Monday, 20 July 2015

Ask the JISC Experts and bring Computing Alive

What better way to learn about computer networks at KS2 than through a live video conference with a JISC (UK) computer network manager.

Securely connecting both Redbridge Primary and Mayespark Primary Year 5(Kites class) and  Year 6 pupils together through a multipoint conference in full HD, Shafiq Latif,  based at JISC HQ in Edinburgh shared his career story and knowledge about computer networks at a national level with the young 10 -11 year olds sitting in their school classrooms in London .

Shafiq studied computer science at University, and in 2009 joined the JISC service management & projects team, where he is responsible for ensuring the infrastructure runs correctly and is maintained. He is also involved in development work for the service, which includes evaluating & testing new products and services that are available.

So what a fantastic opportunity for the pupils to learn about computer networks... What better way than from a national expert who does this for his living?

Shafiq showed components of a network and how they all connected to together to make not only local networks but components needed for making national and international networks.
The staff at the schools took this video conference as a CPD opportunity to consolidate their teaching back in the classroom. The adults ( including myself )  learnt a lot about networking through just hearing Shafiqs presentation.

Shafiq was able to talk about and answer the pupils questions below which were all linked directly to the computing curriculum for KS2 :

".....understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration...."

(Questions that were asked by the pupils):
·         What do you do Shafiq? What is a typical working day for you like?

·         What components make a network?  How does a basic network function in a school?

·         What is JICS as a national network?  Does it have the same components that a network in a school would have? How is the national network different so it connects schools around the uk?

What about the NRENs around the world in other countries ?  How are they connected? Are they the same as JISC?

·         What things can go wrong with networks? 

·         What things have changed in the last 2-3 years with networks and what’s the future going to be like for networks in the next 5 years?
For more information about JISC (UK ) please click here:

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Connecting Schools to Private Sector Experts

On July 3rd primary and secondary school council members from over ten schools across Redbridge met via a multipoint video conference to be "Mayor for the Day". Their task was to reduce air pollution in London.

The VC sessions were lead by Daisy Wain project manager for Deliver Change London.  Deliver Change are a London based company. The company has designed an air pollution sensor ( AirSensa ) using private sector funding which is built here in London with the latest technology to measure different air pollutants.  It also has the technology that enables live data to be shared on a cloud based platform so schools can find out their individual readings and choose to view or share these if they wish.

The students from each school council were given the opportunity to meet and question Daisy Wain. Daisy has been working with Deliver Change for two years this July with her background in Environmental Science. Deliver Change aim to make cities healthier, more livable and economically productive, mainly through innovations in technology. Currently they are looking to tackle the issue of urban air pollution through accurate monitoring and education. 

So what better way for Deliver change to do this than via secure video conference with multiple schools through the JISC network. Saving on travel time and using a "green technology". Daisy was able to speak to over 200 pupils from 10 different schools in just one afternoon.

The schools had each prepared presentations to answer the questions below :

Transport: How would you change the way people move around London to reduce air pollution?
Education: How would you use education as a way to inform people of different ages about air pollution and what they can do to reduce their own emissions?
Green spaces: How would you use greenery across the City to reduce air pollution and give people clean spaces to live, work and play?
Laws: what laws would you introduce to reduce levels of pollution in London?
Businesses: What could businesses do to reduce the amount of air pollution they release, but also how they could reduce the exposure of their workers?

The video conferences showcased just how easy it is to connect multiple schools securely via video link to experts in different fields. Both students and teachers welcomed having a "cutting edge" London tech company to question.
Quote from year 8 pupil , " it was great to speak to an expert (Daisy) about our school environment and to hear the other schools speak about their ideas, Daisy has made us want to look at what we can do to improve the air quality around our school. It was great to see the AirSensa close up, its a very clever design".

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Connecting our Public Services to the Wider Community

Metropolitan Police Officers, PCSO Alan Winston and his colleague from the Redbridge schools safer unit, connected with over eight primary schools across the LB of Redbridge on July 7th. The aim of the video conference was to connect the Met Police securely via video link to multiple schools to inform Year 6 parents on safeguarding their children whilst online at home.

The focus was for year 6 parents to learn more about what they could do to protect their children at home while they use the internet as they move from primary onto secondary school. Over 100 parents took part in total over the three half hour conferences held from Uphall Primary School.

PCSO Alan Winston was able to share a power point presentation and had created a top tips handout for parents.  Both the handout and presentation were received with much appreciation from the parents who had attended the sessions at their child's school.
Using this secure high definition conferencing technology through JISC to connect schools to the wider community has shown great benefits already.

Quote from parent, " this was the first time I have taken part in a video conference with the police in this way, I thought it was good to see and hear from so many other parents from other schools with similar concerns for their child's safety online. The police working with the schools is a great idea and I found the session very informative. I also liked talking to the police about local issues that may effect my child outside the school environment. They helped me understand better how I could report issues and help keep my child safe at home when using the internet".

Deputy HT, Jespy Barker, Uphall Primary School and PCSO Alan Winston