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Creativity is key

Studies show that creativity will be one of the top three most important skills for workers by 2020

The World Economic Forum has predicted that creativity will be one of the most important skills for workers by 2020. This is a result of the rise of automation which will affect many job sectors, but will likely not have such an impact on creative jobs. Indeed, creativity is a skill which programmers are struggling to instil into Artificial Intelligence, and so will help safeguard jobs in these industries.

But are schools promoting creativity in children? The education system is constantly criticised for being too rigid, with educationalist Sir Ken Robinson even going so far as to say they were “killing creativity”. He describes, “Schools are still pretty much organized on factory lines — ringing bells, separate facilities, specialized into separate subjects. We still educate children by batches.”

Since traditional education often cannot offer children with a creative outlet, the Wonder Why Society aims to fill this gap. We want to promote children’s creative endeavours by providing them a safe place to explore their own interests on our online learning platform. Children can learn, but on their own terms, and about the things they are interested in. The goal is that children will be inspired without the interference of parents or teachers. It provides the perfect space for creativity and imagination to flourish, but still within a school-based environment.

We are also hoping to publish our educational children’s book series with this same aim of promoting creativity. The series follows the adventures of The Wonder Why Society- a group of kids determined to uncover the answers to life’s difficult questions. The characters learn about the world around them through their adventures, which we hope will inspire children to try and make their own discoveries about the world. Our mission is to establish a lifelong creativity and passion in children, where learning is regarded as more than reciting facts from a textbook.

 

The automation revolution and the rise of the creative economy

Sir Ken Robinson on Creativity and Changing Educational Paradigms

The slowly decreasing level of reading ability and how we can help

A recent study has shown that many GCSE pupils have the reading level of a 13-year-old, or potentially younger.

The study conducted on almost one million pupils across the UK has also shown that the difference between reading age and physical age gets worse year after year.
According to Keith Topping, Professor of Education and Social Research at the University of Dundee, the level that children are required to read at each year increases, however, the standard at which they are able to read decreases. Professor Topping, concludes that “With this in mind, teachers could encourage them [children] to talk more openly about what they are reading, and make appropriate suggestions to their classmates… If children are not practicing reading at a high enough level, they are likely to have difficulty understanding examination questions”.

This decline in ability to read causes difficulty at GCSE level, particularly during exams, so, what can be done to help aide this complex situation?
Research has shown that when children write online, with purpose and for an audience, their level of attainment and ability in literacy increases massively. This is how The Wonder Why Society can contribute to fixing this issue: children are given a safe, moderated place to discuss topics that are close to their own heart, and show off their work. We want children to feel proud of the stories that they write, the things that they learn and the research that they do, and to be able to display it to peers, teachers and parents online.

Not only this, but the idea that their work may be seen by their peers also helps them to strive to improve their reading and writing.
Why not see if it will work for you and your students?

Plugging the skills gap

The World Economic Forum reports that 65% of tomorrow’s workers will be in jobs that do not exist today. Introducing digital skills, increasing online awareness and improving industry know-how are essential in ensuring young learners can leave school prepared and ready to succeed in life. In addition the 2017 CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey reports 75% of businesses expect to increase the number of high-skilled roles over the coming years, but 61% fear that there will be a lack of sufficiently skilled people to fill them. Change is certainly needed.

We have the solution. Our 100% moderated online communities create connections between teachers, learners and industry experts, allowing them to collaborate, innovate and learn together. Breaking down the barriers of the traditional classroom, the spaces are changing the way pupils can learn, providing essential digital skills and valuable insights into the world of work.

Following the success of The Wonder Why Society – our primary school community we are now launching Bridgr, for secondary schools in September 2018.

We are looking for industry partners to join this exciting new development.

Both digital communities provide organisations with an opportunity to work with young people and teachers in a completely new way. Benefits for industry partners include;

  • A unique opportunity to collaborate with schools of all types across the UK
  • Address the skills gap and create real social change
  • Have a permanent place in the classroom
  • Inspire pupils to learn about the world of work
  • Opportunity to measure all activity and assess impact
  • Create and empower an effective future workforce

Sam Fisher, Director of Business in Schools says; “Businesses have a lot to contribute to learners to empower young learners and spearhead their success. For the two stakeholders to work effectively together there needs to be more communication, more opportunity to make an impact. Our digital platforms provide that space. The two platforms provide that seamless link between the workplace and the classroom. We now need the support of the business community to make this change”

To find out how your company can join the learning revolution, visit www.businessinschools.org .

 

Let’s talk – safely

Working with children, young people and schools around the ‘difficult issues’ of extremism, exploitation and violence is often framed as negative and scary. Technology is seen as both the problem and the solution – a vehicle through which young people may be exploited or radicalised or a cure-all through which to reach large numbers of people, especially youth, to create counter narratives or anti-extremism content. While both of these perspectives hold validity, the bridging of the online and offline worlds – both of which young people and adults inhabit – is minimal. Large social media platforms cannot tell exactly who is engaging through their platforms, while schools remain a predominantly face to face experience.

Through an exciting new partnership, The Wonder Why Society and ConnectFutures will bridge these worlds to enhance learning and build resilience to negative influence. The Wonder Why Society is a 100% moderated, online learning space, created to help primary school children to develop the skills and digital know-how required to succeed post education. This is technology that enhances rather than replaces face to face contact and learning. At The Wonder Why Society we use our bespoke online platform as a youth-friendly, wide reaching and flexible medium that allows content developed by ConnectFutures to enable young people and teachers to approach these subjects in engaging, positive, and practical ways. Through stories, missions and debates with Wonder Why ‘characters’ – from fake news to resilience to recruitment techniques – young people can participate in activities designed to tackle the tough issues in fun, constructive ways. The platform, which is carefully moderated by The Wonder Why team, enables teachers to monitor and evaluative activities, embedding them in classroom activities and the wider curriculum. When issues arise that require more intense offline engagement, the system allows us to identify a young person and the relevant teacher. This is the creation of a safe, moderated online space, with direct connection to real world learning, to address the issues young people and schools can find most challenging.

So if your school is currently tackling the issue of how to embed Prevent and British values into your curriculum look no further. The solution is here and it’s free to state schools.

To wonder or not to wonder…..

The Wonder Why Society are delighted to announce our new partnership with arts and education charity Shakespeare Schools Foundation (SSF), who run the world’s largest youth drama project.
We are excited to be working with SSF on our shared goals of giving young people across the UK the confidence to succeed in life.
Through their annual Festival, which reaches approximately 1000 schools and 30,000 young people every year, SSF empower children from all backgrounds to bolster aspirations and improve life chances.
By partnering with The Wonder Why Society, children taking part in the Festival from all over the country will be able to collaborate, share stories and support each other via the platform.
Schools using The Wonder Why Society will also be able to access exciting Shakespeare resources via the platform, helping teachers to make teaching Shakespeare exciting and fun to teach!

Staying safe online

wws online safety

Today is Safer Internet Day. The media is painting our world with online safety stories, hints and tips.

As we raise our first truly digital generation, parents and teachers not only face the stress of teaching their children how to deal with issues that arise in everyday life, but also the complexity of teaching online safety.  From text messaging and online video channels to social networking sites and the latest live streaming platforms, it is a minefield.

Parents and professionals face the constant questions; How do you teach your child or your pupils to interact online? Who should you they be talking to? What personal information should they be giving out? Do they understand the potential consequences? The answers to an adult are obvious, however managing it and keeping on top of it is not easy. It’s also not possible to expect complete success through a one off lesson. Safety, managing our digital footprint needs to be embedded into everyday life. Caution about what we share, who we connect with and taking ownership of the internet needs to become part of the education landscape.

At The Wonder Why Society, online safety sits at the heart of everything we do. Our learning community needs to be 100% safe. That’s why we moderate every single post and have rigid reporting mechanisms to deal with any safeguarding concerns.
When we received a post from a child about online grooming we flagged it with the school immediately. The Safeguarding Lead from the school, has since reported back to us that following our concern being raised, “It came to light that there had been potential incidents of grooming with one of our pupils in particular using an app (movie star planet) but two other girls were identified as frequent users on this app thus posing at risk. Police, parents and the local safeguarding board were all informed.”

“I would like to acknowledge the tight and rigorous moderation process you have set up at Wonder Why but also the effective way of informing schools.  Due to your quick response and identification, a situation was dealt with effectively with no serious outcome to the young children at risk.”

Online safety, following the rules, digital citizenship, questioning and thinking is woven into the fabric of The Wonder Why Society. Just by using it children naturally learn the rules and our teachers guide them, offering further help.

Our moderation service is a built in feature of the service we offer schools. The platform is free of charge to all state primaries.  A service that we wouldn’t be able to offer without the support of our partners Ryman and Birmingham Airport. So thanks goes to them too.

This post was difficult to write, but talking about online safety for children, posting about it and having that conversation must be done everyday. No matter how difficult that may be. Because we must keep our children safe online.

The Wonder Why Society is free to state primary schools.

 

Pens at the ready for our new partnership

We are delighted to announce our partnership with Ryman, the high street stationery retailer with heaps more to offer.

Aiming to inspire disengaged children in an aspirational environment, our fully moderated online community safely connects children to learn all about the world. It gives teachers inspiring materials and makes it easy for businesses to work with children in an interactive and engaging environment.

Ryman’s new partnership means lots of exciting educational content housed on The Wonder Why Society website for children to interact with, learn from and engage with, including competitions where children can showcase their work, their talents and win cool prizes!

Ryman believe that working with young people and inspiring future generations is central to future innovation and enterprise and by working with a business like The Wonder Why Society, Ryman can make an investment in their future. “It’s important to consider the changes happening in education and how younger generations are learning today. This is a great opportunity for Ryman to help Wonder Why in delivering a richer learning experience related to the industry, a side some children will not get to learn about until they get their first job.” says Dean Morris, Marketing Director for Ryman.

Samantha Fisher our CEO, said, “We are delivering a really exciting new way for children to learn with each other and with industry experts. We are opening up a whole new world to learners and really looking forward to working with Ryman to engage children, motivate them to learn independently and introduce them to the world of work at an early age so they can aspire to be whatever they want to be.”

Birmingham Airport takes children’s learning to the skies

Here at The Wonder Why Society, we are really excited to announce our official partnership with Birmingham International Airport. By inspiring children to enjoy learning, The Wonder Why Society is tackling two social problems, disengaged learners and the skills gap; a goal that Birmingham International Airport also upholds. By working together, we hope to improve economic, social and environmental well-being.

Through the platform children will be able to interact in Birmingham Airport’s Zone, connecting with exciting information about everyday life at Birmingham International Airport.

We believe that to make long-lasting social change we need to engage young learners, inform them about the world they live in, and the role they have to play so they grow into motivated purposeful adults. Being involved makes a huge difference to learning outcomes, confidence, and helps shape children to be responsible global citizens.

Jo Lloyd, Commercial Director said, “We have always believed that supporting the education of young people is one of the most effective ways in which we can invest in our region’s future. The Wonder Why Society is an innovative way for us to take our education programme forward in an exciting and dynamic direction.”

The Wonder Why Society helps its partners to meet the core aims of their skills gap and CSR strategies by creating social impact and communicating core business strategies, to involve and inspire young people; so why not get in contact today? Visit our website www.thewonderwhysociety.co.uk, or email hello@thewonderwhysociety.co.uk