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.

CV3: the ‘New Normal’

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.

CV2: School is closed. Now what…?

Another week of the COVID 19 virus has passed and for many teachers, and employees, remote teaching/working is now a reality, and likely to stay for the long(er) term.

Many schools and universities are desperately applying ‘sticking plaster’ to their hastily compiled remote learning strategies with a mixture of free digital services and content. Whilst this may do the job until schools reopen, the #CoronaVirus should be a wakeup call as it continues to demonstrate our vulnerabilities.

Once schools return, many Heads will start looking at long term solutions. Whilst there are many free digital solutions on the market (#Microsoft #Office365, #Google #Classroom etc.), there is a need in schools for wider considerations.

It thought it would be useful to list my top five below.

1.    Data Security

Security of learner data is paramount, regardless of the solution. Wherever your data come from (SIS, MIS, LIS, spreadsheets, databases etc), it needs to work seamlessly with your digital platforms, providing learners with correct access to classes and the right user privileges. Equally important is where your platform data is stored. Do you know who has access to it? Can it be used by others for marketing or advertising? Does it meet legal and other security requirements?

2.    Which platform should I choose?

There are many digital platforms, it is important to pick the right one. Distance teaching and learning is one of many potential uses. Content management, assignments, collaborative projects, testing and communications are some of the many functions of a good integrated platform. It should also consider local needs with multiple languages, interfaces for different ages, strategies for poor connectivity (or offline learning) and ease of use for the teacher. It’s important to build CPD strategies and develop areas that are important to your school and appropriate for your infrastructure.

3.    Efficacy

Until the Corona Virus outbreak shut schools, remote teaching (in most schools) had been largely a theoretical phenomenon. Schools saw clear benefits in learners accessing work from home, submitting assignments or contributing to projects, but these were largely supplemental to the work that happened in class. A good solution must have proven efficacy, be easy to use and give the teacher a range of tools to suit different teaching styles. This will encourage both platform adoption and skilling-up for teachers.

4.    Stakeholders

Apart from the teachers and learners, there are many other important stakeholders. Direction from the leadership is critical for any digital project to succeed, let alone one that needs fundamental change management. This should be at government, regional and school level. Equally important is the training and support teachers receive, as well as the availability of devices and connectivity.

5.    Hurdles

In my experience, all digital projects face similar hurdles. Policy funding is usually critical, as it an understanding of ongoing funding requirements. Likewise there has always been unjustified fear that technology will replace teachers.

At this time, many schools are focused on completing the academic year with whatever resources and platforms they can use. That is important. But in the longer term, a clear strategy and plan will be invaluable.

The author is Founder and CEO of #EdTech business Learning Possibilities which provides the #LP+365 platform. Please contact us if you need advice, help or support.

Italy’s announcement to close its schools won’t be the last. Schools in other countries are also closed as the virus gets a firm grip on everything from travel to sport to medicine supply.

Coronavirus: Italy to close all schools as deaths rise

Over the past two decades education reformists have had visions of self paced learning, online collaboration and enabling meaningful learning outside school. All attempts so far have struggled because the exam systems rarely look for these skills and teaching to the test is still the norm in many parts of the world.

It is well known that digital both engages learners and provides skills necessary for employment. However connectivity, devices and classroom management all pose real world challenges.

This vision will now have to finally become a reality. The virus is here to stay, and schools will have to quickly learn to distribute resources, teach and manage online assignments, and collaborate/communicate digitally. Whether this is through free tools provided by Google and Microsoft, or more structured platforms such as LP+365, the reality is that schools will have to become like workplaces, many of whom have also asked employees to work from home.

After 5 successful years working in Elstree, we are thrilled to be moving our UK based office to Croxley Business Park!

Why are we moving?

As a social enterprise Learning Possibilities wanted to move to an environmentally friendly working space in which the team can continue to be productive and work towards their mission of transforming the education of millions of learners world wide.

Why Croxley Business Park?

