As we reflect on a successful 8 years of holding the national contract for digital wales we look back on the impact the platform had in inculcating Microsoft technologies into schools across wales.

 

Check out the Microsoft blog below & take a look back at the successful project:

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/ukschools/2015/07/30/hwb-and-digital-wales-guest-post-from-gerald-haigh/

 

Level: K-12

Usage: 100%

Initiative: Monitoring and measuring learning outcomes

 

Key Findings…

Enjoyed sharing resources and sending messages via the app. Easy to communicate particularly useful using the announcement and discussion tools.

 LP+365 enables student engagement inside and outside of the classroom

LP+365 supports blended learning pedagogical scenarios

LP+365 develops self-paced personalised learning strategies

 

The Challenge

The Ashok Leyland School in the Hosur region of Tamil Nadu is committed to providing the best possible learning environment for a rapidly changing world. LP+365 is perfectly placed to support Ashok Leyland School’s sustainable and scalable model aiming to achieve a 20% improvement in learning levels of students as well as a 20% reduction in dropout rates and increase in attendance and engagement.

The success criteria for this project centred around being able to measure how far LP+365 helps at least three-quarters of the students are able to integrate technology with their lesson, collaborating and sharing their views and ideas across collaboration tools.

 

Chandrachoodeshwaran M, Microsoft digital learning coordinator at Ashok Leyland School said:

“The students have really enjoyed integrating digital technology into their pedagogical journey. Using the Office 365 toolset integrated into the LP+365 app makes teaching more time efficient.”

Result…

For teachers, the advantages of the LP+365 learning and collaboration platform are clear. LP+365 enables the school to reach the government set goals to improve not only student learning outcomes but the collaboration tools contribute towards improving attendance and student engagement.

Chandrachoodeshwaran M explained adding the ability to personalise content has had a positive outcome on focused learning:

“The auto-provisioned Class Notebook is a major advantage of the app over using OneNote, improving class collaboration.”

Click here to find out more about LP+365 or Click here to arrange a FREE demo

We are thrilled to announce the new multi-lingual feature on LP+365.

The LP+365 multilingual interface is now available in beta, and allows students and teachers to seamlessly switch between languages in the menu bar. The language options are unlimited and supports multiple scripts, for example Arabic and the Indian languages.

Languages can be selected dynamically by the user and the choice of language is determined by the global administrator. Having the right language drives adoption of the platform and the embedding of LP+ technology into daily use.

The new feature will help students to…

✔ Learn new languages

✔ Improve the fluency of native languages

✔ Be part of the international community

✔ Develop digital skills using their native language

The feature helps teachers to…

✔ Drive usage of the app and improve digital literacy

✔  Improve students adoption of new languages

✔  Help teachers communicate with international students

Check out the multi-lingual promo video to find out more…

 

As always we’d love to hear from you and your thoughts about the new updates. Contact us on Twitter or Facebook to let us know what you think!

 

The LP+ Tech Team have been busy bug fixing & updating the app to improve it’s performance in the classroom:

✔Students are now able to begin their assignments directly through email hyperlinks

✔Improved links to picture tile thumbnails

✔Optimised performance for retrieval of blog categories

✔Improved Assignment views to meet web accessibility standards

✔Calendar bug fixes and improved views in all browsers

✔Improved provisioning of special characters in Class Notebook

✔Improved ability to export active licence info for user accounts

✔Progressive Web App now includes the analytics feature in the full school app

✔Mobile browser optimisation

✔New Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 optimisation

 

We’d love to hear from you and your thoughts about the new updates or answer any questions you have about these changes. Contact us on Twitter or Facebook to let us know what you think!

Looking back, we were delighted with our participation numbers, the quantity of resources and of children’s work, the sheer scale, our confirmed hunches about the future, and of the way that our decisions about tight protection at all times of our users’ privacy, have proved to be absolutely correct.

