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Views & Opinion

Getting children learning outside the classroom

Comment by James Benjamin, Student Travel Friend tours

Over the past decade educational tours have become a must with education providers rather than an optional sightseeing break. We and many educational providers believe that “outside the classroom” learning has additional benefits to help students develop understanding and interest in subjects which the classroom can’t offer. Learning will become more

relevant, more engaging, the students will become more creative and more imaginative. We want each and every student to arrive back at school with the hunger, passion and desire to succeed in the subject, and use what they’ve have learnt on the educational tour to help them achieve the best possible grade. Student learning in the classroom is effective but, for instance,

instead of the student hearing and reading about the Roman Empire, why don’t they visit glorious Rome, have a private viewing of the Colosseum, attend gladiator school and eat like a gladiator, or even talk to a 219 BC Roman about the Roman conquests? Every tour is unique to the educational provider, based around

the desired learning outcomes of the student. The learning outcomes generally range from a basic “increase the student’s interest in the subject” to more specific learning outcomes such as “develop the student’s use of the Spanish language with the emphasis on a specific area.” The key is most definitely detail for us, from the breakfast menu

to the coach seating to a surprise re-enactment from a scene in history which the learning provider requested to focus the tour on. During the initial enquiry stage we ask the learning provider to tell us the desired learning outcomes of the educational tour, the subject and where they wish to travel. This information will be used to create a bespoke educational tour. When we discuss the learning outcomes we will want to know as much detail as possible, and will even look at the examination board to meet their specifications. Pre-tour we will create a detailed day to day, itinerary overview,

meet and greet the parents and answer any questions they may have. In the final weeks before the tour we will discuss the fine details of the tour such as dietary requirements, room allocations and the transport seating plans. During a tour you will have a CRB-checked travel representative

with the group at all times to deal with any unforeseen issues and make sure the educational tour is fantastic as we hope it is from start to finish. After your bespoke educational tour, we will ask you to give us any feedback because we always want to improve too. At Student Travel Friend, we have a passion for travel and being

able to provide a bespoke service in educational tours. We pride ourselves on tailoring your tour to specific learning objectives and aim to provide not only an educational experience but some fantastic memories for students, along the way.

April 2016

Why higher education holds the key to Britain’s data analytics fortune

Comment byMichael Brightman, Lecturer in Economics, University of Central Lancashire

It’s difficult to find a statistic that better illustrates just how vital data analytics is to our country’s future than that from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) which revealed the growth in big data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) will add an estimated £322bn to the UK economy by 2020 and create 182,000 new jobs. Another statistic – this one

from Tableau Software – found that less than a third (30%) of UK graduates believe data analytics will be critical in ‘fulfilling their career goals’, despite LinkedIn naming it the number one skill that UK employers currently seek. That’s a worrying paradox: UK plc is keen to embrace the multi-billion pound data analytics opportunity, but a large chunk of its future workforce could turn up on day one lacking the skills to do so. As a lecturer in economics, it is important that I do my bit to address

this looming skills gap. Employability – the acquisition of skills to survive and thrive in the workplace – is at the heart of my teaching programme. Although economics and data have long been comfortable bedfellows, the sheer amount of data created by the digital revolution means it is critical my students learn how to find it, prepare it, analyse it and use it to judge when conclusions are sound and supported by the evidence. Data analytics tools are a critical partner in this learning process. We

use visual analytics software like Tableau, provided to schools and universities free of charge, as an integral part of teaching as they allow my students and I to display, manipulate and explore data in an interactive way. For example, when we are discussing net migration, we’ll use visualisations of Office for National Statistics data to challenge assumptions made by politicians and the media. The mandate to skill up in data analytics transcends economics too.

In the workplace of the future, nearly every job role, in every department, company and sector will demand it. More must be done to ensure these skills are institutionalised right across the curriculum and not just the familiar courses of statistics and computer science. This way of thinking is making employability a reality. For example, a

student of mine Jenni Roe recently secured a job as a project manager at Blackpool-based software provider Voiteq, and credited her data analytics skills as a key differentiator: “Being able to analyse data and draw out actionable insights has not only set me up for success in my career, but it’s enabled me to think differently – to identify patterns, ask the right questions and be more business-savvy.” She is one of the first in a new breed of data-savvy graduate

employees. Employees that can work with data analytics tools just as easily as they can work with Word documents.

In our technology-

driven society, Britain urgently needs lots more Jenni’s. Educational institutions must rise to the challenge of producing them. 15

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