From the editor
• Stop press
We have introduced a video calendar to provide something to do that is new every weekday (with rollover on the weekends).
• Teachers applying for passwords MUST use their school e-mail and put the school name as a username. Otherwise requests will be denied.
• Genius tip: if your browser isn't filling the screen, pull the edges until it does so! You will get a far better experience.
• What do we do?
We normally provide support for schools through printed textbooks and digital textbooks, videos, creative topics information books, teacher display and worksheet materials and more. Our textbooks have embedded videos.
At this time we are providing both paid memberships (called platinum) and a temporary free access at our silver level (books/videos) for the duration of the emergency. This will allow all primary schools some form of structured distance learning, especially through our webcasts, video calendar and i-topics. Platinum members also get access to teacher reproducibles and service support.
• Student? Parent?
In this time of emergency, passwords are to be requested by teachers only.
We want to give the best public service we can, but this will only be possible if we do not have lots of personal requests. We will not be responding to help requests unless they go through the help desk, and then only in a limited way. Our servers are running flat out. They are tens of times above normal running. And I suspect it will get worse. So stagger your usage time and get better speeds in early morning and evening.
We are trying to add new materials so that you all have structured work in the coming weeks. And we are doing it from home, so our resources are limited.
But do look at the video calendar where I hope to put up something new to do and watch every weekday, even in what would normally be holidays, as I understand many will get bored and also seek direction.
Your teachers are telling us what they want - we are putting anything we don't already have online. For example, the webcasts have answersheets you can write on and send to teachers for assessment.
• Teacher: What can we do to to help?
• Support Paid subscription at platinum level (with support and access to all teacher materials and ability to control passwords and set up subuser accounts) remains available. For enquiries please use the helpdesk.
We cannot provide support for free access users and only one password (for use by all staff and students) is issued.
The telephone is no longer being answered as we are all working from home. This includes password enquiries. The technical support e-mail can get a bit overwhelmed. Please use the helpdesk, not the technical support e-mail unless it is a technical issue.
Here are some common questions and answers. Please come back to this page or keep following our twitter account @CurriculumVsns to make sure you know what is happening
• Limitations: Because of school demand on our servers, free silver access is not available outside UK, US, Canada and Australasia and is only available to schools, not private individuals.
If your school has paid access at platinum level you can ask us to issue a separate password for students/parents, keeping teachers materials for staff only. If you want the same level of access for parents as staff get, just ask us.
If you are using a free password. The same applies. Give it to parents. Then everyone can get access to books, videos and webcasts. However, you will not be able to set passwords, and you will not get access to teacher materials.
• Webcasts - teacher in every home Teacher-led, self-study lesson webcasts are being added every day, so there will be enough to provide structured curriculum support through any school closure next term. Teachers please use them to prepare distance learning tasks. Schools can then keep control of the learning process.
If you are a long-term member of the platform, you will have seen the way that the books have steadily become more responsive. Now book pages can be enlarged and dragged (fabulous for whiteboards), and every book can be searched (the search bar is top right on the book page). On vertically-held tablets and phones the books are displayed one full page at a time and are a joy to read. Swipe to move on. Best opened in tabs, so you can go back to the home screen and keep the book window open, too. Now we have added videos on pages of our core textbooks. We have hundreds more to add, so keep looking our for them.
As a result of these improvements, books have become much more useful and flexible. Our digital platform provides by far the most economical way to let staff have books and other materials to use at home and on whiteboards and also students to use with their parents at home. As publishers of printed books we are not trying to see the demise of things you hold in the hand, but we want to give you more flexibility, and to give you books on specialist topics we could not afford to publish in printed form.We produce new digital books every week.
• Binge-watch our videos?
No, I don't really expect you to do that. But with people now browsing from video to video on the major on-line video platforms, we wanted to have the same kind of facility ourselves, to help you to see quickly what the new videos are that we have added, as well as a few all-time favourites. Just click on the book and video libraries tab on the start screen.
• We need you as champions
I also want to tell you about how to explain to colleagues how to use the new platform. If you are reading this, you are probably already one of our champions, so spread the word to even reluctant staff members by suggesting they play our start screen video. We keep our membership prices stable by adding to our membership base, so if you have friends in another school, do tell them about us, as the more the members, the less likely it is that prices have to rise.
Above all, do make use of the material. Our webcasts are designed to act as distance learning and are done by experienced teachers – even me.
We will post more info, and details of use and so on as the weeks progress. I do hope you will like what we are trying to do, and, as I said at the beginning, we are bound to make mistakes as we rush to serve you for next 'term' so please excuse us if we do. Telling the helpdesk of any problems will help us enormously.
• And finally...
We are currently getting very little income due to school closures stopping book sales, and offering this free service, so please consider moving to paid membership if you find what we do is useful. Please try to pay due invoices remotely.
(Editor and managing director:Dr Brian Knapp)
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