of learning other content.

Within apprenticeship e-Portfolios provide a tool for reflection on authentic work based practices.

3. Recording and assessing learning

e-Portfolios can be designed to support a wide range of multi media applications. This is important for a number of reasons. Firstly many vocational learners are not confident in the use of text as a means of recording and reflecting on learning. And, in this context, it is interesting to see the rapid development of Web2.0 tools for exchanging a wide range of different digital artefacts including audio, video and photographs. Secondly for apprentices competence is often reflected in the ability to make and o things. Such competence can best be captured or recorded through digital artefacts rather than through textual explanation. Furthermore the ability to access an e-portfolio form a mobile device, PDA, telephone, digital camera, means learning can be recorded where it happens, in the workplace, rather than relying on subsequent recall.
This will in turn allow the development of authentic assessment practices, rather than relying on simple written tests which provide little indication of an apprentices competence. It could alo provide a basis for moving from assessment of learning to assessment for learning – to focusing on self and peer group assessment –and to formative assessment as part of the pedagogic process, rather than end testing as a summative procedure.

4. Lifelong Learning

There is a general understanding of the necessity of lifelong learning in order to deal with rapidly changing technologies and processes of production. E-Portfolios can provide the basis of a lifelong learning record. Furthermore data can be exported for use in different learning systems and learners can provide different views of their portfolio content for different purposes, including applications for jobs or for further education and training.

Once more, what is perhaps most significant is the process of learning, of on-going recording and reflection on activities and actions. This provides the basis for the much cited but rarely explicated lifelong learning competence.

5. Networking and communities of practice

E-portfolios allow learners to develop their own social networks and to share their work with peers. As such they can be utilised for group based and project based learning. At the same time the interconnectivity outside the classroom allows integration with wider dispersed communities of practice allowing apprentices to develop their identity as a skilled worker.

(Schools out). Personal Learning Environments – what they are and why they might be useful.

January 14th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

plugin by rob

Terry Friedman is planning to publish a new version of the popular Coming of Age book.

And along with Leon Cych, he is planning a 24 hour telethon in which the contributors to Coming of Age are “on” for up to 20 minutes, either talking about their contribution or being interviewed about. I thought I would produce a short video (or slidecast) for the occasion. And by short I meant short. I always set out with good intentions but they always end up 25 minutes or more. I am proud of myself. This one is 6 minutes and I think it gets the key ideas across.

If you don’t like cartoon strips or prefer reading to watching a video or just want to find out more, you can download my contribution to the book below.

Coming of Age 2.0

Facebook is changing: but is it for the better

January 14th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

I haven’t spent so much time in Facebook lately. I wrote a post about how it was becoming boring. But in the last few weeks Facebook – or at least my view of Facebook – seems to be changing as more advanced applications continiue to be developed and deployed. Above you can see a screenshot of my Facebook wall this morning. No longer is it dominated by status updates. In fact I am not even sure they are being displayed on the wall. Instead it is recording my friends interactions with different goups and through different applications. The problem is I am not usre this is any better.

I suppose it is useful to know that Josie attended BarcampUKGovewb and Mobile Geeks of London III. I didn’t know about those events -and it gives links to find out more. That Lou and Paul have joined a group called ELESIG is not so helpful. I don’t know what ELESIG is. But as for the Twitter and Jaiku information – that is really useless. Josie says – “I did put up a nice wallpaper. That must count for something?” And Ewen is just about to pull out of Manchester station and will lose his wifi link! These are fragments of conversations about which I have no context to understand. Just for the record – I ahve no interest whatosever in custom cars or in pictures of them.

I guess that the problem lies in the plugins I have installed and in my settings. But the problem is that as Facebook becomes more sophisticated to get much out of it takes considerable time and effort. The original selling point was that it was so easy to use. And of course as our ‘friends’ have increased – so has the noise. My feeling is that to be of much use they are going to have ot allow us to form groups of friends and to display activity within those groups seperately. Perhaps then I could understand what is going on in the block of cyberspace that facebook represents.

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    Learning about technology

    According to the University Technical Colleges web site, new research released of 11 to 17-year-olds, commissioned by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity which promotes and supports University Technical Colleges (UTCs), reveals that over a third (36%) have no opportunity to learn about the latest technology in the classroom and over two thirds (67%) admit that they have not had the opportunity even to discuss a new tech or app idea with a teacher.

    When asked about the tech skills they would like to learn the top five were:

    Building apps (45%)
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    MOOC providers in 2016

    According to Class Central a quarter of the new MOOC users  in 2016 came from regional MOOC providers such as  XuetangX (China) and Miríada X (Latin America).

    They list the top five MOOC providers by registered users:

    1. Coursera – 23 million
    2. edX – 10 million
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    5. Udacity – 4 million

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    Jobs in cyber security

    In a new fact sheet the Tech Partnership reveals that UK cyber workforce has grown by 160% in the five years to 2016. 58,000 people now work in cyber security, up from 22,000 in 2011, and they command an average salary of over £57,000 a year – 15% higher than tech specialists as a whole, and up 7% on last year. Just under half of the cyber workforce is employed in the digital industries, while banking accounts for one in five, and the public sector for 12%.


    Number students outside EU falls in UK

    Times Higher Education reports the number of first-year students from outside the European Union enrolling at UK universities fell by 1 per cent from 2014-15 to 2015-16, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

    Data from the past five years show which countries are sending fewer students to study in the UK.

    Despite a large increase in the number of students enrolling from China, a cohort that has grown by 12,500 since 2011-12, enrolments by students from India fell by 13,150 over the same period.

    Other notable changes include an increase in students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and a fall in students from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.


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