I was crate digging at my local used vinyl emporium a little while ago and came across some sound effects records from the early ‘60s. Nothing amazing, until I checked the track list and noticed “Sounds of Football Match — ‘Block that Kick!’”
If you’re a Beatles fan like me, you’ll know what I suspected and then found to be true: I was holding the source of not just one, but several of the sound effects used in “Revolution 9” as well as the bird effects heard on “Across the Universe” and “Blackbird.” Apparently this must have been a popular disc at Abbey Road.
Now I mention this as a preamble to this amazing website by the BBC, in which they’ve opened their archive of 16,000 (technically 16,016) sound effects, many of which have surely been used over and over on various radio plays. (For the Americans out there, yes, BBC Radio still produces radio plays!)
It’s an ambitious plan to transform the benefits system – but it looks as though the technology meant to power universal credit is turning into another great government IT disaster.
This morning the work and pensions secretaryIain Duncan Smith told the BBC that the planned 2017 deadline for the programme would probably slip – although the DWP statement still talks optimistically of the continued “safe and secure roll-out” of the scheme.
One civil servant close to the situation has painted a rather different picture. He tells me that DWP staff at the frontline are doing a heroic job using the IT but they are “struggling so much with the number of times they have to re-key, systems are crashing. They’re not joined up, they just can’t cope with the messy reality of people’s lives”.
The IT system that the DWP is using at the moment is the one severely criticised in a National Audit Office report. It has been developed mainly by big outside contractors such as Accenture and IBM at a cost of more than £300m. Some believe much of that money will have to be written off.
I wrote a piece for University Business on the future of education technology. You can read it here.
UK HE is placing a higher priority on attracting international students than ever before. Indeed, my own institution, the University of the West of Scotland, has recently been rated as amongst the top 5% of universities worldwide. While this is an exciting development it also comes with its own challenges including tailoring teaching, research and the university’s procedures to ensure a fulfilling experience. Enabling all of this is the underpinning technical infrastructure.
Entries are now being accepted for the startups category of Jisc’s edtech competition, which supports startups and student ideas for education. With the UK’s first Edtech UK Global Summit having taken place in London earlier this month, it certainly seems that the UK edtech sector is tipped for take-off, and Jisc’s startups competition could give edtech startups the boost that they need. Winners will provide real solutions for education sector issues, and stand to bag funding of up to £20,000 and business
Google and Udacity have launched a free, learn to program scholarship, exlusively for Europeans.
The great thing about the web is that it enables anyone – from anywhere, of any age, and any skillset – to start a new business, grow an existing one, become an entrepreneur, a developer or a content creator or hone a new skill. From Berlin to Birmingham we’ve met people across Europe who are doing just that – developing the digital know-how needed to achieve their dreams.
Like Evrard in France, who works for GreenRiver, a small company providing private cruises along the river Seine and the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris. He joined our training programme Google pour Les Pros, where he was trained by a Google AdWords advisor over three months. He learned how to launch digital marketing campaigns and discovered other tools that helped increase their online visibility. He told us, “After Google pour Les Pros training our business grew by 30% and sales grew by 60% in one year”. Green River is now using Evrard’s learning as a stepping stone to further success.
Evrard is just one of the nearly 2 million people we’ve trained over the last 2 years as part of our Growth Engine programme to help close the digital skills gap among Europeans. And yet there’s still more work to be done. On current projections, the growing gap between skills required and the training that workers receive, has lead the EU to predict that almost a million ICT jobs would remain unfilled by 2020.
That’s why today Google, Bertelsmann (the global media, services and education company) and e-learning provider Udacity are coming together with a goal of closing the mobile digital skills gap in Europe and preparing the new European workforce with the mobile development skills needed to help them get a job or start their own business.
There was a time when knowing how to program was for the geekiest of geeks. That’s not exactly the case today. As most entrepreneurs, freelancers and marketers will tell you, learning how to program can help you succeed.