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.
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.
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.
Learning Possibilities recognized as finalist for 2017 Microsoft Public Sector: Education Partner of the Year Award
London, United Kingdom — June 1, 2017 — Learning 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…)
I remember when we first connected schools together using online technologies in the 1980s, it seemed like the future was already here! (more…)
Learning Possibilities and E-W Information Systems in Sri Lanka sign Agreement to deliver market leading Learning Management System – LP+365
The LP+365 LMS App on E-W Information Systems (EWIS) devices will aid classroom collaborations, enabling educators and students to create and share in entirely new ways for immersive and inclusive learning experiences.
Colombo Sri Lanka 23 February 2017 – Learning Possibilities, a Microsoft Global Alliance Partner and E W Information Systems Ltd (EWIS), celebrating 30 years in the IT industry, have announced an agreement to roll out the fully featured LP+365 – Learning Management System (LMS), utilizing Microsoft Office 365, on EWIS devices. The roll-out was announced at a media conference attended by Hon. Sagala Ratnayaka – Minister of Law and Order and the Hon. Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Sanjeewa Wickramanayake – Chairman EWIS, Mehool Sanghrajka – CEO Learning Possibilities, Ms. Rani Burchmore – Education Partner Director Asia-Pacific Region Microsoft, and Brian Kealey – Microsoft Country Director Sri Lanka.
The LP+365 App, which is hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud, provides an intuitive user interface and personalized dashboard– leveraging the Office 365 cloud solution to aid classroom collaborations and assessments, engaging users to ensure a deeper learning.
With LP+365, teachers can add announcements, load resources and set assignments at a click of a button, while students can see their daily calendar, assigned homework, previous submissions, their particular class/subject site and curriculum material – all neatly organized and easily accessible. This includes instant access to favorite Office 365 Apps like Word, Class Notebook, PowerPoint, etc. LP+365 will enable educators and students to create and share in entirely new ways for a more immersive and inclusive learning experience.
EWIS has been a Microsoft Partner since 1997 and a Microsoft Education Partner since 2013, authorizing them to provide education solutions based on their cutting edge technology.
Sanjeewa Wickramanayake, Chairman EWIS said:
“In keeping with our Government’s vision to create a digitally inclusive next generation, we believe that this partnership will be of great value to students and educators, alike. Technology in education is so important now that we hope this platform will support and drive our next generation into digitalization.”
Mehool Sanghrajka, CEO Learning Possibilities, further added that:
“The LP+365 LMS for Office 365 is built on our award-winning technology. Our global partnership with Microsoft will mean that schools in various Asia Pacific markets will be able to use LP+365 to enhance the teaching and learning experience and drive employability skills.”
Ms. Rani Burchmore, Education Partner Director Asia-Pacific Region, Microsoft commented:
“The partnership with Learning Possibilities and E W Information Systems brings proven software and technology with local support to drive educational impact on Office 365 and replicate best practice and results that we have already seen.”
As a local company, one of the key features of E W Information Systems Ltd is education and empowerment of students through technology, knowledge and equipment. For the past three decades, E W Information Systems Ltd has been in the IT Industry and in 2013 opened Sri Lanka’s first Computer manufacturing plant which manufactures computers, desktops and tablet notebooks of international standards.
“With the Government’s vision for a digital transformation in classroom education, this agreement will enable users of our products to avail themselves to subjects such as Maths, Science and English through an easy-to-use app on their own devices,” added Wickramanayake.
About Learning Possibilities
Learning Possibilities are a Gold Certified Microsoft Partner implementing e-learning solutions with expertise in cloud computing for education and government customers. The Learning Possibilities’ LP+ platform built on Microsoft technologies is currently available to over 1 million users across the UK. In 2015 the company’s contract to supply the All Wales National learning platform (based on the award-winning LP+4 learning platform) to the Welsh Government was extended to 2018. An independent research done by Lancaster University in 2009 shows that the LP+ learning platform drives educational outcomes. Learning Possibilities has also published the LP+ Adopt e-maturity framework for schools, selected by Becta (UK Department of Education) as the National Learning Platform Adoption Model for England. See more on www.learningpossibilities.com
About E W Information Systems
E W Information Systems (EWIS) has 25 years of experience in the education sector, and is committed to offering client-oriented services focused on facilitating efficiency, innovation, and creativity through the field of Information Technology (IT). EWIS is a Gold Certified Microsoft Partner.
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…)
In conversation with Prof. Stephen Heppell – Learning Possibilities’ latest solution, LP+365 – Transforming Office 365, going Global
Back in 1965 Gordon Moore, who was a co-founder of Intel, noted that the number of transistors per square inch on a circuit board had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. Moore predicted that this trend would continue. As I look back on my (more than!) three decades of mixing new technology into the recipe for great learning I can see the impact of Moore’s Law right away. For example when my eldest daughter Juliette left her primary school at 11 I noted down every item of computer technology in that school. Ten years later as she emerged from undergraduate life (to become a teacher, of course) I could see that by then the tiny phone in her pocket outperformed her entire primary school’s technology provision from a decade earlier. A whole school network disappearing into a pupil pocket every decade. Wow. Moore’s Law predicted more power, and it delivered.
But the other side of that coin is that as the years progress you might alternatively enjoy the same power, but for a lot less money. The smart phone in your pocket could be replaced each year by one dramatically more powerful, or it might instead be purchased new for a lot less money as it is superseded by new models. Cheaper and cheaper, and cheaper yet.
Moore’s Law’s more bangs for less bucks bonus has been a constant throughout my teaching life. When we first connected children together with electronic mail and teletext (Prestel and Telecom Gold, to be precise) in the 1980s, the gateway that allowed their electronic mail writing to appear on the clunky but colourful Prestel screens cost us about £100,000 to set up (and in the 1980s £100,000 was a huge amount of money). Today’s users take for granted the effortless integration of text and media, the tiny scale of their devices, the ubiquitous connectivity of their lives, the free wifi in McDonalds and on trains. The other day someone asked me why they should try out our LP+365 free app, with its personalised dashboards, easy to use assignments tool, instant access to Word, Class Notebook, PowerPoint, with its professional development articles and lesson plans. I guess the right answer, as Chairman of Learning Possibilities would be to point to the pilot’s Free provisioning for a whole class of 35 users (2 x staff and 33 x students), but instead I wanted just to shout out “BECAUSE IT IS AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF POWER FOR FREE AND NOT VERY LONG AGO IT WOULD HAVE COST A FLIPPIN FORTUNE!!” Sometimes, having a sense of history leaves me a bit overexcited!
Schools world-wide are introducing technology into their classrooms…is pedagogy evolving to keep up with modern-day practices?
LP+365 makes market leading technology available to schools through a simple and easy to use interface. How important is it for schools to have access to market leading technology?