But looking back there are some useful lessons from the project – which Microsoft confirmed as “a global showcase and an example of how technology can support change in educational practice” (Larry Nelson, Worldwide Managing Director). These aren’t a criticism of the past, just a useful set of key learnings from this vast project to inform everyone’s future practice:

  1. Building a platform for all the children in a nation is complex. If you do it really well, no one will know just how complex it was! For the Hwb+ system has used 821 GB which includes 42 GB of public facing Web site files (Read More). But technology helps complexity to be managed. That technology will change and it is important to have eyes on the horizon whilst the practical feet on the ground stuff is happening. As an example the work we did to plug in data analytics is important in 2018, but will be enormously more important by 2020.

 

  1. Secondly, it is easy for policymakers to forget about the children from time to time. Our Welsh users created an enormous amount of work – from blogs and poems to coursework and exam material. This isn’t just a vast repository of their good work, it is a valuable historical archive that will be increasingly valuable as time passes. Thought needs to be given to that resource before it gets to be too big to cherish.

 

  1. Of course, teachers are without a doubt the most hardworking group of professionals on the planet. They are smart, qualified, passionate about their children and often exhausted! Enabling their professional development needs to be about reducing their burden as teachers whilst making their teaching even more effective. That rarely happens from a top-down approach to CPD. We have very much wanted to support CPD using the wisdoms that were emerging from our most passionate users – by teachers for teachers. It is hard for top-down national policy to directly support bottom-up developments. That needs careful and enlightened planning.

 

  1. Analysing raw server data is difficult. The easy numbers are rarely actually simple. For example users might share computers, might amass work off-line connecting less regularly, might contribute multiple media as well as text, might be the indispensable “heart and soul of the community” but without contributing much formally, and so on. We really believe that good research can reveal far better insights than simple KPIs. That good research needs to be built in and funded, and part of the dialogue with users.

 

  1. But finally, as we had confirmed by so many tweets and blogs and conversations and enthusiastic children: this was worth doing. With almost 200 countries in the world, the baton is being passed on from Wales. What those countries do next will be even more interesting…

Our six year contract with the Welsh government has now reached its conclusion; following the three year extension after an independent review confirming its “value for money”. Time to look back, and forwards!

Our conversations with the government began in 2012 and rightly there was a complex and competitive procurement route to follow from there. Nevertheless, everyone wanted to get started as quickly as possible; a year would seem a very long wait for a five year old! Hwb+ began quickly, and grew even quicker. We launched the project with Leighton Andrews, the then Education Minister in 3 months, Andrews referred to the project as a “world-class system for those aged 3 to 19” (Source: BBC, 2012). At Learning Possibilities we are proud of the scale and impact of our work in Wales with 540,0000 active accounts and 87% of schools logging in in 2017 (Read More) and being referred to by Microsoft as “one of the largest deployments of its type” (Larry Nelson, Worldwide Managing Director).

The last decade has seen so many new technology developments: satnav on your phone, Snapchat, Instagram, üBer, 4G networking, properly smart watches, the Hadron Collider, Siri with Alexa and friends, and so much more. Our project began on a very fast moving conveyor belt of global innovation and we felt that all our design work had to be “future aware”. Even our six years with the Welsh government have proved to be a long time in technology-years. As the contract’s years passed, we added everything from Skype conferencing to big data analytics, but also pragmatic things like off-line working and many more terabytes of storage. Not everything needed to evolve; our initial certainty about the importance of user privacy might have seemed a bit obsessive at the outset, but has proved to be prescient as recent scandals about data privacy have shown. Welsh students’ data safely housed in the UK now looks very clearly the right call. What evolved in this case was others’ understanding of online danger.

Perhaps most interestingly, where Hwb+ had begun perhaps as a shared learning platform, it became the cement in a community of learners and one with a designed future-proofing, because we knew, and know, the emerging and changing needs of learners.

One key lesson from Finland’s much lauded education system is of the importance of collaboration and exchange between schools going forwards. As the OECD put it: “Children entering school in 2018…  Will need to be responsible and empowered, placing collaboration above division, and sustainability above short-term gain” (Read more here). That OECD vision of collegiality and collaboration needs more than a tool to support blogs, chats, homework and content. It needs accessible and visual data that allows the individual to model and compare their efforts, and for teams to see who has done what, for whom.

