We are thrilled to extend a warm welcome to Anne Taylor, our newest team member who joins us as a valuable addition to both our company and the exciting TIESEA project. With her impressive expertise and remarkable accomplishments, Anne brings a wealth of knowledge and fresh perspectives to our organization. We are confident that her presence will greatly contribute to our collective goals and drive our project to new heights.
Anne Taylor: A Rising Star in the Field
Anne Taylor has over 20 years of experience at Microsoft in sectors such as public sector, education, commercial and underserved audiences. She knows how to meet the diverse needs of customers in different contexts, such as government agencies, schools, universities, and non-profit organizations.
She was previously the Industry Manager for education in Asia Pacific at Microsoft, where she drove digital transformation in education systems by providing technology-enabled solutions for innovation and change. She has a growth mindset and a results-oriented approach that helps her tackle complex challenges.
In 2021 she won the Women in ICT Innovation award for her creative thinking and innovation. She led the efforts to integrate te reo Māori into the technology used by thousands of Kiwis daily, such as Microsoft Translator and Minecraft Education Edition.
Her key skills include the ability to lead teams with relationships and influence across multiple geographies and customers. She can work seamlessly across complex, matrixed environments with multiple stakeholders and business units.
We extend a warm welcome to Anne Taylor as she joins our company and takes on a crucial role in the TIESEA project. With her impressive background, unwavering commitment to sustainability, and exceptional leadership skills, we are confident that she will play a pivotal role in driving our organization and the TIESEA initiative to new heights. Anne’s contributions will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact, pushing the boundaries of environmental sustainability and paving the way for a brighter future. We are excited to have her on board and eagerly anticipate the remarkable achievements that lie ahead!
We at Learning Possibilities (LPL) are deeply saddened by the untimely demise of our friend and colleague Dr Michael Lightfoot, who passed away in his sleep on 27th March 2023. Michael headed up the education business at Learning Possibilities and contributed to our many projects and developments. He was a regular during our popular COVID webinar series.
Most recently, Michale was LPL’s project lead on the groundbreaking ADB “Technology-Enabled Innovation in Education in SE Asia” project.
Throughout his career, Dr. Lightfoot demonstrated unwavering dedication and passion for the field of education. His wisdom, visionary leadership and deep expertise paved the way for transformative changes in the lives of countless students and educators.
Dr. Lightfoot’s impact extended far beyond his professional accomplishments. He possessed an innate ability to inspire and empower those around him, fostering a collaborative and supportive environment within the team. His infectious enthusiasm and unwavering commitment to excellence left an indelible mark on all who worked alongside him.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Dr. Lightfoot was a cherished friend and confidant. He approached life with kindness, empathy, and an innate ability to connect with others on a personal level. His genuine care for the well-being and growth of those around him created a lasting legacy of warmth and compassion.
As we mourn the loss of Dr. Michael Lightfoot, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and all who were touched by his presence. May his memory serve as a guiding light, reminding us of a dedicated individual’s profound impact on the world.
It was an honour to have spoken at the UK House EdTech event at the Commonwealth Games over the summer. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has been the biggest sporting and cultural event to be staged in the UK for a decade, and it was the largest event ever held in the West Midlands region.
UK House showcased the UK’s expertise to a global audience, driving new partnerships, trade and investment opportunities. With a dedicated day for Education, it was a great opportunity to present our solutions for school recovery after the tremendous learning loss over the past few years.
Watch the full presentation below.
As some of you may remember, last year we held several events fundraising for the Peter Tabichi Foundation, to support the build of new classrooms for students at the Keriko School in Nakuru, Kenya.
We are excited to announce that construction has begun! Last week a location was chosen as the most suitable site for the construction work to take place, along with the installation of a borehole water pump. The water pump will provide access to clean water in the school and help in other areas such as handwashing, catering services, gardening, and provision of water to the local community – water scarcity has been one of the major challenges in the village!
UK Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya, presents Learning Possibilities’ donation to Peter Tabichi Foundation
We are delighted that yesterday, HE Julius Court, the UK Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya visited Brother Peter at Keriko Secondary School in Nakuru, Kenya to hand over a cheque from our fundraising events this year. It was a joyful day, with teachers, students, parents, educators, government leaders and other invited guests present.
“I take this time to thank you for your generous support. We promise to ensure that the funds benefit the children. The classroom project will be kicking off as soon as possible and I will keep you updated. Thank you and be blessed.”
-Brother Peter Tabichi
Once again, we would like to thank everyone who has kindly donated to a truly great cause. In total we raised £10,409 . We look forward to seeing the progress of the classroom build and will keep you updated! The funds will be used towards the development of a classroom block at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School.
“As a social enterprise with a mission to enhance education outcomes, we are delighted that the provision of new classrooms in Keriko will over its lifetime aid thousands of students from deprived backgrounds learn and gain useful employment. We look forward to working with Brother Peter in continuation of the development of the school.” Commented Learning Possibilities CEO, Dr Mehool Sanghrajka
On behalf of Learning Possibilities, Baijul Shah and Rumit Shah, we would like to say a huge thank you to all our players, sponsors and partners for your generosity and support at our first Peter Tabichi Foundation Golf Event! The weather could have been better, but it did not stop us from raising an incredible £9,065 and for that we are thankful!
This event comes at a prominent time where issues have been heightened due to the coronavirus pandemic. The money raised will support Brother Peter’s foundation to build new classrooms for students at the Keriko School in Nakuru, Kenya. This will help hundreds of children over the coming years and bring greater prosperity to the region.
Peter Tabichi is a science teacher and Franciscan Brother who gives away 80% of his monthly income to help those in need. In 2019 Brother Peter won the Global Teacher Prize Award after being recognised for his dedication and hard work ensuring local and underprivileged children gained a proper education.
His village is made up of different tribes and the lives of these children can be tough, especially in a region where drought and famine are frequent. Most pupils come from poor families and almost a third are orphans or only have one parent. Their school, where Brother Peter is a teacher at, is in a very remote area with some children walking up to 7km along roads that become impassable during rainy season.
Brother Peter’s vision is to promote access to quality education through empowering the disadvantaged children in the community. His mission is to embrace opportunities of 21st century education to unlock the potential of these disadvantaged children.
We hope this event will be the first of many in supporting this worthy cause and bettering the education for the children in Nakuru.
Visit the website for further details on the Peter Tabichi Foundation: https://petertabichi.com/
In an aim to reach our £10,000 target, the Learning Possibilities team will be walking 26-miles in one day along the Jurassic Coast on Saturday 28th August – if you would like to sponsor us on this challenge, please visit our page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/vishaal-shah
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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?
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.
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.