New campaign sees Prime Minister responding to student concerns
A survey by the Anne Frank Trust has revealed young people start worrying about money and jobs as young as thirteen. Over 40% of thirteen- year-olds cite not having enough money and not finding a job as the worst thing that could happen to them over the next ten years. The survey was
commissioned by the Anne Frank Trust to coincide with the launch of Thirteen in 13, a new campaign which gives young teenagers a voice by inviting them to write to the Prime Minister online, telling him
what would make a better Britain for young people. A judging panel of celebrity authors, including Anne Frank’s step sister Eva Schloss MBE, will choose the thirteen best entries and David Cameron has pledged to respond through an open letter in The Times newspaper. A YouTube clip featuring thirteen-year-olds posing behind David Cameron masks has been created, emphasising the campaign’s aim of encouraging young people to step into the Prime Minister’s shoes and consider what would make a better Britain.
As part of the campaign, a new pack of teaching resources is available to download free from the Anne Frank Trust website. The resources include a background to Anne’s life and diary, as well as discussion topics and classroom activities, which enable Thirteen in 13 to become a school project with students writing
their letters to David Cameron in class. The resources are aimed at years eight and nine and have English and Citizenship links. Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m delighted to support the Thirteen in 13 campaign to encourage young people to write about what they want to see in the world in which they are growing up.
“Every decision that every government minister makes should have the next generation in mind, whether it's how we mend our country's finances, fund our universities or ensure that we protect the environment. So I look forward to seeing some of the letters that are sent in and having the opportunity to respond."
uFor more information about the Thirteen in 13 campaign visit www.13in13.org.uk
Rain or shine? Met Office forecasts for children
The Met Office has launched Rain or Shine, a new daily weather forecast for children. Rain or Shine is aimed at children in Key Stages 1 and 2 and the daily forecasts provide children with a quick, fun and easily digestible view of the weather. The programme is available via the Met Office Education YouTube channel and the TeacherTube website.
The forecasts, which are prepared and presented by specially trained Met Office forecasters, also provide a daily resource for teachers to use within lesson plans to support the National Curriculum. Mat Richardson, Education Manager at the Met Office, said: “Our education pages provide teachers with a variety of resources which cover Key Stages 1 to 4 of the National Curriculum. Rain or Shine offers teachers another fun, interactive way to support their lesson plans.” The Met Office Education YouTube channel also features simple weather experiments that can be carried out in the classroom and weather and climate ‘explainer’ videos.
The Met Office Education pages also have activities and material based around the national curriculum to help teachers and students understand weather and climate.
NAO robot revolutionizes education for children with autism
Aldebaran Robotics, creator of the NAO humanoid robot, has launched the ASK NAO Initiative, where ASK stands for Autism Solution for Kids. With the help of NAO, the company aims to help improve special-education teaching by stimulating social interaction through play and allowing users greater autonomy.
Dr Olivier Joubert, Autism Business Unit Manager at Aldebaran Robotics, explains: "Most children on the autistic spectrum are naturally attracted to technology. Thanks to its humanoid shape, NAO acts as the perfect bridge between the world of technology and that of humans. We have designed educational games to work on verbal and non-verbal communication, emotion recognition, mimicry, as well as academic foundations." He continues: "Not only does NAO unlock skills from within the children, it can also, above all, give them self-confidence. Following a year of testing, and given the positive feedback we got from our beta-test schools in the UK and the US, as well as the encouragement we received from the autism community, we made the decision to launch the ASK NAO Initiative so that all specialised schools could benefit from it."
The NAO applications, developed in collaboration with teachers, are inspired from behavioural methods, such as Applied Behaviour Analysis; Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication-related handicapped Children; Picture Exchange Communication System; Social- Communication, Emotional-Regulation, and Transactional Support; and, finally, the Denver Model. These NAO applications are intended to develop children's social skills and learning abilities through encouragement and reward.
The ASK NAO Initiative is supported by educators that specialise in autism and by the children's parents, who consider NAO to be a technological breakthrough specifically designed to meet the requirements of personalised educational support.
Sarah Quickenden, a teacher at Topcliffe School, Birmingham, explains: "When you have technology as sophisticated as NAO, the kids just seem to succeed. It is a very, very different kettle of fish with them: [NAO is not] judging them, therefore, they feel comfortable and their self-esteem rises. This has a huge impact, not only when getting the child to do the activities that NAO has set them, but also in other aspects of their life.
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