The Welsh government were prescient back in 2012 to commission the very tool that would allow their users to build national collaboration. What started as a platform finished looking very much like a conduit for community.

And now, as we move forward it is perhaps no surprise to the see the level of interest from other nations as they too seek to make their learning better and to build the sense of togetherness that is looking more and more important as a slightly unstable world moves forward.

We were hugely proud of what we did in wales, but even more excited to see what we can do for other nations as they realise the power of collaborative spaces for learners and professionals alike, on-line and face to face. One important dimension in that collaboration is the role of language and of course our Welsh project was properly bi-lingual with Welsh and English to the fore. Technology is only just starting to hint at its ability to allow collaboration across cultures, but surely nothing is more important socially? Technology might eventually bring us something akin to Douglas Adam’s Babelfish, but without evolving the habit of equitable cross cultural collaboration, such wonderful technologies will be wasted.

Six years of progress? Well yes, but for us it was also 6 years of clarity in our understanding of what learners and teachers need, worldwide. Can’t wait to see what the next 6 years bring…

As a school student (and that was a good few years ago now – think flared trousers and too much hair!) I loved mathematics. We were one of just two pilot schools for the then revolutionary School Mathematics Project. SMP focussed on things such as sets, graphs, Boolean logic, non-Cartesian co-ordinate systems, non-decimal number systems, matrices, vectors and more. It was visual, relevant (I still see the world in Venn diagrams!) and exciting. I did well, but then suddenly along came “A” levels; sadly, there was then no “A” level SMP maths, so I was plunged into a mysterious world of calculus, quadratics and algebra in general. It was like waking up in a foreign country, confused.

Years later, when the I first watched a (huge) supercomputer solving a quadratic equation I remember thinking how handy it would have been to access that kind of helpful power, day to day during my “A” levels. Sadly, that supercomputer’s cost ran into millions of pounds, and filled a room when we installed it in Westminster. Actually, it remains the most expensive and largest computer that I ever purchased.

Today however, thanks to the miracle that is captured in Moore’s Law (where Gordon Moore noted that overall processing power for computers doubled every two years or so), much more power than that huge early supercomputer is in today’s sleek phones, tablets, and laptops. As the hardware has got better, the software has got cheaper too! As a big fan of OneNote, it still amazes me that this simple tool has the power to let you type in, and then watch, as OneNote solves mathematical equations using many mathematical functions.

However, this is not about just solving those equations, it is about understanding those solutions and OneNote will helpfully step you through all the stages of a solution. You can repeat, review, vary and solve as often as you like. Repeat until understood. Brilliant!

This all matters of course, because in a world of big data and of algorithms, good mathematicians are scarce. Kids dreaming of a career as a Games designer need good maths. A career in health needs good maths, practically every senior career post, including in schools, needs good mathematics. Now, if I can just build a time machine and take wonderful OneNote back to my “A” level maths paper…

Support Centre and App Updates

We are thrilled to finally be able to announce the exciting changes we have made to our App…

The Support Centre

The team have been working hard creating our new Support Centre.

✔ Packed with support and feature guides, how-to videos, case-studies and tips and tricks to get the most out of your App!

✔ Our Stephen Heppell feature page including blogs and articles written by the world renound Prof. Stephen Heppell

✔ We’ve moved the Support Centre from the side menu to the Global Navigation bar to make it more accessible, navigate to the Centre by clicking on the Support Centre icon!

How-To Support Videos

✔ We have created quick support videos demonstrating the main features of the App and how these can be utilised from a teacher and student perspective

✔ The videos can be accessed via the support centre or by selecting the video icon on each of the main features within the app

✔ The in-app video icons are off by default but can be toggled on from ‘Manage App Settings’ by an Admin User.

