Monday, 31 December 2012

New web tools site - lots of new links and notes

Web

I have just updated and completely revised the webtools site for teachers, students and, well, anyone really.

Lots of new additions and I have included some notes and suggested use decsriptions for a range of tools which will also be featured on the LSIS Excellence Gateway soon. (I have provided content - but not the design - for a Third Sector toolkit that will be hosted there).

If anyone has any more ideas just let me know. I'm sure I've missed plenty and, of course, new ones are appearing every week now which I'll try and keep up with.



Thursday, 18 October 2012

Apps²

A colleague has just shared this infographic that she found. My first thought was OK, that's interesting, a bit out of date but nice to see someone promoting use of some of these tools which, of course, is what I spend an inordinate amount of my time doing.

Click to enlarge

Then I had second and third and fourth thoughts. 

2. It's really a bit of a mess. 
I'll simply have to do something about that and redo it in rather smarter fashion, maybe adding some much needed links too. 

3. There are some quite important tools missing. 
OK, it may be old so I can remove some and add some. 

4. There are quite a few instances where lines need to go in more than one direction, tools that can be good for several elements. 
That can be included in the reworked version.

It was the fifth thought that really stuck, though: 
5. Wouldn't it be great if we could start in one application and stay in that application with everything we might need being something like an app within that application. 
Sort of app².

Ideas, drafts etc. go in and out of this central application. Some you discard. Some go straight in. Some need a bit of editing first and then get embedded. The whole end product, or 'content' as this graphic calls it, is a combination of various elements: text, images, data, media and any other dimension that I've missed out that can be shared, linked to, embedded, displayed or even printed in part.

I don't quite know where I'm going with this but thanks to Shri for getting me off on yet another journey in this e-learning world!


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Too Many Apples For The Teacher


There is a scene near the end of The Prisoner in which Number 6 starts to speak. "I.." he begins. "I...I...I..." echo all the faceless ones in his audience. He tries to continue. "I..." only to be interrupted by yet louder and more forceful "I... I.... I..." and so it goes on... This seems quite appropriate to what seems to be happening now in many teaching advice articles, even to the extent of how to impress OFSTED (whose representatives surely would have made brilliant Number 2s had they been around at the time).

With all the free promotion from mostly intelligent and ostensibly fair-minded people like teachers and e-learning experts, Apple must be laughing all the way to the bank and can probably now afford to sack all but a few in their Marketing Department.

Everywhere I turn these days there's some eminent authority on education technology telling us, or a grant being offered by supposedly commercially independent quangos for institutions to report on, how wonderful iPads and iPhones can be and how to utilise Apple apps in teaching-and-learning.

I'm not saying that these are not good products. I'm not saying that they cannot contribute immensely to what we're all trying to do in education. What is so wrong is that these guys only talk about or write about or demonstrate Apple products.

There are alternatives. There are good alternatives. Some might argue that there are better alternatives. (I'll try and avoid that part of the argument!) But one thing's for sure - there are cheaper alternatives.

It's a bit like the days when colleagues would give presentations and tell everyone in the room to use PowerPoint or Word to do something that could just as easily be done in software that didn't need a Microsoft Office installation. I lost count of the number of references to Microsoft Office products I had to re-word in piles of course materials designed to assess teachers' and trainers' Information and Learning Technology skills in the earlier part of this Century proposed for publication by erudite bodies running on government money. Whilst they frowned on any logo or brand mark being featured in dissemination reports to the point where I was unable to get a payment authorised for something otherwise excellent with a picture of Homer Simpson somewhere in it, references to specific Microsoft or adobe products were conveniently ignored,

I have no objection to guidance notes and examples of how to do something featuring software or hardware that you need to pay for but when I read the more general recommendations or suggestions that teachers or institutions should adopt I really do think it is time for some balance.


There are loads of really good smartphones around now and soon there will be a real choice between Android and Windows 8 as well as the Apple operating system.



There are less numerous, but still excellent, Android and, coming soon, Windows 8, tablets or pads as well as the iPad. 

Generally Apple's products seem to be much more expensive than their Android competitors and the apps that I see recommended are often ones that have to be bought by staff or students on Apple systems where the Android alternatives are free. I have yet to read a set of suggestions where it would not have been easy to have written them with reference to the alternative products or by using generic terminology instead of specific tools which make the whole article deserving of a brown padded envelope floating through the writer's letterbox containing some suitable sign of appreciation from Apple. Something beginning with i, perhaps?

So can we please stop this ubiquitous use of Apple's very, very cleverly designed brand names. Let's talk about phones, not iPhones (or, worse, iphones!). Let's talk about pads or tablets or anything except iPads. Save those Apple Marketing people's jobs! They've worked hard to get you all on their side - it doesn't seem fair that you should be doing their work for them now does it?



Monday, 15 October 2012

Start with some quizzes or student comments with Socrative








Socrative is maybe not the best of names but it offers some useful tools to tutors to use in a class. At the beginning you can have some quizzes for them to do - multiple choice or asking them to include their own answer. If you know of someone else using the software and can get their Socrative quiz number then you can use theirs too, or instead, if you like.


On logging in the tutor is allocated a 'room' number. Students enter that on their devices and will then get to see the quiz or whatever that is provided there.

A nice feature is the way that the teacher can display the live results of the quizzes and also have them sent as a spreadsheet by e-mail.

It seems to work on a pc or mobile device quite happily with a clear interface actually best viewed on a mobile as the content tends to stretch across a normal screen and look a bit strange.

There are additional options for creating quizzes using a template that can be downloaded so the tutor can take their time setting up more detailed quizzes and answers in their own time rather than on-line. I haven't noticed yet how many times this can be used with, or what options are not available in, the free version but it's certainly worth a try to see what you can do with it, even just to have the students occupied at the start of a lesson while the late-comers wander in.

It hasn't the most intuitive of interfaces - for instance, it takes time to figure out how to make quizzes available and it expects students to include their name as Surname, First name which, together with the title, says something about the team behind this! I guess the way people enter names can be changed, though, and may just be a demo thing.

t.socrative.com and m.socrative.com are the mobile sites for tutors and students respectively. You can play around yourself with two devices and pretend to be a student or get the wife and kids to help check that it all works as you want.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Caibre - Make, Find and Manage Ebooks



Very impressed with Calibre, an open source application for managing e-books. It converts files to make documents compatible with all kinds of device and just seems to be able to do everything you might ever want.

Being able to browse books by cover is great and so too is the News search and download with a huge range of sources across the world.

Whether you just want to organise all those e-books you've accumulated, find more or browse news in the world on your device, this software is well worth downloading. You will surely find it useful at one point or another and can use it to create your own - that creates some interesting opportunities for sharing material perhaps?

The developer, Kovid Goyal, has also put together a first class video showing you how it all works.

http://calibre-ebook.com/demo


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Something I forgot in the Webtools Media section: VLC Media Player


A colleague just asked what application would be good for converting certain types of video files (without using an on-line tool) and my first thought was to have a look at the web tools site to check out VLC.

For some reason I had forgotten to include this excellent bit of software from the VideoLan organisation when I transferred links from the previous site! So I've added this back in now and am here giving it a bit of extra promotion because it is very simple and very good. Admittedly, you don't get all the bells and whistles and lovely graphics of Windows Media Player but it does what it says on the bollard, I mean, tin.

