Instagram Set to Overtake Twitter as a News Source

  • Research from the 2020 Reuters Institute Digital News report suggests Instagram is set to overtake Twitter as a news source and that use of Instagram for news has  doubled since 2018.
  • The trend is strongest among young people. It said nearly a quarter of UK 18-24-year-olds used Instagram as a source of news about coronavirus.
  • Instagram is now used by more than a third of all people who answered the survey, and two-thirds of under-25s. 11% use it for news, putting it just one point behind Twitter.
  • “Instagram’s become very popular with younger people”, said Nic Newman, lead author of the report. “They really respond well to stories that are told simply and well with visual images”.

Snap is Taking on Facebook, Google and Apple

  • Snap, the company behind Snapchat, has revealed plans to launch a complete digital platform to take on Facebook, Google and Apple.
  • The company is launching an app store, expanding its games platform and offering the facility for external developers to upload machine-learning models to build augmented reality (AR) experiences. It is allowing other apps to integrate its camera software for the first time, and incorporating businesses into its maps, alongside users’ friends.
  • Bobby Murphy, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer said: “In terms of the long-term future, we believe very strongly in the idea that computing overlaid on to the world, and AR and the camera, in particular, will be the foundation for the next major shift in technology.

Scheme Launched to Provide Internet to Poorer Families in England

  • Free internet access is being offered for six months to help some disadvantaged children study online.
  • A scheme will provide 10,000 families in England with vouchers for internet access for 6 months, funded by BT and distributed by the Department for Education.
  • This move comes amid calls from MPs to ensure access to the internet for all or risk increasing the attainment gap between poor and wealthy students. 
  • Wayne Norrie, Chief Executive of the Greenwood Academies Trust, warned that many families in his schools rely on mobile phone data for an internet connection and that learning from home was “not realistic”.

Study Finds Pupils Not Engaging With Set Work at Home

  • A report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) found 90% of teachers said their pupils are doing less or much less work than they would normally at this time of the year.
  • Limited or no access to technology was a problem for around a quarter (23%) of pupils, school leaders told the NFER. 
  • Secondary schools with the highest number of children eligible for free school meals reported that 48% of pupils were engaged with learning activities, compared with 66% and 77% of pupils at schools in the middle and lowest brackets.
  • Teachers from the most deprived schools report lower parental engagement, at 41% than those from the least deprived schools, at 62%.

COVID-19 Placed Millions of Girls at Risk of FGM

  • Two million girls who would otherwise be safe from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are believed to be at risk over the next decade as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • Campaigners say that many families around the world have been using school closures to carry out the practice and arrange marriages. In Kenya, girls are being cut by the dozen as parents look to gain financial security during the pandemic, said anti-FGM campaigner Domtila Chesang, from West Pokot county.
  • Domtila Chesang, who has been travelling around the region of West Pokot County, Kenya, campaigning and speaking on radio programmes, said “Being in school is the main reason girls don’t get cut. The girls are safe in school. With the schools closed, there’s no alternative – they are left to the mercy of their parents and communities.”

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