 

Announcements Update

✔ The Announcements tile in class/subject dashboard now allows html content to be added through a rich text editor

✔ You can format text and add in hyperlinks which will appear in the tile or the pop up window

 

New Pilot Programme

✔ We have decomissioned our preview App and removed this from the Microsoft Store to make way for our new pilot programme

Sign up for the free pilot of LP+365 to see how the App can transform the way you use Office 365!

 

As always we’d love to hear from you and your thoughts about the new updates. Contact us on Twitter or Facebook to let us know what you think.

Back in 2014, I was asked by the then ministers for schools – Michael Gove, for universities – David Willetts and for Industry – Matthew Hancock, to look forward at technology in learning by 2025 and to offer them some policy recommendations that would enable innovation, whilst deepening and accelerating learning. They also insisted that this should all be “fun”.

With a wonderful team in our Educational Technology Action Group, we were able to fairly clearly define that world of Future Learning. Today in 2018 it is apparent just how accurate were with our predictions and it is interesting to consider the implication of these future directions today.

Firstly, we suggested that even by 2020 we would know a lot more about the little details of better learning. Taking a cue perhaps from Olympic and elite sports, it is the aggregation of those little marginal gains that build remarkable progress. In Education, this means attention to every detail from behaviour protocols to the temperature, light, CO2 and sound levels in our learning environments. For example, small mobile devices have enabled children to monitor their own noise levels. In a London school, this means an old tablet running a decibel meter app on a stand with two children watching it and successfully nagging their peers to keep volumes down. In a Sydney school, it means BYOP (Bring Your Own Plant) as children bring their own plants in to boost oxygen and minimise CO2 levels. Just as with health, as we know more about how to improve things, it is the children who take action to make their learning better. In a world of cloud data and the internet of things, they are increasingly well armed to do precisely this.

Secondly, we could see that learning was going global. With great video linking tools like Skype and some powerful real-time translation technologies doing the hard world in global activity, the challenge is now helping children to understand the difference between doing project work with other students on the same line of longitude (and with school day times that are roughly aligned) or with other students on the same line on latitude (who can carry on working whilst our student sleep). The only way to do this is through online collaboration and the opportunities for that have never been better with online platforms and tools like our own LP+365.

Finally, it was already clear in 2014 that emerging technologies are becoming ever more personal, with phones and watches offering remarkable power already and folk watching bespoke TV channels or contributing their own.

These three trends put children themselves (and indeed all learners) very much at the heart of future learning’s progress. If learning going more personal is not to become a solitary lonely world, then schools and others need to work hard at collaboration and collegiality. Doing things together matters. As the PISA tests so beloved by politicians evolve it is no surprise today to see collaborative problem-solving at the heart of the new capabilities that PIS seeks to use to rank nations.

So, future learning is already very much with us. We know more about better learning and need to apply it, learning is going global and needs strategies, whilst our learners need voice and vote in making their own learning better. This all sounds like to most exciting future for us all as of course, the pace of change is remarkable. 2025 will be here, as we promised in ETAG, by 2020!

The G-Cloud Framework is an agreement to tender for or to be approached for government digital delivery. The services LP provide are broken down into two categories, Cloud Software and Cloud Support.

LP are excited to continue to be listed in the G-Cloud 10 Framework to deliver their LP+365 App to the public sector. LP+365 is the latest development from LP, a learning and collaboration platform built using all the major features of Office 365 along with communication and collaboration tools built on one simple and easy to use dashboard.

With previous opportunities from G-Cloud 9, LP are excited for the continued business ventures moving forward on G-Cloud 10 to provide digital cloud services.

About Learning Possibilities
Learning Possibilities has a Global Alliance with Microsoft and is a Gold certified Partner implementing e-learning solutions with expertise in cloud computing for education and government customers. Our mission at Learning Possibilities is to enhance teaching and learning to help students achieve more. Learning Possibilities’ LP+365 App is developed in partnership with Microsoft, built on our award winning ADOPT Framework and using all major features of Office 365 the App provides the easiest learning and collaboration platform to adopt Microsoft technologies. Find out more at https://lpplus.com/