Whilst it's not really a 'web tool' it is a tool and you do get it from the web and you may well find it pretty damn useful so it should be included in the Media section which is where I shall now add it.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

More experiments with web tools: Animoto



Make your own photo slideshow at Animoto.

The interface makes it dead easy to grab a folder of images from Picasa (or other on-line collections). Limited selection of music tracks in the free version but this one kinda worked. My son'll like it anyway and will probably have tagged himself in it already.

One idea I must try is to make images that fit a particular learning object - maybe illustrate a process in a fun way. The key thing about this, though, is that this took longer to process than to make. It can only have been 2 or 3 minutes to log in, select an album, a template and a track. Animoto do the rest.

Just checking out some tools: GoAnimate


The toolbox 1 by AndrewHill on GoAnimate

Video Maker - Powered by GoAnimate.

Think I need something with better expressions! And they sound pretty boring too! Still, it's so quick and easy that it shouldn't take too long to make another. First I shall look at some alternatives, though. 

Friday, 14 September 2012

Web tools update

New additions on the Web tools site:

penzu a delightful and delightfully simple to use note, blog, write it down tool with lots of extra uses

101 a simple app which makes sending SMS to pupils and parents easy and safe

lingro very cool on-line dictionary, 11 languages and facilities for web translation

QR codes make your QR code images and links

meetings.io video conference as simple as it can be - just share a url!

myna remix music tracks, collaborate, record your own voice

Schoology a nice place to view and share teaching resources with extra features too for your own classes

BrainNook
SccotPad
ConceptBank

three apps featured on the Schoology site but which have appeal individually for maths and language, common core subject activities

yola nice all-on-line web site building with no code knowledge required and almost invisible advertising


Ooo, Schoology!

Some time ago I signed in to Schoology, thought it looked interesting but then must have been distracted by something and forgot to go back and review the site. It's great - well set out and, so far, seems free and uncluttered with no adverts trying to sell us this or that.

I am still trying to figure out exactly what I can do with an area called The Studyzone which I presume is the name I gave to one particular area but the key feature that I should draw your attention to is the shared resources section. Here teachers from all over the place have added their own materials and links. These can be searched and sorted - by most highly rated or most recently added, for example (although none of those I added appeared in the most recently added search so my guess is that there must be some delay between publishing and their actual availability for reasons I have yet to understand. With luck, it will be a check on suitability, copyright and if someone is filtering out potentially offensive material then that would be a good reason.

Yes, it's mostly US-based and the references are to their curriculum but whether you say maths or math, organise or organize shouldn't detract too much from their value. I suppose the English materials could get a bit annoying with dialing instead of dialling (although just who does dial any more?) but, again, it may well be that the basic ideas being shared could be easily adapted for use on whichever side of The Pond you are.

I like the link to Google Documents which would enable very quick sharing or publication of files stored on-line but haven't yet put that to the test.

There's a blog section but, really, you might best be advised just to throw in a single post linking to your existing blogs and continue to utilise Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr or whatever which have rather more useful RSS feeds that can be picked up and deposited elsewhere, like VLEs if you still use one. The still was deliberate as, and this will have to be a separate article, I think we are coming to the end of VLE Days as we know them. But that is another story. Back to Schoology.

In amongst a section called Apps I found a few new bits and piecesI had not encountered before that look worth a closer look and will be added to the Webtools site soon. these are 101, a simple way to text students, parents etc with updates, advice, requirements etc. Another is BrainNook. In BrainNook, children travel through virtual worlds while playing math and language games, complete assignments to win badges, and compete with their classmates to reach the top of their class scoreboard. BrainNook games are mapped to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and Language Arts.

Then there's Scootpad. ScootPad is a way to engage students in mastering Common Core Standards and Concepts in maths and reading with personalised, self-paced and stimulating practice. It is claimed that their data and research show that students practice on average 5 times more problems on ScootPad than the traditional worksheets/paper.

Teachers get real-time classroom performance dashboards and reports that enable in-depth progress tracking and proficiency insights. Teachers can assign and review homework (Maths Practice, Reading Practice, Spelling Practice, Reading Log etc.) and students can complete and manage their homework all online on ScootPad.

Lastly, there's Concept Bank. Now that's not a name that is likely to fire the imagination but this is what they say it does: "Common Core Standards drive a major shift in both instruction and assessment. We've made it easy for educators to access/navigate the standards, drill down to the supporting concepts and review sample questions to better understand the instructional shifts and practice rigor needed to ensure that all students are on track to college and career readiness." It looks a lot simpler and that's why I'm including it here. They might need to hire someone to write better reviews or descriptions.

Now it may be that I've missed some huge charge for some of these apps or that they are totally impossible for anyone in the UK to utilise but maybe someone will take a closer look before I get a chance and advise. Certainly if you're reading this in the States then these could be useful straight out of the box. Wherever you're based, though, I would encourage you to take a look at Schoology.

Monday, 3 September 2012

More money offers for educators (but be quick for some!)

EPIC AWARDS (UK) UGDH60

Provided by Voluntary Arts Network, the development agency for arts participation, the Epic Awards are designed to draw attention to work taking place within the voluntary and amateur arts sector. The awards aim to provide these groups with the opportunity to raise their profile and to win a package of prizes including training, equipment and publicity.

The awards will be made under the following four categories: Engagement | Partnerships | Innovation |
Creativity

Successful groups receive an electronic Epic Award winner pack including logo and branding that can be used on all communication, if desired. The winner of each of the four categories will receive £250 worth of gift vouchers and runners-up will receive £100 worth of gift vouchers. These can be redeemed at GreatArt. Each winning group will also receive annual membership of Arts Development UK, worth £165.

Voluntary or amateur art and craft groups/organisations in the United Kingdom and Ireland are eligible to apply ie:

  • Those arts and crafts that people undertake for self-improvement, social networking and leisure, but not primarily for payment.
  • Groups that are self-organised.
  • Not-for-profit groups.
The deadline for receipt of entries is 30 November 2012 (5pm).

LandAid - Open to Applications to become a Charity Partner

LandAid is now seeking to establish new partnerships which will form the focus of its grant giving and other types of support over the next three years. Funding is available for the refurbishment, conversion, extension or new build of facilities for disadvantaged young people (16 to 25 year olds). Projects should provide or improve buildings or spaces within a building to support young people, such as, providing them with accommodation, independent living skills, educational or employment opportunities.

Priority will be given to projects that provide support for young people who live in communities which are high in the Indices of Deprivation or directly experience the issues associated with deprivation, many of whom are also NEETs (not in employment, education or training).

Registered charities and registered community interest companies in the UK can apply for capital grants of between £20,000 and £150,000 per annum. Smaller amounts of grant are also available for revenue projects associated with the capital investment, as part of the £20,000 to £150,000. LandAid is also able to offer a variety of in-kind support, such as free property and building advice, mentoring and work experience opportunities for young people.

The deadline for applications is 1 October 2012 (5pm).

INDIVIDUAL FUNDING FOR RADIO AND AUDIO TRAINING (UK) UE0010

The Individual Funding for Radio and Audio Training scheme supports freelance radio and audio professionals with funding to spend on the craft, technical and business skills training the industry needs.

Grants will be offered to individuals to undertake short courses or other short term training solutions, coaching and mentoring solutions as part of continuous professional development (CPD) training within two priority areas:

  1. Craft and technical skills, including those related to the use of online / social media and digital platform technology.
  2. Business, team working and management skills.

The grant can account for up to 80% of the combined course fees, travel and accommodation costs to a maximum of £1,500 inclusive of VAT.

The money can be spent on any course that meets a demonstrable need for career progression or up-skilling. It will only support training that develops skills within the following priority areas, which have been identified as a result of research and consultation with the industry on short and long-term skills gaps. The scheme can fund the following:

  • Craft and technical skills, including those related to the use of online / social media and digital platform technology.
  • Business, team working and management skills.
  • Travel and accommodation costs.
  • Childcare costs.

The scheme is open to applications by freelance radio and audio industry professionals in the UK. The radio and audio industry is defined as the major radio broadcasters, including commercial, BBC and, community radio companies and independent radio and audio production and post production companies.

The deadline for applications is 30 September 2012.

Equality and Diversity Partnership Project Fund 2012-13

The Skills Funding Agency and Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) are pleased to invite learning and skills providers to submit bids to deliver projects which advance equality, diversity and inclusion.

This is a flexible project fund, designed to enable Further Education and skills providers to design and deliver the projects that will have the greatest impact for learners and potential learners in the Further Education sector.

The aim of the fund is to support innovative and sustainable projects which develop the capacity of the sector to meet the public sector Equality Duty.

Individual colleges and training organisations are invited to bid for one of the following:-
A grant of between £1,000 and £4,999
A grant of between £5,000 and £25,000

The application process will open on 10 August and will close on 10 September 2012. Please re-visit this page for instructions on how to apply.

Phase 2 Support and Aspiration

LSIS is inviting project Clusters that will be managed by a specialist adviser in each of the nine regions and will be expected to focus their energies on 'Preparation for Adulthood' and 'Challenging Low Expectations' through sharing delivery and effective practice.

In May 2012 the DfE published Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability - Progress and next steps which sets out progress to date in relation to the vision articulated in the original Green Paper. In the paper the Government promises to:

"expand the clusters of FE providers to include additional providers and are considering how to encourage the Teaching School Alliance to engage with FE clusters as we take forward phase two of the work."

The Aims of Phase 2To create a greater shared understanding of how providers in the sector can work together colloboratively and not competitively to spread knowledge, improve expertise, build capacity and share delivery arrangements in order to support learners prepare for adulthood
To evidence and model progression pathways for learners

Outputs expectedEach cluster will be required to write a short final report end of July 2013
Resources developed to support the project outcomes will be shared with the sector via the Excellence Gateway.

Each provider taking part in phase 2 will receive a grant of £4,000.

The closing date for applications to this fund is 14 September 2012 at 12 noon.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Thinglink - make your images interactive

Love this new free tool from Thinglink. It makes it easy to add hotspots to your images which display as small dots which, when moused over, display video, text or almost anything by way of web content.



Always a big fan of using images in materials and resources for students and just making whatever you create look more interesting, this adds yet another dimension to them.

E-learning and Digital Cultures. Free on-line course with Edinburgh University


E-learning and Digital Cultures is a free on-line course from Edinburgh University aimed at teachers, learning technologists, and people with a general interest in education who want to deepen their understanding of what it means to teach and learn in the digital age.

It's Showtime for Maths, ICT and English. At the Royal Albert Hall!

There's a great set of resources available at My Resource Cloud. They look ideal for anyone looking to make Functional Skills a bit more interesting, covering Maths, English and ICT with guidance in videos from real staff at the Royal Albert Hall as to the work involved in putting on and promoting a new show.



The complete set of resources are free, charity-commissioned and designed and developed by Bongo LLP, available for PC and Mac computers.

Download the software at this link.


Some of the illustrative shots of kids taken as if from up a ladder with an odd lens and an unfortunate freeze frame on the video summary above might benefit from a little adjustment as well as some spelling! Very classy stuff for all that, though and should provide many teachers next term with a good few weeks' worth of ready-made and modern activities.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The World of MOOCs

Nice infographic from Edudemic covering developments of what Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). I do wish he hadn't - a ghastly acronym but never mind, there's still time for us to come up with something better.

The image should enlarge when you click it or view it full-size here.


Saturday, 7 July 2012

First offers of educational project funds for July

Youth In Action - Innovation and Quality (EU Member State) ZE1450

The European Commission has published a new Call for Proposals for projects encouraging innovation and quality under the Youth in Action Programme. The purpose of the Call is to support projects which target the introduction, implementation and promotion of innovative and qualitative elements in non-formal education and youth work. Preference will be given to projects which reflect the permanent and annual priorities of the Youth in Action programme, namely:
  • Participation of young people 
  • Cultural diversity 
  • European citizenship 
  • Inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities 
  • Youth unemployment, poverty and marginalisation 
  • Spirit of initiative, creativity and entrepreneurship, employability 
  • Grassroots sport and outdoor activities 
  • Global environmental challenges and climate change
The innovative aspects of a project may relate to:
  1. The content and objectives, in line with the development of the European cooperation framework in the youth field and the priorities of the ‘Youth in Action’ programme.
  2. The methodology applied, bringing new ideas and approaches to the field of non-formal education and youth.
Non-profit organisations or networks active in the field of youth are eligible to apply, including non-governmental youth organisations and public bodies at regional or local level. Projects must be based on a transnational partnership between at least four organisations from different programme countries, at least one of which must be a Member State.

The total budget available for this Call is €1.5 million. The total maximum grant available is €100,000 for up to 70% of the project's total eligible costs.

The deadline for applications is 3 September 2012 (noon, Brussels time).

Youth In Action - Partnerships (EU Member State) ZE1540

The European Commission has issued a new Call for Proposals under the Youth in Action programme. The aim of the Call is to support partnerships with regional or local public bodies or other stakeholders active in the youth sector at European level in order to develop long-term projects which combine various measures of the programme. The specific objectives of such partnerships are to:

  • Encourage the involvement of public bodies at regional or local level or other stakeholders active in the youth sector in European youth and non-formal education activities.
  • Support their capacity building as bodies active in the youth field providing non-formal education opportunities to young people and youth workers.
  • Promote the development of sustainable networks, the exchange of best practices as well as the recognition of non-formal education.
Preference is given to projects which reflect the permanent and annual priorities of the Youth in Action programme, namely:

  • Participation of young people
  • Cultural diversity
  • European citizenship
  • Inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities
  • Youth unemployment, poverty and marginalisation
  • Spirit of initiative, creativity and entrepreneurship, employability
  • Grassroots sport and outdoor activities
  • Global environmental challenges and climate change
Public bodies, non-profit bodies and companies active in corporate social responsibility in favour of youth are eligible to apply. The project must include activities of a non-profit-making nature that are related to the field of youth and non-formal education.

The following activities are eligible:
  • Trans-national youth exchanges
  • National or trans-national youth initiatives
  • European voluntary service
  • Training and networking
The total budget available is €2.5 million. Grants of up to €100,000 per project are available for up to 50% of total eligible costs.

The deadline for applications is 17 September 2012 by noon, Brussels time.

RUSHLIGHT Awards (UK) UG7755

The Rushlight Awards recognise and reward leading public, private and voluntary sector organisations that have produced environmentally beneficial innovative and technological developments. The scheme is open to organisations throughout the UK and Ireland that have developed a specific technology, process or initiative that has, or will have, a significant beneficial impact on the environment. Organisations of all types and sizes are eligible to enter the awards, including public sector organisations, voluntary and community sector organisations, research institutions and private companies. Innovations or technologies entered into the awards must have taken place between 1 January 2009 and 31 July 2012.

There are 23 categories for application, which are spread over five groups:
  • Natural Energy.
  • Clean Energy.
  • Energy Environmental.
  • Resources Innovation.
  • Environmental Management.
The 2012 Rushlight Awards have a prize fund worth £500,000 consisting of services donated by the programme's sponsors. Prizes are given for each category winner and for the overall winner for each category group. Each overall category group winner will also be forwarded for the main Rushlight Award.

The deadline for entries to the 2012 Rushlight Awards is 31 October.

Engineering Enterprise Fellowships (UK) UG3335

The Royal Academy of Engineering is offering funding and support through this fellowship scheme to outstanding entrepreneurial engineering researchers, working at a UK University, to enable them to develop a spin-out business around their technological idea. Funding will be provided to help researchers to develop a commercial enterprise in the UK. In addition to the financial support, training from 'business mentors' (drawn mainly from The Royal Academy of Engineering Fellows) will also be provided to give each Enterprise Fellow the tools, contacts and confidence to transform their idea into a successful business project or venture.

Up to £85,000 seed funding and salary support for 12 months will be provided through the scheme.

Eligible applicants must be working at a UK Higher Education Institute (HEI), at post-doctoral level or above, in an engineering department (or engineering focussed research area). Eligible costs directly related to the Fellowship may include:
  • Travel.
  • Equipment.
  • Business consultancy.
  • Project specific consumables.
  • Legal costs.
  • Specific business courses.
  • Attending conferences and seminars directly related to the Enterprise Fellowship.
The deadline for applications is Friday 31 August 2012 (5pm).

LSIS Leadership with Technology: Regional Collaboration Fund

LSIS is inviting bids for project grants of up to £30,000 per consortium from groups of providers working collaboratively together to achieve a common goal through the use of technology. The focus may be on improving teaching and learning, management or governance across the group of providers.

Bids should demonstrate how the consortium will:
  • work together/have worked together to identify the common goal;
  • drive towards a step change in performance through the use of technology;
  • pool existing expertise and effective practice to the benefit of all; and
  • measure success.
Applications for the LSIS Leadership with Technology: Regional Collaboration Fund should be made by completing all of the boxes on the accompanying form, including a breakdown of the total cost of the project and an indicative estimate of the distribution of monies between members of the consortium. No additional documentation should be submitted with this bid unless specifically requested.

Bids must be submitted by email to eleadership@lsis.org.uk<mailto:eleadership@lsis.org.uk> by 5 pm on Monday 9 July 2012 and titled LSIS Leadership with Technology: Regional Collaboration Fund.

Supporting documents:

* Guidance document - LSIS Leadership with Technology: Regional Collaboration Fund<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/Leadership-with-Technology-Regional-Collaboration-Grant-Guidance-document-2012.pdf>
* Application form - LSIS Leadership with Technology: Regional Collaboration Fund<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/Leadership-with-Technology-Regional-Collaboration-Grant-Application-form-May-2012.doc>

LSIS Teaching and Learning funding

Effective practice transfer within and between organisations

LSIS is issuing an exclusive invitation to providers represented at this year’s National Teaching and Learning Fair to apply for an LSIS funded project which will promote innovative continuing professional development (CPD) in teaching and learning. The overall aim of these funds is to support projects which will help overcome barriers and provide additional opportunities for CPD in circumstances where otherwise it would not take place. We are therefore inviting providers to bid for funds which would allow them to explore innovations and try out interventions which promote high quality learning. We are particularly keen to see proposals which promote the effective use of LSIS’s new online Teaching and Learning Coach offer which will be announced at the National Teaching and Learning Fair on the 29th June.
  • Up to a maximum of £3,000 for single organisation applications
  • Up to a maximum of £5,000 for collaborative projects between two or more organisations.
Projects will run from 31st July 2012 and must complete by no later than 31st March 2013.

Applications can be made by completing the attached form and sending by email to tlpfundingportal@lsis.org.uk<mailto:tlpfundingportal@lsis.org.uk> by midnight on Wednesday 18 July 2012. Late applications cannot be considered.

Supporting documents:

* Effective practice transfer within and between organisations - Guidance and application form<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/TandL-Fund-June-2012-guidance-and-application-form.doc>

Friday, 6 July 2012

E-fair 2012 Review: 'Could Do Better.'

The 12th E-learning Fair organised by JISC RSC Eastern took place in Watford, Hertfordshire yesterday. As with all these events, a shiny new Further Education College building was the venue - in this instance the recently opened West Herts College. Practitioners and interested individuals came from all over the Eastern Region and beyond and there were also representatives of a number of organisations showing off their wares and services for the teaching and learning community.

The communication from the College had those dire warnings about parking 'being very limited' at the campus, with what are becoming increasingly frequent admonishments from educational institutions and agencies about driving cars anywhere. Fortunately, I arrived to find a huge car park with bags of space so I don't quite understand what all that was about. Much as though their offer to support me with a cycle loan was appreciated, the journey from Northamptonshire to Watford was slightly beyond what I reckoned my legs could manage. Having said that, the number of traffic jams I encountered during my unfortunately-timed trips may not have resulted in the car being that much faster!

It was a pleasant enough building and not as ugly as some of the new ones and certainly an improvement on what was crumbling on the site before. A strangely inconspicuous entrance made you feel that the place was, at least, not one of those extrovert buildings that shout at you, almost appearing to watch you as you approach vast glazed entrance portals that somehow manage not to show your own reflection. Once inside there is this massive reception area where the lovely RSC Eastern staff looked like little Lego models in the immense space. There were also rows of those ticket machine things like you have to pass through to get in or out of a tube station. That would fool a great many students at some colleges I know and would definitely cause an enormous rise in greenhouse gases as they bus or taxi home again to get their ID cards. Presumably Watford students have better memories or have them glued on to their bodies somehow.

Normally at events like this you're handed a card bearing your name and who you represent housed in plastic of varying degrees of quality which then has to be appended somehow to your clothes or, more popular these days, a brightly coloured bit of material allows you to dangle said ID around your neck. Here we had the bright lanyard but to that was attached a mini booklet with one's details on the first page and inside the agenda for the day. It would no doubt have sounded a great idea at the planning meeting but I have a feeling that absolutely no-one actually ever consulted said booklet which tended to open upside down and there was always someone around to ask what was happening and where anyway.

In fact, my urgent need after a 2½ journey was a loo and I didn't just get waved in a vague direction but a delightful young student took me to the appropriate door and even asked whether I'd be able to find my own way back again. That was something that did impress me throughout the day - the students (well, I am presuming they were students) were extraordinarily polite, smart-looking and helpful. Later in the day I was asked to go and get myself filmed giving views on the day and, again, it was a team from the College that ran that. Three really nice young people, professional and, whilst I have yet to find out how good their filming and editorial skills are, they did serve their College well. I have always found similar behaviour at my children's school when parents are dragged in for some talk or another but seldom have Further Education college students come across that well.

The purpose of these events has always been to inspire people to use new technology, new techniques in their teaching or in supporting learning. We get people from other colleges to show what they're doing, to talk about what they find works and some agencies or commercial organisations have stands promoting their services or wares. Once there might have been a string of these government agencies and quangos but now there's just LSIS. One commercial firm, whose name escaped me (which says something about their marketing prowess) was getting lots of attention by dropping iPads from a great height. Wrapped in some ghastly-looking rubber blob, the devices seemed to survive. Well, they would. But would I really want to go around with some huge, rather ugly-looking black rubbery blobby tyre wrapped around the thing? Hardly. It reminded me of the great big bumpers they sued to put on Volvos for a period in the 1970s. I am sure that, assuming Apple doesn't require future buyers to sign a form declaring that they'll never put one of these things on their products in public and kill the market immediately, this will be one of those products we giggle about in a few years' time. The same firm also had sheets of that unbendable but light plastic stuff with slits in that somehow would enable you to create an individual or group workspace or something. Yes. I moved on.

