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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Smartphone-Enabled Keyless Door Locking

Just came across this story which interested me, imagine the potential for building management systems of students being able to use their own devices to gain access to area - very cool -

August joins the race for smartphone-enabled keyless door locking

Designed by Yves Béhar, the August device offers compatibility with existing locks and a guestbook feature to track who’s coming in and out of the house.

While Lockitron was the first viable consumer door security option to incorporate remote locking and unlocking via smartphone, August has now stepped up to the challenge, offering compatibility with existing locks and a guestbook feature to track who’s coming in and out of the house.

There are a lot of similarities between the two devices – both offer homeowners the ability to unlock their front door with a companion smartphone app, although August solely uses Bluetooth, rather than Lockitron’s NFC and wifi. August, which was designed by Yves Béhar, also lets users distribute access to the property through profiles – for example a neighbor or close friend could be given permanent access, while a maid or babysitter’s access can be restricted to specific times of the week. The device keeps a log of who actually enters the building – unlike Lockitron – offering an extra element of security, while its guestbook feature allows friends to leave comments and and instructions. It also provides automatic unlocking when those with permission come into the vicinity of the door, and locks the door behind them.

At USD 199, the August is slightly more expensive than the USD 179 Lockitron, which sold over 14,000 pre-orders totalling more than USD 2 million through its crowdfunding campaign. However, initial interest in the August garnered 10,000 email subscriptions in its first 24 hours – according to Béhar – indicating the tight competition in this market. Could the August’s sleek design win over consumers?

Spotted by: Raymond Neo

#CEFPI Highlight 2 - Irene Nigaglioni (@INigaglioni)

Irene Nigaglioni (President of CEFPI), shared the work of CEFPI which was established in 1921 as a not-for-profit-organisation whose sole mission is improving the places where children learn. CEFPI has 3500 members worldwide, primarily in America, Canada, Australia, Asia and other regions.

Irene also shared a number of ranging projects from around the world, these included:

Alfriston College, Manurewa

At Alfriston College they recognise that the learning needs of 21st Century students require schools to provide differentiated, personalised and culturally appropriate learning programmes to ensure all learners have the opportunities to pursue their talents and interests in the manner, and to the level best suited to their individual potential. This requires that the concepts of learning, assessment and achievement be constantly challenged, and reshaped to match learners needs. Success or achievement is no longer measured through information recall or examination outcomes alone; it is in the development of key competencies [thinking, using language, symbols, and texts, managing self, relating toothers and participating and contributing]. The school believes that students should be given the opportunity to develop and demonstrate these competencies through a range of contexts including: academic, sporting, cultural and social successes. They believe that this will enable learners to be en-powered and value learning for the enjoyment of it and also for the great personal and social worth that it is.

Solar Powered Internet School

Addressing a common resource challenge faced by several rural African communities, Samsung are piloting Solar-powered Internet Schools as part of the programme in SA, Kenya and Nigeria. Samsung are investing ahead of the curve as we envisage explosive innovation and uptake of Solar-Powered electronics in Africa, thus creating commensurate workforce.

Hingaia Peninsula School, Auckland

Hingaia Peninsula School is a brand new state school for Years 0-8 situated on the Hingaia Peninsula, near Karaka, Auckland. The school opened in February 2012 and currently has 92 students in two learning studios.

Milan Center for Innovative Studies

Milan's Center for Innovative Studies is a unique experience designed for the senior year and emphasizes the development of 21st century skills.  Students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills within a project-based learning culture working toward career and college readiness.

Over the course of the year students work in teams on predesigned projects and student created projects that either present ideas for solving real world problems or create a product that addresses a target market.  Internships, influential speakers, business partnerships, technology integration, and effective communication are an emphasis in the center. 

#CEFPI Highlight 1 - Alison Watson (@classofyourown)

Alison Watson spoke about the brilliant ‘Class of Your Own’. Alison came from a professional planning background and explained how in the past couple of years she has spent as much time in the classroom as on the construction site.

