Toli Papadopoulos, Author at Education Matters Magazine - Page 165 of 168

Toli Papadopoulos

Renault Master Bus

Renault’s premium transport for the First XI

Buying a new Renault Master 12-seater Bus is a good way for school administrators and principals to encourage teachers to volunteer to escort pupils to off-site engagements.

The Renault Master Bus is based on the highly successful van of the same name and is very easy and comfortable to drive.

It’s very safe too, with the engine up front, not between the seats, meaning there’s a larger, safer crumple zone in front of the occupants.

And with dual airbags, a driver head and chest airbag, ABS and traction control, ESP and Grip-Xtend as well as a myriad of clever electronic aids, both passive and active safety systems give their all in the protection of those on board.

Renault Australia has specified the Bus with 12 seats so that there is plenty of legroom and shoulder room for growing kids, while behind the back row of four individual buckets seats there is a huge space for school bags or sports kit, or both. The uncompromising luggage space means teachers don’t necessarily need to tow a trailer when taking the bus away on a camping weekend, making life easier for all concerned. Plus a roof rack can carry up to 200 kilograms (including the rack).

An optional cargo barrier will be available complete with two metal shelves to allow the floor-to-ceiling space to be safely, yet fully loaded. Because the barrier sits behind the rear seats, a glazed panel in the roof provides the required third emergency exit and allows in plenty of light. All emergency exits are equipped with a hammer to break the glass in case of the need to evacuate in a rush.

Renault has priced the Master Bus from $59,990 (Manufacturer’s List Price, but less for ABN holders), making it exceptionally affordable. Renault running costs are reduced with up to 30,000 kilometres between scheduled servicing or once per year (unlike some that demand a day at the dealership after just 10,000 kilometres) and the first three scheduled services costs only $349 each. Renault protects its LCVs with a 3-year/200,000-kilometre-factory warranty, and this can be extended to five years, which is very handy for schools that don’t clock up big km on a regular basis.

Of course there are lap/sash seat belts for every seat as well as ISOFIX connections and tether strap hooks on two seats, just in case smaller tots are carried.

The air conditioning system has been designed to cope with Australian conditions, which means it can cool the cabin down very quickly even if the bus has been left in the sun for a while at a cricket or netball game. That means the engine doesn’t need to be left idling to run the A/C all the time, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Getting in and out is easy, too, with a powered step emerging from under the side sliding door aperture even for models with the manually activated door. An optional electrically powered side sliding door is controlled by the driver.

Should the driver attempt to drive off with the side door open an alarm sounds and the door automatically begins to close.

Teachers will love driving the Renault Master Bus because it is very quiet, with barely any engine noise reaching the cabin. The smooth automated gearbox makes very slick changes and the elevated driving position gives a commanding view over the road.

Despite being 6.2 metres long and almost 2.5 metres high and over two metres wide, the Master Bus doesn’t feel huge on the road, or even when parking, thanks to a standard reversing camera.

Smooth sides and flush glazing also help to reduce wind noise from reaching the cabin, making the Bus exceptionally pleasant on longer journeys, even on the freeway at cruising speeds.

The 2.3-litre single turbo diesel engine is also very light on fuel with around 10 or 11.0-litres per 100-kilometre consumption easily achievable, depending on load, topography and headwinds. With a 100-litre thank, that means a theoretical range of more than 1,000 kilometres per fill, helping to further drive down the cost of transporting the First XI.

“We have designed the Master Bus to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of school users in Australia,” says Lyndon Healey, Model Line Manager for Renault LCV.

“We have a bus that is easy to drive, efficient to run and affordable to service.

“It is comfortable to drive and to sit in as a passenger, and it is exceptionally spacious down the back, with particularly generous luggage space especially compared with typical rival vehicles.

“For schools looking for a smart, spacious and affordable solution to moving small groups of pupils or teachers around, the Master Bus fulfils their requirements perfectly,” he says.

“And if the 12-seat configuration doesn’t work for you, talk to us to see how we can devise a version to meet your exact needs. After all in Europe there are more than 380 different variants on the Master van theme, so there will be a solution that’s right for you,” Lyndon says.

Find out more about the new Renault Master 12-seater Bus via the Renault website.

School Shades

School Shades: One teacher's initiative for student eye health

Education Matters in a recent interview. “My son had an eye disease that was treated by a paediatric ophthalmologist who advised by that under Australia’s harsh UV rays, my son (and all children) should wear a pair of sunglasses to protect their eyesight. “As a primary teacher of 10 years, I wondered why we sent our students out to play only with a hat but as teachers, we wore a hat and sunglasses when supervising playground duty. If adults saw the need to wear sunglasses, why not provide them for children was their eye is more susceptible to damage from UV rays during its development?” Recent research shows that children require a minimum exposure to natural light of around two hours per day to reduce the risk of developing myopia. But if children aren’t protected from harmful UV radiation during those times, severe damage can take place, leading to problems with eye health that may not become prevalent until years later. It was this problem Mr Whetton hoped to solve, yet after dozens of meetings and emails with existing sunglasses suppliers, he realised that if he was to provide affordable eye wear to students around the country, he would have to start his own line of products. “I created the School Shades brand and product, found a manufacturer, and eventually found the pathway to addressing Principals at their area meetings. I have met with state politicians and I have leaned on my Masters research skills and been featured at University.” Now, Mr Whetton has addressed 25 Principals’ conferences across Australia, speaking to thousands of primary school leaders regarding their responsibilities to promote sun safety and, more specifically, eye health. As a result, 100 schools from around the country have partnered with School Shades to provide approximately 20,000 students with sunglasses. And while the sunglasses do cost money to produce and distribute, Mr Whetton said the project has been “funded and energised by [his] zeal to make this change for the health of Australian kids”, and was never intended to be an exercise in generating profits. “The sponsorship of Principals’ meetings and the running of the business is expensive,” he said. “I do not draw a salary from this initiative.” Instead, either the school or the school’s P&C Association funds the purchases of the products for their students, with that money being used to produce and market more pairs of sunglasses. Each student is then assigned a pair to keep and label, which they are expected to wear during breaks, particularly during peak UV times in the middle of the day between 10am and 2pm. “Our shades are branded and colour-matched to the school, so it becomes part of their school uniform. Students clip the included carry case onto their bag and wear them every day,” Mr Whetton said. You can learn more about this initiative via the School Shades website.  ]]>

Tennant Carpet Care products

Tennant: Carpet care for a fast-paced world

In today’s fast-paced society, cleaning is restricted to tight schedules, whatever the day, whenever the time, and this has had a direct impact on cleaning turnaround times.

To deal with these time constraints, the carpet care paradigm has shifted. The focus is no longer on cleaning stains after they occur; rather a proactive approach to maintaining carpet appearance and cleanliness has developed in instead. This involves preventative maintenance measures such as dry vacuuming and interim cleaning with the use of carpet cleaning equipment.

Tennant’s innovative ReadySpace® Rapid-drying Carpet Cleaning Technology cleans and dries carpets in under 30 minutes. This minimises area closure times and allow for the removal of soils before they become embedded in the carpet fibres. Carpets remain cleaner over time, last longer and extraction is required much less frequently.

Tennant also provides a complete line of vacuums for daily carpet maintenance. Tennant’s vacuums are durable and versatile with heavy-duty, cordless, wet-dry, backpack and wide-area vacuum options available. Most of our vacuums are also available with HEPA filtration systems to maintain indoor air quality and certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute.

More Information:

Brain neuroscience EduTECH

UK neuroscientist to discuss digital disruption in the classroom at EduTECH 2016

As a scientists, writer, broadcaster and member of the House of Lords, Baroness Susan Greenfield (CBE) has an extensive and varied education, but her favourite topics include how emerging technologies influence the brain – a subject that is of particular interest to educators.

Due to speak later this year at EduTECH, Baroness Greenfield will present on the topic ‘How the digital world will change the way we think and learn’. Seizing the opportunity, Education Matters put in a call to discuss the future of technology in the classroom with Baroness Greenfield.

One of the topics high on our interview list relates to the push towards promoting STEM subjects in Australian classrooms, and in particular with a number of experts predicting that coding will soon become synonymous to literacy skills. Baroness Greenfield, however, is skeptical about these ideas.

“The word ‘literacy’ is very emotive, I think,” she said. “You can become skilled in coding and many other similar tasks, but literacy implies an understanding and application to a wide variety of life’s aspects. To say someone would be literate in computing and robotics means something much narrower than the way we apply it to reading.”

“Coding doesn’t open up an understanding of the world in the way books do.”

Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that technology is changing rapidly, and often ends up having unintended consequences for the classroom paradigm, but Baroness Greenfield doesn’t think educators need to feel like their losing touch or struggling to keep up.

“The crucial issue that’s often forgotten is asking yourself, ‘What do I want to achieve?’. Until you know that, it’s hard to identify if you’re achieving anything. Most educators would agree that the focus is still very much on teaching kids to give the right answers to specific questions, but I don’t personally believe that’s ever been the real objective of education. Rather, it’s about facilitating students’ abilities to join up the dots in new ways, to foster confidence in new ideas – and that can only be achieved through inspirational teaching.”

Rather than replacing the work of a good teacher in any way, Baroness Greenfield believes that technology fills the role of an “adjunct” rather than an alternative, and that inspirational teachers will therefore find inspirational ways to engage with children via technology. But, she stresses, we’re yet to see the full impact of the digital generation.

“People talk about millenials, but we have to remember that Facebook only arrived around 2006,” she said. “That means the generation that are truly immersed in the digital world are still at school. Once they graduate and start taking part in the workforce, then we’ll begin to see the real impacts of digital disruption, in my opinion.”

While change is inevitable in some respects, Baroness Greenfield is quick to point out that the changes we see are nevertheless mediated by the current generation and how we shape education decisions and policy as a guide for future generations. As such, there are a few key issues she’s particularly keen to address before they become larger problems.

“Teachers continue to be overworked and underpaid in most places in the world, with many leaving the professions as a result. There’s too much regulation and so the career is no longer an attractive scenario. People need to feel relaxed and happy if they’re to do a job well over a long period of time.

“Ultimately, the notional of the teacher/pupil classroom will never change,” she said. “The best way to learn is for someone to teach you. For example, I taught medical students for many years within a traditional Oxford/Cambridge teaching system of question and answer. Just like the Ancient Greek dialogues – that’s how you develop ideas, that’s how you develop teaching that should never change. You could use screens or other technologies to facilitate that relationship, but you can’t move away from what is a very exciting human interaction.”

EduTECH will take place from 30 May – 31 May, 2016 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre this year. See the website for further details.