To get a coffee you queued at a table, spooned some instant granules into a cup and then had the challenge of working out how to extract water from one of several silver tube-like affairs with black plastic lids and a sort of spout. These things may look nice but there is never, ever, a clue as to what you're supposed to do. Or what may come out if you do manage to figure out the process. Luckily I was accompanied by someone familiar with the things and eventually managed to press the black part in the right way to get hot water.

Probably the best part of these events is the chance to chat with colleagues and find out what they're doing, meet new people with the same problems as you in making something work and perhaps hope that one of two of the people you meet might give you a chance to do some work for them or give a talk at a staff development session or even another conference.

Whilst I do get nervous prior to giving talks, it is something I always enjoy and get lots of appreciation for afterwards and I'd love to do more of that sort of thing. Our guest speaker this year was Lilian Soon, an intelligent and lively young lady who is particularly good at knowing what to do with mobile devices and getting people to share views using one or another set of web tools. I share a lot of her views and was delighted when she came out with a Google Presentation instead of PowerPoint and referred to VLEs with some disdain. Now that's something I haven't heard anyone else saying. She was a bit uncomplimentary about xtranormal, a nice site where you can make mini cartoon animations which I quite like and I never did find out why but, that minor point aside, she talked a great amount of sense. That is highly unusual for guest speakers at other events but we do seem to get good people at our e-Fairs.

A few minutes in, though, and despite her laudable intent, I did find myself itching to get up and take over. We were sitting in some theatre environment, shades of very dark grey everywhere, remnants of tape on the floor and with odd lights here and there shining directly at three or four of us in the audience and on the floor around her. She was standing on a tatty stage, quite a small area and you could sense that she wanted to wander around but couldn't easily. One leg kept flicking up in an endearing way as if she were about to start running somewhere but didn't. What she said was good but what she demonstrated didn't really work. There was a video of how Google Presentation could be used to create a supposedly stunning animation. I have seen something similar (and a lot better, actually) and this one was not very good. It really needed the background track which I believe contained music and some explanation of what the hell was going on. As it was, you could sense the audience wondering how they were supposed to make a presentation with the stated 450 slides, not to mention why. If anything, that would have put someone off Google Presentations for life.

Lilian then tried to get people to respond to a question by texting their responses which would then appear on the screen behind her. I suppose if she had gone off for a while we might have done something but fiddling around in that light with phones that may or may not have had a connection there wasn't a particularly popular activity and most of us were too busy listening to her anyway. There was also a most distracting animated swirly affair on another screen which repeatedly showed tweets to the e-Fair's hashtag. With a total about about six different messages that got quite annoying. Maybe if the software didn't whirl them around so much it would have been better. We've had these displays before and they been fine but not that one. So only three or four responses appeared and you got the sense that she was struggling a bit. It's all very well showing off these things but they do need to work and the audience needs to be given some ideas as to how they could actually be useful (and work) in a classroom, assuming classrooms are where students will be, of course, in future.

That topic she did touch on and I was pleased to see reference to a range of good on-line courses and materials like The Khan Academy and some American universities. In a similar talk I gave a while ago, though, I had illustrated what they did and what the interface looked like, as well as getting quite a wow moment when people saw the extraordinary list of topics that could be addressed. Lilian really missed those sort of opportunities, running along to the next item without actually making that much of an impression at the time. She was also really having difficulty with connections that simply didn't work with the dreaded NOT RESPONDING message appearing rather more often that any presenter wants to happen. This all serves to worry people who are there to see what they might perhaps try with technology. In a way, you can get away with these glitches and troubles with a highly technically aware audience but not with people who are nervous about what they can do. If she can't work it then what chance do I have? was a theme running around the section of the theatre I was in and I suspect it was wider too.

So, whilst our guest speaker certainly had all the right ideas and such good intent, and did make several great points along the way, it was nothing like as good as she could have been. Luckily, all her items are available on-line and many will go and see some of them as they should have appeared so all need not be lost.

Most of the day would have been spent by people going around the Show And Tell area where nice people from places from Norwich to Bedford, stopping off at Chelmsford and Cambridge on the way, had pcs displaying whatever they'd been working on at their own institutions. Bedford had a student progress tool that could be plugged in to moodle. It looked remarkably similar to the Google Spreadsheet I have been using for years. It was pretty and I am sure there is something about it that would make all the effort put into its development worthwhile but, in terms of simply showing students or managers the progress through units there wasn't much I could see. I guess the automation of its updating when students upload assignments would be a plus but how difficult is it to add a tick to a spreadsheet box? I also wonder how many of my old colleagues would have wanted their students' progress shown as nil (because they hadn't actually handed stuff in) when they were, in fact, doing well, working on them - which was why my sheet had that element of 'seen to be working well' or something like that in a different shade so that anyone observing my or their progress needn't panic. If the sheet picks up all the criteria from some database of BTEC modules, though, now that could be useful - but will they share it? Now there's the rub. For a price, no doubt, knowing Roy Currie!

Lilian had mentioned one excellent point that I've just remembered: here we all are looking at wonderful bits of software and doing this or that with it but what does it actually achieve? Sometimes all it does is show things differently but doesn't really help them learn any better. It can take longer to put something on a VLE than to put it on a blog or your own web site. Do students really appreciate VLEs any more? There are other ways to do things. In fact, I gave that speech way, way back in 2005 at exactly the same College!

One of the best bits of technology on display was from Norwich, where Phil Ackroyd had a dozen mice which people could use at the same time and have their individual marks or whatever displayed on one screen. He told us about Microsoft's free add-in called Multiple Mouse. I hadn't heard of that before and, whilst it did look a bit chaotic at times, I can well imagine how teachers could use this in a class with wireless mice and something like a voting form or marking areas on a drawing. Very simple and that went down really well.

JISC TechDis were on display as well with their well-researched and respected assistive technology. So too was an Apple TV something or other that I'm afraid I didn't get a chance to investigate as thoroughly as I should. Someone was also doing wonderful things with QR codes but the last upgrade on my phone had wiped out a whole pile of apps and QR Reader was one of them. That was several months ago which rather brings it home as to how useful these blurry squares really are in day-to-day life. Yes, I can see the value of a quick way to give people links to material but until some reader is embedded in devices rather than having to be installed and activated it's not for me. Just give me a simple web address. The guy with the codes I remember seeing at another E-learning Forum event some time ago. There he had shown us Google Goggles too and created a brilliant show based on that and QR codes. Today he was at a small desk covered, literally covered, in gadgets but none of them were the sort of thing you wanted to pick up and play with. They may well have been wonderful things and he is definitely someone who knows what he's talking about but maybe needs a little better promotion and organisation next time.

Rod Paley from Xtensis had some cool web templates under construction which looked like an interesting mix of social network and resource sharing for educators. I could see that the structure his colleagues had developed could be a winner in all sorts of fields so that should be worth following. These guys often come up with attractive designs and clever animations and present piles of data well but never quite hit the big time. I may well be working with them for some project I have on the go at the moment. More about that somewhere else. Whoever does the designs had a marble theme this time which was fun and the one and only freebie this year was a bag of XtLearn.net marbles. I managed to get the very last one going. That'll please the kids. Now there's promotion that works - that is, I think, the first link I've put in this article. (I may well go back and ad a few more later.)

