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Week Ending: 27th March - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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With the UK on lockdown and coronavirus still spreading across the globe, it’s clear it is not going away anytime soon and it’s sometimes hard to remain positive. However, it has been a busy week in the world of I.T. and Tech news and there has been some positive movements that we thought it would be great for you to catch up on. In this week’s roundup we talk about how a popular game is helping pupils’ minds stay stimulated and sharp as UK schools shut down, how the limit for contactless card payments are increasing to reduce the need for physical contact in shops, and lastly how a virtual pub has been created and has become an online hit as people join from all over the world.

Minecraft aims to keep young minds stimulated with free lessons

Minecraft has made the best out of a bad situation by offering free educational lessons to children. Until the end of June, the videogame company has set out to help pupils who can no longer attend school, and can be played individually, or with parents or friends.

It was announced that 12 digital lessons are available to download, including tours of the International Space Station and the inside of the human eye. Not only this, pupils can also participate in creative writing, puzzle games teaching them how to code and think like programmers, go on a virtual tour of Washington DC’s most historic sites like the White House, the Pentagon and the Lincoln Memorial. Plus, play a game about generating power from alternative energy sources, such as wind and nuclear.

The Minecraft owner said: “Educators around the world are doing everything they can to provide digital lessons for the half a billion students who are out of school.”

It’s fantastic what Minecraft has done in order to encourage young children to learn and keep their minds sharp and stimulated, along with other educational resources. Read more here.

Contactless card payments to increase to £45

In the news this week, it was announced that from 1st April the need for physical contact whilst paying in shops will be decreased significantly as the contactless limit for in-store spending is set to increase from £30 to £45.

The increased limit may take time to be implemented in every retail store, but the change will be introduced at the start of April.

Andrew Cregan, the British Retail Consortium’s head of payments policy, said: “The last contactless limit increase to £30 took two years to implement but, given the extraordinary circumstances we face today, this new £45 limit will be rolled out from next week.

“Some shops will take longer to make the necessary changes, given the strain they’re under. In the meantime, most customers can continue to make contactless payments for higher amounts using their smartphone.”

Other countries are also reducing the need for people to handle cash. For example, Ireland’s contactless limit will increase from €30 (£27.50) to €50.

This is certainly a positive move in the right direction as steps have been taken to reduce the need for physical contact when citizens are shopping for their essentials.

Learn more here.

A virtual pub becomes a Facebook hit

A former landlady, Jo Bowtell, who used to run The Noel Arm in Leicestershire has set up a virtual pub on Facebook to help bring people together and to lift spirits.

The Facebook page now has more than 5,500 members from all around the world and people who join can enjoy a host of entertainment such as live music, pub quizzes, darts and comedy shows – all shared through Facebook live videos, Skype or YouTube.

On the group, members are sharing photos of their home “beer gardens”, selfies with drinks, and 10 “bar staff” are helping run the “pub”.

Miss Simms, a musician who played a two-hour set was able to share her PayPal details with viewers so they could donate if they wanted. She said: “It is great because you watch people coming online and having banter while playing. For me, it was just like playing a gig. I was telling people to sing along."

Miss Bowtell, of Spondon, Derbyshire, said: "Everyone is buying into it as they can sit at home and be entertained as if they are in the same place. It is a haven.”

In such bleak times, it is important to find a positive and give people something to be excited about and in this instance, technology has allowed individuals to become part of an online community where members can instantly share entertainment and updates whilst in the comfort of their own home.

Learn more here.


Those were some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: