How it started…

How it started…

Fifteen years ago, this week, (Stephen Heppell) and I had a dream to change education, from the focus on new PFI and BSF buildings to empowering teachers to engage learners by using technology to deliver learning and digital skills. The school system had been difficult for many, who sought vocational, creative, or new industries, whilst they were put through a system that weeded out those that were not ready for higher education.

 

In 2007, Learning Possibilities was born. A social enterprise that looked for ways to engage those ‘at the back of the class’, and those that dreamt of running a small company building websites. For a company with big ambitions, we certainly have achieved big things! We estimate that in the past 15 years over 4m learners in the UK have used our technology; including those in Wales, Wolverhampton, and Northampton.

 

The last two years have borne out our vision. If schools had adopted learning and collaboration technology, and teachers had developed the skills for hybrid and blended learning, we may have seen less learning loss during the pandemic. Worldwide the situation has been compounded by geographical and infrastructural challenges. Today we are working with schools, governments, and funders in twelve countries to look at the technology that has efficacy, teacher development that will focus on the available tech, rather than the best tech, and vocational training. Technology has moved from being a tool in the classroom to the means of nurturing and delivering learning and assessment. The possibilities have become brighter for the learner and for education.

 

Happy 15th Birthday Learning Possibilities …!

We are delighted to announce that this year we will be supporting the Peter Tabichi Foundation as it promotes access to quality education for disadvantaged children in rural Kenya.

Peter Tabichi, a Franciscan Friar and Kenyan science teacher, won the Global Teacher Prize 2019. You can see see Peter’s story here: https://youtu.be/i41XlsaDc-w . Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to host a webinar with Peter, which is available here.

To support the foundation, Learning Possibilities will be hosting a charity golf day and other activities. Details of the Peter Tabichi Foundation are here.

For further details, please contact us at: enquiries@lpplus.com

Top 100 Stars in UK Tech

We are delighted to announce that our CEO, Dr Mehool Sanghrajka, has been awarded Top 20 Asian Tech Pioneer in the UK for 2020. Full details of the list are below.

“2020 has been a very difficult year for schools and businesses, and I am delighted that our efforts to help schools cope with this pandemic and give them a blueprint for the future have been recognised.  I thank the amazing team at Learning Possibilities for all that they do. We look forward to working with even more schools in 2021.”, said Mehool.

Details of the award can be found here:

Asian Tech Pioneers 2020 – Asian Stars in UK Tech (asiansintech.com)

Conceptarian Worx Press Release

The partnership will offer schools and governments solutions to help drive blended learning during this time of pandemic, enabling educators to support learners in school and at home.

 

London, 08 December 2020 – Learning Possibilities, the award-winning, global education technology company, and Conceptarian Worx, the Zimbabwe based, education services company, today signed a partnership to jointly deliver LP+ technology and services to the education sector across Southern Africa.

Dr Mehool Sanghrajka, Founder and CEO at Learning Possibilities, said “We are delighted with this partnership to bring our technology to southern Africa. We have been working very hard to ensure that our technology can cater for specific needs of developing countries, including affordability, online and offline access, cloud security and scalability. Our partnership with Conceptarian Worx will deliver our solutions together with a personalized set of local services. We look forward to serving schools in the region together.”

Learning Possibilities created and published ‘LP+ ADOPT’ the UK National Framework for Adoption of Technology Platforms in Schools, as well as delivering the highly successful Hwb+ national platform for Wales.

Jiten Shah, CEO at Conceptarian Worx said, “Educational institutions around the region are struggling with keeping students safe, engaged and connected. The pandemic isn’t the only cause of disruption, which results in tremendous financial and human cost, endangering the future. This proven technology combined with support will herald a more prosperous economy, generating opportunities. With our solutions, students and educators can collaborate with confidence.”

LP+ technology, which runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud leveraging Office 365, has four major technologies; school assessment for blended learning, management of student identity and access, learning, content and collaboration platforms, and device management solutions, all creating entirely new ways for more immersive and inclusive learning experiences.

Mark East, General Manager, Microsoft World Corporate HQ (Education), said, “The partnership with Learning Possibilities and Conceptarian Worx, brings together education specific expertise, proven technology, local support and infrastructure. This union will drive educational impact on Microsoft 365 by further replicating the results of best practice we are now seeing.”

Tom Hill, Country Director, British Embassy Zimbabwe, Department of International Trade, UK Government, added; “Learning Possibilities is a British company working globally to bring its technology to countries around the world. Their success showcases how the innovation of British businesses in education technology can positively impact millions of learners worldwide. We congratulate them on this partnership with Conceptarian Worx.”

About Learning Possibilities
Learning Possibilities is a social enterprise founded in 2007, delivering award-winning secure, affordable and scalable education technology to schools and ministries of education. It has been a Microsoft Gold Partner for over 10 years and is also Microsoft’s Global Alliance Partner. Its solutions are proven through large scale deployment and independent research. The company currently operates in 10 countries, impacting over 25m learners worldwide, through a network of local partners. Learn more at www.learningpossibilities.com

About Conceptarian Worx
Conceptarian Worx is the premier all-round education advisory firm with a network of over 50 premier education providers, providing top tier innovation and international standards within economic reach, to students across the Southern African region who aspire to study abroad. In partnership with Learning Possibilities, Conceptarian Worx will offer class leading technology applied in education, with local support.

Press Contact:

Learning Possibilities
Meena Jamfava
meena.jamfava@lpplus.com
www.learningpossibilities.com

Conceptarian Worx
Sue Bolt info@conceptarianworx.org
www.conceptarianworx.org

NTT DATA Press Release

The partnership will offer schools and governments’ solutions to help drive blended learning during this time of pandemic, enabling educators to support learners in school and at home.

 

Singapore, 11 November 2020 – Learning Possibilities (LP), the global education technology company, and NTT DATA Singapore Pte. Ltd. (NTT DATA), Trusted Global Innovator, today signed a partnership to jointly deliver technology and services to the education sector in Singapore

Dr Mehool Sanghrajka, CEO, Learning Possibilities, said, “We are delighted with this partnership. Our technology is cloud based, secure and highly scalable, and working with NTT DATA we can deliver to the customer both a personal experience as well as all the associated products and services. We look forward to serving schools in the country together.”

Learning Possibilities created and published ‘LP+ ADOPT’ the UK National Framework for Adoption of Technology Platforms in Schools, as well as delivering the highly successful Hwb+ national platform for Wales.  It opened its regional office in Singapore in 2019 to expand to the Asia Pacific region.

Ridwan Othman, Head of Education at NTT Data said, “Educational institutions around the region are innovating new ways to keep students safe, engaged and connected – while COVID-19 continues to disrupt the educational landscape. With our solutions that combine the best of breed technology and pedagogy solutions, students can confidently collaborate with educators simultaneously, irrespective of them being on campus or at home.”

LP+ technology, which runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud leveraging Office 365, has four major technologies/solution/platform paving new ways for more immersive and inclusive learning experiences.

  1. school assessment for blended learning,
  2. management of student identity and access,
  3. learning, content and collaboration platforms, and
  4. device management solutions

Dr. Rani Burchmore, Asia Pacific Education Industry Lead, Microsoft Asia Pacific, said, “This agreement between Microsoft partners, NTT Data & Learning Possibilities, brings education specific expertise, proven technology, local support and infrastructure. This union will drive educational impact on Microsoft 365 by further replicating the results of best practice we are now seeing. They make a powerful team.”

About Learning Possibilities

Learning Possibilities is a social enterprise founded in 2007, delivering award-winning secure, affordable and scalable education technology to schools and ministries of education. It has been a Microsoft Gold Partner for over 10 years and is also Microsoft’s Global Alliance Partner. Its solutions are proven through large scale deployment and independent research. The company currently operates in 10 countries, impacting over 25m learners worldwide, through a network of local partners.