Finally, it's the end and Gerard Harper, the RSC Eastern team manager, does his thanks for coming bit and we all clap quite a lot. He wasn't on his best form this year, possibly the harsh-looking cuts to his budget next year were on his mind and leaving him a little lacklustre this time. He's an amiable and well-informed and well-connected chap and, with his team, work very hard to put these events together and in running several varieties of forum throughout the year. These events were once led by the Eastern Region E-learning Forum itself, Gerard's being the agency that supported them and helped make them happen. LSDA, Becta, NLN, Ferl and goodness knows who else would have their logos on the programmes (which I used to design too!) but only LSDA ever put any money into the kitty and even that wasn't much. I did like the fact that the Forum was independent, though, and I have to pay due respect for Gerard's outfit not totally taking them over and allowing anyone, within reason, who wants to show or have a stand use the opportunity. The events are all RSC branded now and they do everything. I just turn up nowadays and didn't even get to pick the prize-winners this time. I was thinking of resigning as Chairman of this E-learning Forum, thinking that there might not be that much more we could do and having little influence on anything at meetings but, after seeing just how little most practitioners and institutions have moved over the years, I can see there is a massive amount still that can be done, needs to be done and, perhaps, it is time to shout a little louder.

Despite all their best efforts, none of the agencies has really had the impact I would have expected after all these years at the classroom interface. Smartboards, VLEs, on-line materials and all the peripheral uses for devices would have happened anyway. On-line courses and the exciting possibilities offered by 'flipping the classroom' or variations of these themes are happening anyway. Universities are slowly waking up and doing things their own way, especially in the States and with Google and other major players. We seem to have lost that connection with the Giants. We need them, whether people, consortia or big companies. The Forum most definitely has a purpose to its existence and the chance to discuss with colleagues what is happening and to share all the super knowledge that exists in out community remains and I want to see that flourish and draw in more people from sectors we haven't yet reached. The Fair, as an annual event we look forward to, should continue and I'm happy for JISC RSC to take care of the organisation of it all but I want the Giants there not just mentioned in passing.

I do blame myself to some extent. I haven't been active enough. Since the last reorganisation at my college I have been tied to a timetable and simply unable to get to meetings or sessions for several years and have had to turn down invitations of give excuses. I even managed get the date wrong last year and miss the Fair completely! I'm free of all that now. So it's time to get my act together, get the Forum back on the road as it once was, get inspirational colleagues back on board and starting doing what we should be doing - demonstrating excellent practice ourselves which, regrettably, didn't really happen this year as well as it might. Few will have noticed, and I am confident that JISC RSC will, once again, get glowing reports on their feedback sheets but I should have added a line to mine: "They worked hard but could do better."


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Lots of Pots of Money - Surely Something Here To Bid For?

1. Money Advice Trust - Innovation Grants Programme 

Grants of between £1,000 and £30,000 are available to charitable organisations in the UK that provide free, independent, effective advice to clients on the strategies available to help them deal with their debts and financial circumstances.

Funding is available for work which will improve the quality and amount of money advice available in the UK, as well as work which creates resources and information which can be shared with other money advice agencies.

Projects must be innovative and look for new approaches to an old issue or the use of an established approach for new issues, needs or audiences.

The priority areas are as follows:

* Developing new information, resources and ways of delivering advice that can be shared with others, and replicated widely.
* Projects which combine money advice and financial capability for people who are usually excluded from society.
* Work which will assist those who are homeless or facing homelessness.

The deadline for applications is 11 July 2012.

2. Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel

Eurostar, the high-speed passenger rail service, is funding the second round of the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel, a programme designed to showcase local, sustainable travel initiatives in three European countries. In order to select the winning initiatives, Eurostar has partnered with the Ashden Awards, which operates the long running green energy initiative, the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy (GRANTfinder reference number UN4270).

The programme will promote sustainable travel initiatives in the UK, France and Belgium where Eurostar operates. It will recognise projects that are innovative, clear, measurable and proven. The award will include a prize fund worth £30,000 and a host of benefits aimed at raising awareness of the winning programme.

The prize will go towards promoting the best environmentally sustainable travel initiatives in local and rural areas or towns. Examples of eligible initiatives include cycling, walking or public transport.

Rural and urban businesses, NGOs, local authorities, not-for-profit groups, social enterprises, public sector organisations, schools and other educational establishments that are undertaking sustainable travel initiatives in the UK may apply. Applications can be made singly or jointly.

Winning projects will be chosen based on their innovative qualities, but will also have to be proven and measurable. Projects will need to have been up and running for at least a year.

The deadline for receipt of applications by Expressions of Interest is 30 October 2012.

3.Santander Social Enterprise Development Awards

The Santander Social Enterprise Development Awards aim to recognise and support social enterprises and Community Interest Companies in the UK that are working to grow their business and improve their local community but require additional financial assistance to help them realise their ideas.

Launched for the 2012 round today, the Development Awards have been split into segments to make sure a range of enterprises benefit:

* Segment A provides a prize of £50,000 to social enterprises with a turnover of £250,000 - £500,000.
* Segment B provides a prize of £30,000 to social enterprises with a turnover of £100,000 - £250,000.
* Segment C provides a prize of £15,000 to social enterprises with a turnover of less than £150,000.

In addition to the cash prize the winning social enterprises will have access to a range of other opportunities:

* Monitoring and evaluation support so the success of the business can be measured.
* Access to bespoke university training courses.
* Opportunity to have a three month intern working in the business to help implement growth plans.
* Networking with other Santander Social Enterprise Development Award winners.
* The chance to showcase the business and the community supported by hosting a Development Award visit.

The types of costs that relate to the following are eligible:

* Improving Social Inclusion
* Supporting Disadvantaged People
* Creating a Greener Environment

The Development Awards are targeted at established social enterprises in the UK with two or more years of trading, which have ambitions to develop their business but need a financial boost to help them realise their ideas.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 2 July 2012.

4. Innovation in Giving Fund

NESTA has launched the second "call for ideas" for the Innovation in Giving Fund.

The Innovation in Giving fund is focused on increasing giving and exchange of time, assets, skills, resources and money in England to achieve social goals and public benefit.

In the first instance, grants of up to £50,000 are available for proposals at any stage of development, from an early stage idea to something with a proven track record and the possibility of going to greater scale. There will also be an opportunity to secure further stages of funding, with additional awards to be made from autumn 2012.

Ideas and proposals are welcome from all sources and sectors and all types of organisations - communities, charities, social entrepreneurs, businesses, academia, public services or other organisations; however, funding will only be awarded for projects that have an identifiable public benefit related to the aims of the Fund.

In particular, in this round, NESTA is interested in the following:

* Harnessing the potential of collaborative and networked technologies.
* Platforms and mechanisms that promote reciprocity - such as the use of time credits, points systems or other complementary currencies.
* Making use of idling capacity - for example ideas that enable people or organisations to share, exchange and redistribute assets, skills and resources.
* Increasing the number of people that make donations to charity and stimulating new audiences.
* Improving the targeting of pro bono support from commercial organisations.

This is not an exhaustive list and proposals of all kinds are welcome that meet the objectives, core criteria and eligibility of the Fund.

