Sunday, 15 June 2014

Enriching the Curriculum through Video Conferencing

Highlands Primary School in the London Borough of Redbridge are the National Award Winners for Janet(UK) 2013 for the effective use of VC in the Primary School Sector. They have saved £10,000 over eighteen months through travel cost and teacher admin costs involved during school visits. However it was not only the money and time saved that has benefited the whole school. Click here to read more about VC at Highlands.

The head teacher at Highlands,Kulvarn Atwal, quotes:
Video conferencing is now embedded across the curriculum at Highlands Primary and has become a normal classroom activity for all.
In the last 18 months we have connected over 32 times with content providers and other schools.  For example The British Museum, The National Archives, for School Council Meetings, meeting authors and show and share work with local schools.
Just through connecting with Museums nationally we have travelled nearly two thousand virtual miles.  
Video conferencing has not only saved money for my school and time for my teaching staff  but most importantly it has enriched the primary curriculum and brought new opportunities for our pupils; ones which they might never have had.

The table below shows how time and costs have been calculated.

Janet Content Provider

Return mileage

Approx. Coach hire

For 30 pupils


 Return Travel time

 *Teacher admin cost

Pre visit

 Teacher cost due to wasted  travel time

@£180 per day


Year 5 -The National Archives

Richmond – 3 sessions

62 x3 = 186

£330 x3= 990

4 hours x3


£90 x3 = 270


Chris Lubbe, Hampshire – 1 session



4 hours




Year 6 – The National Archives  – 3 sessions

62 x 3 = 186

£330 x3 = 990

4 hours x3


£90 x3 = 270


Year 2 – Metlearn, Somerset – 3 sessions

360 x 3 =1080

£330 x3= 990

 6 hours x 3


£180 x 3 =540


Year, 4,5, 6 British Museum, London x9

21 x 9 =189

£330 x 9 = 2970

1 hour x 9


£90 x 9 =810


Year 2  Museum of London  - 2 sessions

20 x 2 =40

£330 x 2 = 660

1 hour x 2


£90 x 2 = 180

Total VC sessions =21

   1881 miles


 57 hours



Total savings (coach, teacher pre -visit cost, teacher travel cost) =
  6930+1080+2160 =  £10,170.00

*Teacher admin cost = ½ day prep – site visit, pre visit prep for pupils
                                    ½ day team meeting – risk assessment, planning meeting.

Click on the image below to watch the video of the staff and pupils at Highlands as they talk about video conferencing with Janet content providers.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Google Inspire the Next Generation of Computer Scientists

Bringing Industry Experts into Classrooms via secure, high quality, interoperable video connection.
On Friday 28th March, Dr Doug Aberdeen; programmer, coder, engineer and computer scientist at Google, connected live via video conference from Zurich, Switzerland.

He spoke to over 400 students from 20 schools across the UK. The schools took part in 45 minute video conference sessions with the programmer who talked about life working as a software engineer, his career, his education and his passion and enthusiasm for technology and the huge part computer scientists will continue to play in our daily lives in the future.

Doug connected securely and interoperably through Janet VC Services using Visimeet.   This  not only enabled schools across the UK to watch a live stream of one of the sessions but others to connect directly using VC hardware and ask questions to him directly.

Doug was very impressed at how technology could be used to reach out to so many students at one time and said,  " It was a real buzz to deliver to 20 schools in a morning and my adrenalin was going full speed. Some very clever and interesting questions from some of the kids".

The students were able to watch a live presentation given by Doug and even see directly outside his office window across the landscape of Switzerland. The students from both primary and secondary schools connected and asked questions about email, spam, coding, new Google technologies, amongst many questions about career advice and work experience. 

The National Curriculum 2014 for England is heavily focusing on computing and programming skills for pupils. So what better way for them to learn about programming than from an industry leader themselves - Google!

Year 13 student at Oaks Park High School in Redbridge quoted: I learnt a lot more today for my future than from my lessons, it was very informative.

Claire Collier (Assistant HT), Belvidere School in Shropshire, commented: I have had visits from 5 of the boys that attended today to thank me – this doesn’t normally happen!
They were fascinated by Doug’s presentation and said that they were even more determined to work hard to become a software engineer themselves. They were particularly inspired by the thought of the free food and the salary!!!

We would like to thank Paul at Levett Consultancy for his support in introducing us to Google.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Learning Spanish to Celebrate Multilingual Month

Jorge Pozo Soriano (Foreign Language Assistant for Spanish), at Oaks Park High School in the London Borough of Redbridge taught year 5 and 6 pupils from local Primary schools how to speak some basic Spanish words and sentences during Multilingual month. The lesson took place via live video conference connecting five primary schools to OPHS. It not only allowed the pupils to learn how to pronounce Spanish words from a Spanish native but they asked Jorge about what it was like living in Spain. So the pupils were able to learn about the Spanish culture also.

Jorge quotes, "I really enjoyed teaching using VC during multilingual month because I got the chance of connecting with a lot of pupils, see how they handle the Spanish language. I was able to connect with all the students in a fast and easy way due to using the VC which was a great help, I would not have been able to manage this without the VC. I'm sure that new technologies will be something essential in schools more so in the years to come, so having that experience has been wonderful and I would love to grow and expand my teaching using VC as I think it can be a key tool in education and school".

Pupils from Redbridge Primary, Highlands Primary, Manford Primary, Nightingale Primary and Fairlop Primary school all joined in with learning how to greet, welcome and say goodbye in Spanish. They sang a song with Jorge and were able to learn phrases and practice their speaking and listening in another language.  What a great way for six local schools to collaborate together and celebrate multilingual month!

Click here to read about Jorges` blog