The park is a completely environmentally friendly working space with on-site food composting to cardboard bailing and rainwater harvesting. 100% renewable energy, provide charging points for electric vehicles, run a park-wide car-sharing scheme, bike spaces, beekeeping, Environmentally aware schemes on the park- Zero waste to landfill, 100% waste recycled, 100% renewable energy source, on-site food composting and cardboard bailing, rainwater harvesting, Park-wide car share scheme and charging points for electric cars.

Well Connected Hub More than just a great place to do business, Croxley Park is a well-connected hub, and home to a thriving community of more than 60 companies and 2400 employees

Croxley Park’s amenities and exciting events programme building stronger connections for working life

Contact us to learn more about our new exciting working space or to arrange a demonstration of our learning solutions.

 

 

Capita-Managed-IT-Solutions-and-Learning-Possibilities-Limited-announce-exclusive-partnership-offering-award-winning-App-to-schools-throughout-UK-and-Ireland-2

Capita Managed IT Solutions is thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership with Learning Possibilities Limited, the UK’s leading cloud based learning platform provider, offering the award-winning LP+365 App to schools throughout Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The LP+365 App has transformed the way schools use Microsoft Office 365, providing a digital solution to the management of teaching and education resources.

Imagine a scenario whereby students and teachers can instantly communicate and collaborate with one another, can access homework assignments, online textbooks and projects remotely from school, home or indeed any location with internet access.

The app effectively presents both teacher and student with a ‘virtual school’ that can be accessed using any computer, tablet device or smartphone. Running on the Microsoft Azure cloud, the LP+365 App has transformed Microsoft Office 365 into a school Learning and Collaboration System that’s accessible anytime, anywhere.

A leading IT Services organisation delivering cloud, end-to-end IT Solutions, and IT Managed Services, Capita Managed IT Solutions has garnered a reputation as a specialist in the EdTech arena, having accumulated over 30 years’ experience within Primary, Post-Primary, Further and Higher Education sectors.

Learning Possibilities collaboration with Microsoft began in 2003 with the development of the first cloud based Microsoft SharePoint learning platform. Since then it has signed a Global Alliance with Microsoft and this year was named ‘Finalist – Microsoft Education Partner of the Year’. The LP+365 App captures the essence of the LP+ platform, which is contracted to over one million users across the UK and brings a teaching and learning focused approach to Microsoft Office 365.
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A Decade of Success

students collaborating using technology

Learning Possibilities 10 Year Anniversary

Learning Possibilities turned a decade old on the 23rd of May this year. Many of our competitors, sadly, didn’t make it to 2017 and some wisdom was lost from education as a result. But our little family of folk are still together, still focused on education and still caring about making learning better, with some considerable success, to my delight. We haven’t really found time to properly celebrate our anniversary because life is so busy. We have projects kicking off in Vietnam and Malaysia this month alone.

But I thought I would mark the moment by looking back over our first decade, and to reflect on the decade to come too. Of course the world wide web code was released further back in 1995 and those early pre Learning Possibilities years were very much about publishing “stuff” on-line. Files and web pages had a Uniform Resource Locator, the URL, and it was all about those resources. Content was going to be king, as a number of publishers tried to persuade me, but my first advent calendar right at the dawn of the WWW immediately created a little community of users, chatting on-line together. It wasn’t Content that was king, but we saw that Community might perhaps be sovereign!. People had enjoyed their bulletin boards and simple forums from back into the 1980s, schools had logged in to services like Campus 2000, or The Times Network for Schools (TTNS) with their new fangled modems, but by 2007 a decade of progress had seen those “walled” and isolated bulletin boards embrace a new web based ability to be connected and interlinked to all, thanks to web protocols.

In the UK a 1997 promise by the incoming Blair government to give every child an email address by the millennium (MillieMail) was dropped (sigh) but the principles and code underpinning it produced some very interesting communities: 21,000 headteachers on-line in Talking Heads from 1999 for example, or the then Guinness Book of Records World’s largest Internet learning Project in Tesco SchoolNet 2000 with computer labs in every store and an exhortation to take part on every carrier bag. These projects, and others too, set the tone: people liked to work together on-line asynchronously, to have an audience for their work, and to see what others were doing too. As usual, in education the UK was pioneering and leading.