To apply, organisations need to complete a short application form and publish a video of no more than three minutes which will then be published on Nesta's Innovation in Giving Vimeo channel. All the video pitches will be publicly available.

The deadline for submissions is 22 June 2012.

5. Community Impact Awards 

The newly-launched Community Impact Awards celebrate the difference housing associations in England are making by giving people opportunities and bringing communities together. Innovative projects that are changing lives in local areas across the country will be rewarded.

There are four separate award categories open in each region; each with its own criteria. Entrants will need to demonstrate how they meet these criteria and why they should win an award.

The categories and criteria are:

Category 1: Better Health

Entrants will need to demonstrate how their project has:

* Tackled health inequalities.
* Promoted independence amongst residents.
* Involved working with local and national partners to improve health and social care.

Category 2: Improving Neighbourhoods

Entrants will need to demonstrate how their project has:

* Brought new life to an area.
* Involved and supported residents to change the area in which they live.
* Improved communities and physical spaces.

Category 3: Building Futures

Entrants will need to demonstrate how their project has:

* Tackled worklessness and financial exclusion amongst residents.
* Provided opportunities for residents to gain vital skills.
* Unlocked the potential of residents and young people.

Category 4: Safer Streets

Entrants will need to demonstrate how their project has:

* Created innovative solutions to anti-social behaviour that challenge stereotypes.
* Supported and involved residents to prevent anti-social behaviour.
* Engaged with local partners to reduce the effects of anti-social behaviour.

The awards come in the form of an accolade to commemorate the winners' good work.

Full members and associate ALMO members of the National Housing Federation may enter. Other partners can help support an application but a Federation member or associate member must be the lead entrant.

The awards are made within the nine regions of England, namely: London, South East, East of England, South West, East Midlands, West Midlands, North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humberside. Members and associate members can enter one project per region.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 23 July 2012 at 5pm.

6. Community Learning Innovation Fund

The Community Learning Innovation Fund (CLIF) has now been launched. This Fund aims to support new and creative community learning opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged people, to encourage adults to take up, succeed and progress in learning.

CLIF will support projects that:

* Widen participation and transform people's destinies by supporting learning and progression in the broadest sense for adults, especially those who are most disadvantaged and least likely to participate in learning.
* Promote social renewal and develop stronger communities with more self-sufficient, connected and pro-active citizens.
* Maximise the benefit and impact of community learning on the social and economic well being of individuals, families and communities.
* Include effective strategies to ensure that the work and its impact can be sustained when project funding comes to an end.
* Align with the work of emerging Community Learning Trusts - a distinct but complementary initiative.

Grants of between £10,000 and £65,000 are available to any provider organisation, based in England, regardless of whether or not they currently receive funding from the Skills Funding Agency.

Bids are welcomed from public, private and third sector, organisations from all backgrounds including culture, heritage, sport, health, community regeneration, environment, arts and craft, broadcasting and technology.

The deadlines for applications are as follows:

* Applications for £50,000 and over: 28 June 2012 (noon).

· Applications for less than £50,000: 5 July 2012 (noon).

7. Inclusive Sport Fund (England)

The Inclusive Sport Fund has been set up by Sport England with the intention of producing a lasting community legacy from the London 2012 Paralympic Games, by growing sports participation by disabled people at grassroots level.

A total of £8 million of National Lottery Funding is available.

The Fund will invest in programmes designed to grow the number of disabled young people (age 14 and over) and adults that regularly play sport. Currently, only one in six disabled adults plays a sport regularly. Programmes should be innovative, scalable and replicable, and make it easier and more fun for disabled people to take part in sport and physical activity more often. In particular, Sport England will be looking for projects that provide:

Evidence of current insight into disabled people’s needs, expectations and motivations, as they relate to physical activity and sport.

Details of any previous successful activities that could be repeated or scaled-up with more investment.

Links to the disability sector with all of its expertise, experience and committed individuals.

Applications will be accepted from not-for-profit organisations such as sports clubs, voluntary and community organisations, local authorities, schools and colleges for revenue grants of £10,001 or more. Private companies may also apply if they can demonstrate that the project is for public good or a charitable purpose and there will be no financial gain.

Application forms will be available from 1 June 2012 with a deadline of 31 August 2012 for applications.

A series of workshops providing further information and support will be organised in June and July 2012

8. BUPA Foundation - Philip Poole-Wilson Seed Corn Fund (UK) 

The Philip Poole-Wilson Seed Corn Fund invites proposals for exploratory/pilot research projects in any of the Foundation’s areas of interest. These are:

· Surgery.

· Preventive medicine and epidemiology.

· Health information and communication between patients and health professionals.

· Health at work.

· Mental health of older people.

The grant awarded should be used to help an applicant develop their ideas, such as to support pilot work, or to bring together a team of people to work on a proposal.

Healthcare professionals involved in research or university-based researchers with an interest in health or social care, based in the UK may apply.

Each application must be made either by a researcher beginning their research career or, if a pilot project by an experienced researcher, must include such a researcher on the team and contribute meaningfully to his/her development and training.

High priority will be given to applications from young and/or new researchers who have not previously been funded.

A total of £200,000 is available each year and grants of up to £20,000 per proposal.

The deadline for Short Form applications is 6 July 2012.

9. Abertay Digital Prototype Grant Funding(UK) 

Abertay University’s business support office has launched a new round of the Abertay Digital Prototype Grant Funding programme. The aim of the programme is to foster economic growth, facilitate job creation, and improve skills development in the sector.

Grants of up to £25,000 are available for small companies (based anywhere in the UK) that are developing their own games or other forms of interactive digital content.

The grants can be used to develop prototypes of original intellectual property (IP), allowing companies to go on to seek further funding or investment to launch their product. As part of the programme's offering, studio space, equipment, and software will be available for companies to use while prototypes are being developed at Abertay University.

Games projects and other forms of interactive digital content, such as e-learning, visualisation, interactive exhibits, online film/broadcast media, or middleware can be supported.

Grants can be used for a range of expenditure identified within the project budget, primarily:

· Costs for a selected number of the applicant's development team.

· Part-time employment costs of a proportion of students or graduates selected as part of the student placement element.

· Additional costs, such as a contractor to fill a gap in the team.

The second 2012 round of the programme is now open with a deadline for the receipt of applications of 12pm on Wednesday 18 July 2012.

10. Panasonic Trust Fellowships (UK)

The objective of the Panasonic Trust Fellowships is to provide financial support to graduate engineers to enable them to undertake full-time Masters courses in subjects related to the environment and sustainability.

This strand of activity complements the existing Trust initiative that supports industrially employed engineers to undertake part-time modular Masters courses.

To be eligible for the award of a Panasonic Trust Fellowship, an applicant must:

· Be a UK citizen.

· Be qualified to degree level in engineering or a related discipline.

· Have membership, at any grade, of an engineering institution.

· Have some industrial experience. This may include experience gained during a sandwich course work placement, or through a 'year out' before commencing university.

· Not be in receipt of an EPSRC or other award to study the course.

Each Fellowship has a financial value of £8,000; £6,000 is paid upon registration with the remaining £2,000 payable upon successful graduation.

Applications should be submitted by the deadline 26 July 2012.

11. BBSRC - Industrial Case awards (UK)

Industrial CASE (Co-operative Awards in Science and Engineering) Studentships enable companies to take the lead in defining and setting up research projects with a HEI research organisation of their choice.

Participating companies must ensure that the placement incorporates wider business-related training for the student in areas such as:

· Project-management.