Learn more at www.learningpossibilities.com

Meena Jamfava
meena.jamfava@lpplus.com

About NTT Data

NTT DATA partners with clients to navigate and simplify the modern complexities of business and technology, delivering the insights, solutions and outcomes that matter most. We deliver tangible business results by combining deep industry expertise with applied innovations in digital, cloud and automation across a comprehensive portfolio of consulting, applications, and infrastructure and business process services.

To find out more please visit us at https://www.nttdata.com/sg/en

Media Contact:                                                  jean.chua@nttdata.com

Education Business Contact:                         ridwan.othman@nttdata.com

Building a social enterprise – a Founder’s view

I was excited to have been recently interviewed by the London Law Collective, on my inspirations, successes and challenges in founding Learning Possibilities, a social enterprise, and advice I would offer to others. You can see the interview on their website.

How do we think about data

At Learning Possibilities we have handled data for millions of young people. Protecting learner data was paramount in the design of the LP+365 platform, and continues to be our #1 focus area. Our initial selection of a Tier 4 data centre, and subsequently the Microsoft Azure Cloud were based predominantly on security considerations.

Today, we continue to embed data security and access management into our platform. This includes data sovereignty to ensure that the location of the data, even within the cloud, is guaranteed.

We ensure that the data is encrypted at every level, and with strong identity management, access is limited to appropriate functionality and resources. Every user has an individual login ID and password which provides access to the platform. This can be strengthen by adding multi factor authentication.

Every system that has human interfaces also has potential vulnerabilities. However, our tiered approach is designed to minimise these, to ensure the safety and security of our learners, whilst they benefit from our learning and collaboration platforms.

LPPlus365 Design

In initially designing LP+365, we took our inspiration from many places. In this blog I wanted to share some of our thoughts during this process.

Firstly I have been a long term user of the iPhone. I see from my own experience, as well as those of other iPhone users, that they use their iPhones for long periods during the day. However, not all iPhone users have the same apps on their phone. Its this ability to select the apps that you want that makes us heavy iPhone users. From an app perspective we all use different apps, but from a phone perspective we are heavy phone users.

Similarly we wanted to ensure high levels of adoption of the LP+365 platform and so we designed it with a selection of tools, rather than a process for teaching. Therefore you will find in LP+365 that there are many ways to do most tasks, and we let the teacher select the tool that suits them. For example, an assignment may be set on the Quiz tool, Assignment tool, Class Notebook, or as an emailed Word Document. A teacher will select the tool that is most appropriate, perhaps based on the tool’s features, or the devices and connectivity available, their own IT-confidence etc. They are not limited to a process, or a single tool. In this way each teacher will use the tools they want, but the app itself sees heavy and regular usage.

Secondly of all the apps on my iPhone, I probably use ‘WhatsApp’ most frequently. I have never had to learn how to use this app, and I find that new features are both instinctive and simple to use. I see that even my mother, who has little experience of technology, has mastered it. We wanted to make LP+365 similarly simple and so all the tools are presented in simple tiles. In addition all features are simplified, with 1 minute – ‘how to’ videos added to each tile, and a selection of languages to use them. Many teachers tell us that as soon as they have mastered one tile, they are able to use the other without formal training.

Does it work? In practice, we see even in very large deployments that more than 90% of schools use LP+365 regularly, and as a result evidence shows that learners gain key digital skills.

Q&A

If you missed the Microsoft Webinar today, or simply want to review the contents, then welcome to our blog!

The full webinar can be found here.

During the webinar, we had a number of questions which we have answered below. If you have other questions, please contact us.

Q. Is the LP+365 platform free or paid?

A. LP is a cloud based subscription platform. During COVID19, we are currently offering schools the App for free. (Until September).

Q. How can I install LP+365 in my school?

A. Please visit our COVID offer page or contact us.

Q. Does LP+365 work on all browsers, including tablets and mobiles?

A. Yes, LP+365 works on all devices, including tablets and mobiles and supports modern browsers including Edge, IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari etc.

Q. In remote areas can it be used offline?

A. Yes, LP+365 allows you to synchronise your files, notes, mail, calendars to be used offline. It will re-sync your changes when you are next online. We are currently working to expand this function.

Q. Does LP+365 support my language?

A. The user can select a language for his/her interface at any time from the languages available. If your language is not present, we can usually add it in a short time.

