Introduction

    Welcome to the Wales Wide Web

    October 25th, 2007 by Dirk Stieglitz

    Wales Wide Web is Graham Attwell’s main blog. Graham Attwell is Director of the Wales based research organisation, Pontydysgu. The blog covers issues like open-source, open-content, open-standards, e-learning and Werder Bremen football team.

    You can reach Graham by email at graham10 [at] mac [dot] com

    Wales Wide Web

    Rwanda teachers on how to safely reopen schools

    October 22nd, 2020 by Graham Attwell
    covid, covid-2019, covid-19

    artpolka (CC0), Pixabay

    The issue of safe reopening of schools after lockdowns in the Covid 19 pandemic is contentious in many countries, including the UK. Equally there is a debate going on as to how students can be supported in catching up with missed learning

    One of the most interesting report I have seen was posted to the UNESCO ICT CFT Champions network. This is a WhatsApp group bringing together researchers, teachers and trainers predominantly from Africa but also from the wider world.

    Vincent from Rwanda posted to the group. explaining that the Rwandan Ministry of Education is planning for schools to reopen after closing due to the COVID 19 pandemic and proposes a gradual reopening of schools with  an emphasis on the well being of both students, teachers school administration sand the entire community. A questionnaire survey composed of multiple choice questions was administered to teachers to understand their viewpoint on the safe reopening of schools.

    Sadly the graphic files downloaded from my phone are two small to be clear. But, asked, following an extend period of school closure what in their opening will be the most effective to manage learning loss as a result of Covid 19 the survey had the following results:

    • Providing teacher training 26.6%
    • Motivating students 13,7%
    • Offering remedial catch-up programs and accelerated progams 27.3%
    • Conducting continuous assessment focusing on lesson assessment and end unit assessment 9,7%
    • Adoption of blended learning *both face to face ad online program 22.7%

    And asked what in their opinion would be the most challenging aspects of implementing safe school opening, the following were the results:

    • Providing hand washing facilities ins schools 10%
    • Ensuring social / physical distancing, equitable access and quality 41.5%
    • Providing face masks 5.2%
    • Double shifts to allow physical distancing among the students 18.8%
    • Raising awareness among students, teachers schools administrators about the importance of health and hygiene 24.5%

    Leave a Reply


    Data Driven Science

    September 29th, 2020 by Graham Attwell

    This diagram is from a tweet by  Data Driven Science (@DrivenScience).

    Artificial Intelligence they say, is the broad discipline of creating intelligent machines.

    Machine Learning refers to systems that can learn from experience.

    Deep Learning refers to experience on large data sets.

    Leave a Reply


    The State of Data 2020

    September 28th, 2020 by Graham Attwell
    social media, media, board

    geralt (CC0), Pixabay

    One result of the Covid 19 pandemic is it seems like every day now there are free events. This week is no exception and this conference looks great. I can’t make all of it – too many other meetings but I hope to dip in and out (another advantage of online conferences).

    On Tuesday September 29 and Wednesday September 30, 2020 the State of Data event will bring together researchers, practitioners, and anyone with an interest in why data matters in state education in England.

    You can choose to register if you want to use the calendar functionality and accept the privacy terms of Hopin, to see the events as they come live. Or simply watch in your own time without registering, after the event, via the links below.

    Between algorithmic fairness in exam moderation and the rush to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has raised questions on children’s digital rights like never before in England’s education system. defenddigitalme is a call to action.

    The conference has a vision of a rights’ respecting environment in the state education sector in England. We want to help build the future of safe, fair and transparent use of data across the public sector. This event will coincide with the launch of their report The State of Data 2020: mapping the data landscape in England’s state education system.

    There is a range of content and discussion for practitioners in education and data protection, senior leadership and DPOs, local authority staff, developers, vendors and the edTech community, academics and activists, policy advisors and politicians —they say they want to create opportunities for questions and answers across silos. As the conference web site says: “We need to start a conversation about changing policy and practice when it comes to children’s data rights in education.”

    Leave a Reply


    Economic catastrophe?

    September 23rd, 2020 by Graham Attwell
    looking for a job, work, silhouettes

    geralt (CC0), Pixabay

    COVID-19 is turning from a health crisis into an economic catastrophe, says the UK based Nesta. With the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention scheme closing at the end of October, the coming labour market shock will be unprecedented in scale and there is a major risk of people being unable to meet housing or food costs and falling into debt.

    Navigating the labour market will be challenging, especially for people in insecure and low-paid employment. Despite the emergence of a range of online products and services, some basic needs – like matching people to training and education courses that provide the best return – are not being met.

    Further, although a range of financial services already exist to support vulnerable families, the scale and accessibility of these services are out of kilter with what is now required.

    To stimulate innovation in these fields, Nesta launched the Rapid Recovery Challenge – a new £2.8 million challenge prize seeking scalable ways of giving vulnerable workers better access to jobs and financial help in the wake of COVID-19.