· Business strategy.

· Finance.

The applicant company must make a financial contribution to the studentships, including:

· An annual contribution, to a minimum of £1,400 per annum, payable to the participating HEI. The first payment should be made on the first day of the studentship and thereafter, each year on the same date.

· Expenses incurred as a result of the company based placement, for example, travel and accommodation.

· A payment to the participating student to the value of a minimum of £2,500 per annum.

Funds are intended to cover the costs of stipends, feeds and the incidental costs of research.

Support is available for companies to undertake research through part funding a postgraduate studentship which is carried out in collaboration with a Higher Education Institution (HEI) partner. Eligible companies should be registered for business and trading in the UK and have a UK research and/or manufacturing base. However, foreign-owned companies that are not registered in the UK may be considered but their assessment will be undertaken on a case by case basis. Proposals are particularly welcomed from SMEs.

The deadline for submissions for the 2012 round is 26 July 2012 (4pm).

12. BT Community Connections Awards

BT Community Connections is an award scheme which offers groups the chance to get online and help people discover the internet.

Recipients will receive 12 months’ free connection to BT Business Total Broadband Advance. As part of the award package, successful applicants are expected to conduct regular internet taster sessions and further training for members of the community.

Applications are welcomed from a diverse range of community organisations, charities, social enterprises and community interest companies that are based in the UK and have a BT business landline. Priority will be given to applications from community groups that operate in areas of deprivation. Previous award winners are eligible to apply.

The deadline for applications is 7 September 2012 (5.30pm).

13. Supporting Excellence in Initial Teacher Education in Further Education and Skills

Phase 2 projects

The interim report of the Independent Review of Professionalism, chaired by Lord Lingfield, was released at the end of March. The final report, which will consider professionalism more widely, will be published in the summer.

One of the main recommendations from the interim report is review of the FE and Skills teaching qualifications which will be led by LSIS.

In light of this review the second phase of LSIS funding for initial teacher education projects has been postponed pending the outcomes of the review.

More information about Supporting Excellence in Teacher Education in Further Education and Skills<http://www.lsis.org.uk/AboutLSIS/MediaCentre/NewsArticles/Pages/SupportingExcellenceinInitialTeacherEducationinFEandSkills.aspx>

14. Emerging Governance Models - Grant Funding opportunity

LSIS is pleased to invite bids from learning and skills provider organisations for grants to document case studies of emerging governance structures and thinking in response to New Challenges, New Chances.

These grants are available to all providers within the learning and skills sector. We are particularly interested in case studies from Colleges, Independent Training Providers and Adult and Community and the Third Sector.

These case studies are intended to be a tool and catalyst to support other governing bodies to review their own governance structures by understanding how some providers have approached this.

Please read the accompanying invitation and guidance, complete and return the application form to fegovernance@lsis.org.uk<mailto:fegovernance@lsis.org.uk> by 12:00 midday on Friday 29 June 2012.

Supporting documents:

* Emerging Governance Models - Guidance to bidders<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/Emerging-Governance-Models-ITT-May-2012.doc>
* Emerging Governance Models - Application form<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/Emerging-Governance-Models-application-form-May-2012.doc>

15. Stepping up in Sustainability: Leadership and Learning Fund 2012

LSIS is pleased to invite bids from learning and skills provider organisations to join the Stepping Up in Sustainability Leadership and Learning Fund 2012. The fund is designed to support the identification and embedding of effective approaches to sustainable development, and to share these approaches with other providers.

Bids, up to a maximum of £10,000, may be submitted by provider organisations working individually or in collaboration with others, but must be for activities that would have transferable learning and benefits for the wider sector rather than just an individual organisation. Bids should focus on one or more of the following topics:

* Leadership and capacity building
* Teaching, learning and curriculum
* Sustainability skills for growth - Future skills and responding to employer needs
* FE-HE partnership working on any of the three topics above

Applications can be made by completing the application form below and returning to sustainability@lsis.org.uk<mailto:sustainability@lsis.org.uk> by 12.00 midday on Friday 29th June 2012. Late applications cannot be considered.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read all of the supporting documents.

Supporting documents:

* Invitation: Stepping Up in Sustainability Fund 2012<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/Stepping-Up-in-Sustainability-Fund-2012-Invitation.pdf>
* Application form: Stepping Up in Sustainability Fund 2012<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/Stepping-Up-in-Sustainability-Fund-2012-Application-form.doc>
* Frequently Asked Questions: Stepping Up in Sustainability Fund 2012<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/Stepping-Up-in-Sustainability-Fund-2012-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf>
* Characteristics of successful bids to the Stepping Up in Sustainability Fund<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/Stepping-Up-in-Sustainability-Fund-Characteristics-of-successful-bids.pdf>

Case studies from past funded projects can be found on the Excellence Gateway.
<http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/sustainability>

16. LSIS Leadership in Technology (LiT) grant based intervention

LSIS is inviting bids from learning providers for project grants of £6000 for technology based improvement activity. The grant is designed to support providers who identify a particular improvement need that can be tackled through the innovative use of technology. This should enable organisations to use technology to achieve measurable and/or clearly identifiable benefits. The scheme aims to take advantage of existing sector expertise and best practice through mentoring, coupled with support from a targeted LSIS Technology for Success workshop.

Applications for the LSIS Leadership in Technology (LiT) grant based intervention are to be made by completing all of the boxes on the accompanying form, including a breakdown of the total cost of the project. No additional documentation should be submitted with this bid unless specifically requested.

The completed application form should be e-mailed to eleadership@lsis.org.uk<mailto:eleadership@lsis.org.uk> titled ‘LSIS Leadership in Technology (LiT) grant based intervention’ by 12.00 noon on Monday 02 July 2012

Supporting documents:

* Guidance document - Leadership in Technology (LiT) grant based intervention<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/LiT-Grant-Guidance-document-2012-13.pdf>
* Application form - Leadership in Technology (LiT) grant based intervention<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/LiT-Grant-Application-form-May-2012.doc>

17. LSIS Leadership with Technology: Regional Collaboration Fund

LSIS is inviting bids for project grants of up to £30,000 per consortium from groups of providers working collaboratively together to achieve a common goal through the use of technology. The focus may be on improving teaching and learning, management or governance across the group of providers.

Bids should demonstrate how the consortium will:

* work together/have worked together to identify the common goal;
* drive towards a step change in performance through the use of technology;
* pool existing expertise and effective practice to the benefit of all; and
* measure success.

Applications for the LSIS Leadership with Technology: Regional Collaboration Fund should be made by completing all of the boxes on the accompanying form, including a breakdown of the total cost of the project and an indicative estimate of the distribution of monies between members of the consortium. No additional documentation should be submitted with this bid unless specifically requested.

Bids must be submitted by email to eleadership@lsis.org.uk<mailto:eleadership@lsis.org.uk> by 5 pm on Monday 09 July 2012 and titled LSIS Leadership with Technology: Regional Collaboration Fund.

Supporting documents:

* Guidance document - LSIS Leadership with Technology: Regional Collaboration Fund<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/Leadership-with-Technology-Regional-Collaboration-Grant-Guidance-document-2012.pdf>
* Application form - LSIS Leadership with Technology: Regional Collaboration Fund<http://www.lsis.org.uk/WorkingWithLSIS/Opportunities/funding-Opportunities/Documents/Leadership-with-Technology-Regional-Collaboration-Grant-Application-form-May-2012.doc>