Q. Is this platform appropriate for four to seven-year old children?

A. Yes, the platform is designed to be used by students of all ages. We have seen learners from age 4, all the way to University.

Q. Do we need to sign up individually or through our school admin?

A. LP+365 works with a school’s Office 365 tenancy. The school therefore has to register and the portal will be accessible to all teachers and students at the school.

Q. Is this accessible if you have already your Microsoft account?

A. Yes, as long as the Microsoft account is through your school or college, you can register here.

Q. How can we teach pupils who are living in a far flung places?

A. LP+365 can be used to delivery resources to your class, manage assignments and start collaborative projects. Online classes can also be delivered using the integrated Teams and Skype functions.

Q. Are any certain Office 365 plans required to run this platform?

A. LP+365 works with all Office 365 educational plans, both free and paid.

Q. Is there an in depth demo of LP+365 available?

A. Please see the link to the Microsoft webinar above.  In addition, our training videos explain every aspect of the LP+365 platform and can be viewed here.

Q. Can the platform be used for adult students?

A. Yes, the platform can be used by colleges, universities and vocational training colleges.

Q. How is the data submitted online safeguarded and not prone to hacking?

A. All data is encrypted at rest and in transit, using several strong encryption protocols, and technologies that include Transport Layer Security/Secure Sockets Layer (TLS/SSL), Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

Q. How is Teams integrated within LP+365?

A. Teams in LP+365 offers teachers a virtual staffroom where they can communicate and collaborate. Teams also allows teachers the ability to have online classes.

Q. Can we set different types of assessments/assignments and also choose which students they go to?

A. Yes, the assignment tool allows you to set both formative and summative work, in many different formats, for individual students or the whole class.

The-New-Handshake

This week’s announcement by Cambridge University that it will conduct classes online only for the 2020-21 academic year is significant as it signals the real timelines for this pandemic. Most of us have been living with the hope that by the summer, or September at the latest, we will be back to the ‘old normal’ that we knew at the start of this year. What Cambridge’s announcement does is move this timeline from weeks and months, to years.

The ‘new normal’, as its now widely being called, is a radical departure which will dictate our lives for many years. Until there is a viable treatment for this pandemic, social distancing and face masks/gloves will remain the norm, which means schools and colleges will have to learn to operate in new ways.

I suspect Cambridge’s announcement also took into account the inability for international students (on whom British Universities have built their economic models) to travel to the UK. Just how other industries that will find social distancing difficult (travel, hospitality, retail) will now sustainably operate is still unclear.

In the first of these blogs, I discussed how EdTech may actually benefit from COVID. We have certainly seen a dramatic increase in the number of countries discussing possible platform solutions. The biggest change over the discussions of last 20 years is that everyone now understands the need for ‘elearning’, ‘learning platforms’ and ‘learning from home’.

However, most education technology today has been procured on the basis that its there to support classroom teaching. The new normal requires technology that also supports learning from home. Whilst currently most schools are using a mixture of free tools and resources to continue supporting learning, these will need to be replaced, as I discussed in my second COVID blog, with long term solutions. Focus has therefore shifted to the large platform providers – Microsoft and Google.

In any case, whilst we have the global issues of population growth, environmental destruction and rising temperatures; as well as the social issues of growing human inequality, inhumane farming methods and regional conflicts, it seems to be very possible that such pandemics will also sadly become the norm.

As schools choose to open over the next few months, I think there are already some indicators of the direction we all need to take. I have listed my five below;

1. Firstly, schools will have to develop hybrid models for many months or even years. A combination of learn at home with some face-to-face teaching.

2. Secondly, this means that teachers will need support to become more familiar with technology, and in teaching learners remotely.

3. Thirdly digital skills will become even more critical; not just for learning from home, but in the new economy where working from home will also become the norm.

4. Fourth our exam systems, which were the first casualty, early in this pandemic, are unlikely to survive the pandemic and will need to be reevaluated.

5. Lastly, focus in education will move towards platforms, content, devices and connectivity as governments consider how to support all their learners.