    Find out more about the challenge prize.

    Leave a Reply


    Language courses and science, technology, engineering and maths subjects cut

    September 16th, 2020 by Graham Attwell
    jet engine, jet, airplane

    LittleVisuals (CC0), Pixabay

    Over the past few years there has been great emphasis placed in the UK on the importance of science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM) for the future development of the economy. there has also been attention placed on the poor record of language learning in the country. And education – and especially the vocational further education colleges have been urged to ensure that employability is high on te agenda.

    It is surprising then to see the latest report from the UK nation Audit Office which has found that “Some colleges have stopped teaching modern languages courses and some science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, while others have significantly decreased employability activities.”

    As a report on Sky News says, the Aidit Office report the reason being that core funding for the college sector has fallen and its financial health “remains fragile” – with an increasing number of colleges across the UK under financial pressure due to the coronavirus crisis.

    The report warned that mental health and careers support for college students had also reduced.

    Leave a Reply


    More ways of understanding the Labour Market

    September 15th, 2020 by Graham Attwell
    architecture, skyscraper, glass facades

    MichaelGaida (CC0), Pixabay

    In most countries we have traditionally relied on official labour market agencies for data for understanding the labour market. From an education and training standpoint, that data has not always been ideal – given the main users are economic planners and policy makers – and the data collected is often difficult to interpret from the viewpoint of careers guidance or education and training provision.

    One of the main limitations of national data from official agencies is that the sample is often too small to draw conclusions at a local – or sometimes even regional – level. Yet opportunities for employment vary greatly by region, town and city. In recent years there has been a growth in popularity of scraped data, using big data technologies and techniques to scrape and analyse online job vacancies. This work has mainly been undertaken by US based private sector companies although the EU CEDEFOP agency has also developed a multi national project scraping and analysing data. The job advert data is not better or worse than tradition labour market data. It is another source of data providing another angle from how to understand what is going on. Pontydysgu is part of a consortium in the final of the  UK Nesta CareerTech Challenge prize. Our main word is developing a Chatbot for providing information for people whose jobs are at risk as a result of automation and AI. Of course that includes labour market information as well as possibly scraped data and we have been thinking about other sources of data, not traditionally seen as labour market information.

    One organisation which is accessing, visualising and publishing near real time data is the Centre for Cities in the UK. It says its mission is to help the UK’s largest cities and towns realise their economic potential.

    We produce rigorous, data-driven research and policy ideas to help cities, large towns and Government address the challenges and opportunities they face – from boosting productivity and wages to preparing for Brexit and the changing world of work.

    We also work closely with urban leaders, Whitehall and business to ensure our work is relevant, accessible and of practical use to cities, large towns and policy makers

    Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic the Centre for Cities has been tracking the impact on the labour market. They say:

    Luton, Slough and Blackpool have seen the largest increases in unemployment since lockdown began. Meanwhile, cities and towns in predominantly in southern England and The Midlands have seen smaller increases in unemployment. Cambridge, Oxford, Reading, Aberdeen and York have seen some of the smallest increases in unemployment since March.

    As of mid-June Crawley, Burnley, Sunderland and Slough have the largest shares of people being paid by the Government’s furlough scheme.

    In the medium term, as many as one in five jobs in cities and large towns could be at risk of redundancy or furloughing, and those reliant on the aviation industry, such as Crawley and Derby, are likely to be hardest hit. These areas are also the places most likely to be worst affected if the Job Retention Scheme is withdrawn too soon.

    One interesting tool is the high street recovery tracker. This compares the economic performance of city centers since the outset of the Covid 19 crisis. At present they say footfall in the UKs 63 biggest cities has increased by seven percentage points in August and now reaches 63 per cent of pre-lockdown levels.

    However, this figure hides great geographic differences: in 14 city centres, footfall in August exceeded pre-lockdown levels; particularly in seaside towns and smaller cities. At the other end of the spectrum, large cities like Manchester and Birmingham have barely recovered half of their pre-lockdown levels of activity.

    Instead of relying on traditional surveys for this data, which would take some time to process and analyse, the recovery tracker is based on mobile phone analysis. Another potentially interesting non traditional source of data for understanding labour markets may be travel data, although that data is heavily disrupted by Covid 19. But that disruption in itself may be interesting, given the likelihood that those cities with continuing low travel to work numbers are likely to have a higher percentage of office based work, and possibly a focus on non customer based finance and administration employment. Conversely those cities where travel to work volumes are approaching near normal are probably more concentrated on retail and manufacturing industry.

    All in all, there is a lot going on in novel data sources for labour market information. And of course we are also looking at how such data might be accessed:hence our Chatbot project.

    Leave a Reply


P1020724P1020699P1020698P1020696P1020692P1020688P1020686P1020681P1020678P1020673P1020669P1020666P1020665P1020614