Bruton

Reference Library – England – Somerset – Bruton

Teachers say plans to teach children coding ‘not realistic’

Primary-school teachers and unions have said Minister for Education Richard Bruton’s “ambitious” plans to introduce coding to all primary schools by September 2019 are not realistic. Teachers have said schools do not have the broadband or IT resources to start teaching coding in just two years’ time. Last week Mr Bruton announced a new Digital Strategy plan for primary and secondary education. The plan aims to introduce computer coding into the maths curriculum at primary level by September 2019, along with a pilot computer science Leaving Cert programme in about 30 schools in 2018.

Ciara Brennan, a teacher at St Peter’s Primary School, Bray, Co Wicklow said schools “don’t have the resources to provide the rollout of coding”.

“We don’t have the capital resources to do this right. There seems to be a disconnect between the ambition and the plan, and what the teachers are dealing with on the ground.”

Ms Brennan said the move towards technology in the classroom was welcomed by teachers, but infrastructure such as broadband and computer equipment in most schools is not currently adequate.

“Unless we see real funding being provided I’m not sure this will work” she said.

John Boyle1, president of the INTO teachers’ union said the digital plan “is long on ambition but critically short of resources”. He said “at present a handful of primary schools have high-speed broadband. This has been promised to primary schools for years and yet there is no plan in place to roll out this connectivity to more than 3,000 primary schools”.

Damien Burke, a maths lecturer in the Marino Institute of Education2 in Dublin, said learning coding was “very beneficial for children, particularly in building problem-solving skills”.

“Children in primary schools now nearly all have smartphones, so they are favourably disposed to learning coding more than ever before.

“It’s the system that may need time. There’s a major broadband issue, and not just for rural schools, you would be surprised at the lack of quality broadband for many schools in Dublin,” he said. The upskilling of teachers across the country to prepare them to properly teach programming would also be a major obstacle to rolling out coding by September 2019, Mr Burke said.

The Department of Education is providing EUR180 million over the next four years to primary and secondary schools in extra grants for IT equipment. A spokesman for Mr Bruton said, “over the past two years, the department has further upgraded more than 1,000 primary-school connections to high-speed broadband, in areas where the infrastructure can facilitate this”. The Department of Education plan to have the updated maths curriculum, which includes coding, ready by September 2018, “followed by an extensive period of teacher professional development before its introduction to schools, which is currently scheduled for September 2019” the spokesman said.

References

  1. ^ John Boyle (www.irishtimes.com)
  2. ^ Marino Institute of Education (www.irishtimes.com)

Huawei experience stores opening in South Africa

Huawei announced that it will open experience stores in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town in the coming weeks. The experience stores will be open to customers from April 2017 onwards. The first of these stores was unveiled in the Mall of Africa in Midrand.

Huawei said customers can look forward to more experience stores in the Eastrand Mall, The Glen, Menlyn, and Centurion.

It will also open stores in the Somerset Mall in Cape Town and The Pavilion in Durban, said Huawei.

Now read: Huawei Watch 2 — Price, launch date[1]

References

  1. ^ Huawei Watch 2 — Price, launch date (mybroadband.co.za)

Wait goes on for superfast broadband in parts of Weston where people cannot watch videos online

12:00 14 January 2017

Wait Goes On For Superfast Broadband In Parts Of Weston Where People Cannot Watch Videos Online

The roll-out of superfast broadband has been delayed in Weston Village. Archant

Broadband speeds are expected to remain slow on one of Weston-super-Mare’s housing estates until at least July, despite a three-year campaign to fix the problem.

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To send a link to this page you must be logged in. Parts of Weston Village suffer with slow broadband speed1, which residents say means they cannot watch films online.

North Somerset councillor Dawn Payne has been campaigning for BT to address the problem since 2014. It was originally hoped the superfast broadband cabinets would be turned on in March 2017, but the Mercury can reveal that surveys will not now be completed until June 30. Cllr Payne said: “The broadband speed for many residents in Weston Village is appalling.

“Following my contact with BT it was included in its commercial programme and due to be delivered between January and March this year.

I was notified by BT that due to a review of the engineering solution this had been delayed until the summer.

“Residents are understandably frustrated and disappointed at the length of time which BT is taking to improve its broadband service and I will continue my efforts to get BT to upgrade the cabinet as soon as possible.”

References

  1. ^ Weston Village suffer with slow broadband speed (www.thewestonmercury.co.uk)