21 January 2011

Hints & Help: Keeping up to date with the latest news using Paritor.

The purpose of the blog this week is to show you the new way to keep up to date with the latest news from Paritor, specific Music Services and the Music Education Sector using the Latest News and Twitter Widgets.
clip_image002In order to get the Latest News and Twitter feeds you need to first activate the relevant widgets using the Widget Manager. This is found on the Task Bar.
NOTE: Some of you may not have the Task Bar activated; to activate it go to Home on the Ribbon Menu and click the Tasks icon.
When you click on the Widgets icon you will be shown a list of available widgets using the Display in Column you can select where you want your widgets to show on your home screen.
Once you have selected where you want to see the widgets you can view them at any time to see the feed from our Twitter feed and the Latest News.
The two feeds show slightly different information. The Latest News from Paritor shows notifications of the weekly Help blog, notifications of approaching updates and what is included in them, the latest news from services that use Paritor software and any other information that is specifically relevant to Music Services. The Paritor Twitter feed covers a wider range; containing any other news and information relevant to the performing arts education sector as well as a bite size account of any information in the Latest News from Paritor widget.
Unfortunately many councils block access to Twitter, but the Latest News from Paritor will be allowed by everyone. Note you can also follow us directly on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Paritor and on Facebook on http://www.facebook.com/pages/Paritor/135837603122263
For any more information on this subject or if you are having trouble with implementing the widgets please email us at support@paritor.co.uk or call us on 01395 445092.
The Hints and Help blog will return next Thursday.

20 January 2011

Gove's review of curricula will include music

Today Michael Gove, Education Secretary said that the country needs a national curriculum reform to stop future generations falling behind on the global stage.

Launching a review, he named a panel of education experts to examine the framework. Gove gave specific mention to the music, saying that they were deficient because they failed to mention a single musician, composer or even to study a piece of music.

In an interview with BBC Radio’s Today programme he said: "I want there to be core curriculum content -- facts, knowledge -- and I want teachers, not me, to decide what that is,"

In defence Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers responded, saying: "The fact is there are no schools only teaching these things. The national curriculum is not the total curriculum."

Gove launches a major review of the schools subjects today

The Coalition said the last Government stripped vital content from the national curriculum, leaving pupils with a poor understanding of English literature, maths, science, foreign languages, history and geography.

Music in secondary schools fails to get pupils to study a specified composer, musician or piece of music.

Education Minister,. Michael Gove has said "The top-performing education nations all have rigorous curricula which act as a benchmark for achievement and a guide to essential knowledge.

"But while we have one of the biggest curricula in the world – at nearly 500 pages – it has failed a generation by not preparing them for the modern world.

"The existing national curriculum embodies poverty of aspiration."

The new curriculum is expected to be in place by September 2013 which will incorporate both primary and secondary. Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has admitted concern that this new curriculum might be based on ‘ministers pet interests.’

Included in the panel will Bernice McCabe, headmistress of North London Collegiate School and will be led by Tim Oates, director of research at the Cambridge Assessment exam board

The document outlining the panel’s remit supplied by the Department for Education says the new curriculum will spell out the basic subject knowledge all children should acquire, while giving schools more freedom to deliver lessons.

It says the national curriculum “has been over-prescriptive, has included material that is not essential and has specified teaching method rather than content”.

“The Government envisages schools and teachers taking greater control over what is taught in schools and how it is taught, using their professional skills and experience to provide the best educational experience for all their pupils,”

18 January 2011

A call for better use of technology in schools

In a recent survey it has been found that there is a significant gap between the use of technology for students at home and school. A survey conducted by Microsoft found that 82% of 16 – 18 year olds use facebook on a daily basis.

Speaking at the BETT Show for educational technology in London, Microsoft's director of education, Steve Beswick, mentioned that within school there remains much "untapped potential" in how teenagers use technology.

Mr Beswick says teenagers' level of engagement with information technology at home is not being matched within school.

He went on to say that it is important that students leave school with "appropriate skills" in information technology.

"Rather than pushing back something like Facebook, it's a matter of finding out how it can work for learning," said Mr Beswick.

The Microsoft survey also found that 71% of teenagers believe they learn more about information technology outside of school than in formal ICT lessons.

"Technology isn't the answer to everything. But it can be a useful tool, it can light up a subject."

13 January 2011

Gove dismisses music teachers advice

Advice given to music teachers from the Musician’s Union has come under fire by Education secretary Michael Gove. The training video produced by the MU declared that touching pupils during routine music lessons left individuals open to charges of inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Gove responded by writing a letter to the union’s general secretary saying that this was sending out the wrong message: "It plays to a culture of fear among both adults and children, reinforcing the message that any adult who touches a child is somehow guilty of inappropriate contact," Mr Gove added.

He highlighted a number of occasions when it was "totally appropriate" and right for teachers to be in physical contact with a pupil.

"Whether it's adjusting the position of a violin or demonstrating how to handle drumsticks, showing how a trombone slide should work or introducing new subtleties in oboe playing, teachers should be trusted," the letter continued.

Diane Widdison, the national organiser at the Musicians' Union said the video was made to protect teachers

'When allegations are made against music teachers they are suspended immediately while an investigation is carried out and their careers are damaged or ruined even if they are declared innocent,' she said.
'In one recent case the parents of a child learning the guitar complained that the teacher had touched their child's finger to pluck a guitar string.

'In many cases having to be more creative and find alternatives to touching reinforces the learning process because it ensures that children are thinking for themselves.'