Alison explained to us how her workshops, projects and opportunities have provided young people with a genuine sense of empowerment. This is the case because they are taken seriously in an adult world. Alison shared how she has seen some amazing research, spectacular presentations and incredible confidence, met with thought provoking debate. It was clear that Alison has been inspired by the learners motivation and teamwork.

Class of Your Own think it's about time that younger students have a better grasp of the architecture, engineering and construction industry and all that it offers. The project delivers this through a brand new, different kind of curriculum which grabs the imagination of the learner well before he or she makes important life changing decisions regarding GCSE choices, and offers a helping hand from visiting industry professionals.

The classofyourown® Design, Engineer, Construct! project based curriculum challenges young people to create a sustainable building where the whole community can learn about all things green in their very own Eco Classroom.

Learners get creative to tackle the challenges faced by today's industry professionals and ultimately discover real life applications of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In a fully supported programme using professional Autodesk® hi tech visualisation software, students can bring their eco friendly designs to life.

There are a number of routes to success. Design, Engineer, Construct! can be offered as a full qualification attracting league table points via the ITQ (equivalent to 1 GCSE), or via the popular exam free Edexcel 'Project' framework (equivalent to half a GCSE). Alternatively, schools can offer the programme as part of the general KS3 Design and Technology curriculum, or embedded in PHSE, or even as an after school club. Whichever way you please, it's an effective way to equip learners with the skills required to support personal and career development.

Watch this space – the next generation of iconic buildings are about to be designed, engineered and constructed in the classrooms of your own school...

Want to know more? Download our brochure and get in touch with Alison.

Excellence in environments for learning...

Today I attended the UK Learning and CEFPI (Council for Educational Facilities Planning International) Lead Member and Champion Forum at the Royal Society of Arts, London.

This was a fantastic day with a small but mixed group of people including architects, planners, headteachers and students discussing the future of new learning places.

I came away from the event today bemused with the current government’s thoughts on building new learning spaces (more information below) but also enthused. What enthused me was the dedicated group of people I met who really care about great learning. It would be easy to think that many architects just want their buildings to look nice and to do ‘a basic job’. Today I saw though, how key architects and planners see the engagement with learners as essential to support innovation and engagement of the whole learning community.

To save me writing a really extended piece (it’s been a long day), I am going to share a pause for thought and three highlights from the day. These three hightlight will be published as separate blog posts.

Pause for thought - Spending cuts are deeper than I first thought...

The axing of the BsF (Building School for the Future) project is well publicised and one I know far too much about the pain of, being involved in the IPACA vision and work with our community. Although painful, one can understand why this has happened in the current financial climate where budget in every area are tight.

The above is a EFA baseline design - is this what our learners want for 21st Century Learning?

Where money for school builds is being granted, it is being made with the tightest restrictions for new builds. Today I found out that this includes:

- Limited funding for furniture, schools are expected to take all legacy items with them.

- Very limited funding for I.C.T - again, school are expected to take all legacy items with them. In my world, this seems crazy and incredibly short sighted.


IPACA Digital Learning shared in the House of Lords

In the Grand Committee of the House of Lords on Monday 8th July, 2013 the below comments were made about Education (Amendment of the Curriculum Requirements) (England) Order 2013. I specifically draw your attention to those points highlighted in yellow below:

Lord Knight of Weymouth: My Lords, I draw the attention of the Committee to my interests in this area. I am a trustee of the e-Learning Foundation and have various other interests, including working with the Times Educational Supplement and with smart technologies. I am also a trustee of Apps for Good.