Around the world others were arriving, a little late, to the party too. Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University student Eduardo Saverin set up Facebook for fellow students in 2004; Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams set up Twitter in 2006. Dorsey was an undergraduate student at New York University and you will notice how all this innovation comes out of education.

HoloLens – New Technologies

I remember chatting with Biz early on – we were sharing a conference platform – about the moment that he realised how powerful social platforms might be (it was really the Iranian Elections in 2009) beyond education.

Meanwhile, at the Department of Education Charles Clarke’s civil servants had published “Towards a Unified e-Learning Strategy”. These were the days when UK educational policy still led the world in the way that it embraced technology to make learning better. Charlie Clarke had a teenage son, so he really did understand what was needed! One result of this reflection was a commitment to learning platforms, to getting every child connected and Learning Possibilities was just one of those initial platforms.

A lot has happened during our first decade:
the iPhone appeared first in 2007 and Apple dropped the word Computer from its company name; Google Streetview also appeared that year – the earliest images were captured with a tripod mounted camera on a tricycle!; Dropbox was founded. Gmail appeared finally in 2009, that same year Über and AirBnB were founded; in 2010 the collapsed Palm company (remember Palm Pilots?) was sold to Hewlett Packard, and in 2011 Microsoft bought Skype. By 2011 ARM – the UK chipmaker that had grown out of dear old Acorn, the BBC B’s maker, announced that there were more ARM chips on the planet than arms (assuming that most but not all folk had two arms) and from 2013 people were using their arms to swipe left or right in Tinder – changing dating for many for ever. By 2014 so much had happened that the Science Museum in London opened its first Information Age gallery to look back at all this heady progress. It is the most wonderful place to visit because many of you will have the exhibits on show also in your attics.

Whats next?

So what happens next? What does the future at Learning Possibilities look like? We have some dramatic technologies coming along: machine learning and artificial intelligence, adaptive testing and smart learning, telepresence, virtual and augmented realities, new tiny form factors for our smart little silicon friends – the Apple Watch, Fitbit straps. We have connected devices as The Internet of Things revolution spreads. We have Google Lens turning your camera into a search engine, and there are new ways to interact with our technology via intelligent agents like Cortana and Siri. We have remarkable new insights from neuroscience, and we have neural networks now, with quantum computing soon – proper computing power!

But this isn’t technological determinism. As teachers and students we still need to decide how best to use these new techs. I happen to believe that the most innovative and best ways to use these new technologies should continue to come from education. We have myriad curious and ingenious young minds to take us forward if we give them the freedom to explore through their makerspaces and beyond.

And here at Learning Possibilities we continue to keep our eyes on the horizon and our feet on the ground – adding new tech power where it is needed, keeping a watching brief where the uses are less obvious. Our certainty going forwards is that children love to learn and they love to learn with others. We intend to keep providing ways to let them enjoy doing just that.

London, United Kingdom — June 1, 2017Learning Possibilities, today announced it has been named a finalist in the 2017 Microsoft Public Sector: Education Partner of the Year Award. The company was honoured among a global field of top Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology. (more…)

Learning Possibilities are delighted to be exhibiting on the HP stand at BETT Middle East 2017. This follows on from two successful events at BETT Asia and BETT UK where we exhibited in partnership with HP and Microsoft.

The exhibition to be held at the Dusit Thani in Abu Dhabi on 25-26 April 2017, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

Mehool Sanghrajka, CEO, Learning Possibilities commented:

“Following our successful event at BETT UK we are excited to be on the HP stand at BETT Middle East. We look forward to meeting our partners and customers over the two days.”

For further details please visit https://middleeast.bettshow.com/

For many, a new year means new goals, challenges and adventures.
For the team here at Learning Possibilities this is no different, and we certainly have plenty planned throughout 2017 to support our mission, (more…)