8 July 2013 : Column GC16
I, too, attended the Bett conference at the beginning of last year, when the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, who is now on his feet in the other place talking about these issues, announced the disapplication of the programme of study for ICT. I broadly welcomed that announcement. It goes back to my dissatisfaction when I was Schools Minister with the ICT curriculum, particularly at key stages 3 and 4, and to how unengaging my son found the experience of doing the European Computer Driving Licence. My attempt to change things was to get Jim Rose’s primary curriculum review to include ICT as a core subject alongside English and maths. It was a battle that I eventually won by subterfuge, and Jim’s review included ICT at its core. I wanted young people starting secondary school to be plug-and-play ready to use ICT across the whole curriculum in their learning.
I was also informed, as I think the Minister was, and as he mentioned in his opening comments, by the changing nature of the labour market, which is essentially hollowing out due to globalisation and technological change. The growth in high-skill, high-wage work is at the higher end of the market and is very much informed by technology and people who are confident with it. Not all of it requires programming skill. Therefore, my first question is: how will the Minister ensure that digital skills remain across the whole curriculum and inform the way in which young people learn in all subjects, not just in the subject called computing?

I cannot see any occupation where we will not require people to be confident in using the internet and technology, and to have a basic understanding of how it works. I am chair of the Online Centres Foundation, which just today was renamed the Tinder Foundation. We are very active in digital inclusion, and we see people referred to us from jobcentres so that they can not just process a claim but apply for jobs, because 70% of employers require you to apply online. These are fundamental skills for every child to learn in order to be confident leaving school.

The issue of digital skills across the curriculum raises an additional question. It is a perhaps unfashionable question about pedagogy. As a Minister, I was always slightly reluctant to get involved in pedagogy because I am not a trained teacher. However, I regret that, and I have looked at the amount of investment that has gone into technology in schools over time and have seen that some of it was not spent well, because not every teacher was taught to be confident in using it, and to shift their pedagogy in order to use it well.

I have that worry about 3D printers, and I am specifically interested in finding out from the Minister whether, as 3D printers land in schools, they are not going to be used to prop doors open or get dusty in cupboards. Last Friday I was talking to teachers from the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy down in Dorset following their being shortlisted for a TES Schools Award. Unfortunately the school did not manage to win an award, but it is worth noting that both the nominated projects involved 3D printers, so I can see that some fantastic pedagogy may emerge from this technology that encourages highly engaged teaching and learning.

For a full copy of the handsard please refer to - 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

#IPACA check out iWork for iCloud

You have to check out iWork for iCloud which lets you create beautiful documents, spreadsheets, and presentations using Pages, Numbers, and Keynote in your browser on a Mac.

To get started, simply go to with the latest version of Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer and sign in with the Apple ID associated with your Registered Apple Developer account. Please note that these web apps are in beta and it’s important that you regularly maintain a local backup of your documents.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Web-Connected Signposts! WOW!

Tech firm BREAKFAST have been covered on these pages before, after the launch of the Instaprint – a device for events that automatically prints images from Instagram hashtag feeds in real time. Returning with another blend of offline and online innovation, the team has now created Points, a web-enabled public signpost that provides dynamic directions, as well as location-relevant news and information from online feeds.

On the surface, Points looks like a traditional street signpost, with three arms acting as a navigation aid for passersby. Instead of remaining static, however, the arms are connected to a rotor mechanism allowing them to swing around to point in different directions. Each arm also has its own LED display, capable of showing illuminated text and symbols. Through a panel below the signs, users can select the type of information they’d like to see, such as local food vendors, the nearest transport options, and even trending Twitter hashtags for nearby events. The device uses an accelerometer and GPS to accurately position its pointers and keeps track of news and social media feeds to provide the most up-to-date information. The video below shows Points in action:

The device was designed with events in mind, and can keep passersby updated with current and upcoming happenings in a way that traditional signposts can’t. BREAKFAST have only created one Points signpost so far – which can be rented for events such as conferences and festivals for an agreed fee – although the project could expand in the future. Are there other items of street furniture that could be made more useful with an ‘internet of things’ makeover?



Spotted by: Murray Orange