The Department for Education (DfE) has revealed details of its new education technology strategy with the promise of £10 million to support innovation in the sector.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds (pictured) is unveiling the strategy – titled Realising the potential of technology in education – today at the Schools and Academies Show in London, with an indication that it involves the creation of an EdTech Leadership Group to define a series of commitments on the use of technology in schools and colleges.
It will include a number of senior educators and is scheduled to report back to the minister by the end of the year.
This will be accompanied by the launch of a series of demonstrator schools and colleges to showcase best practice and provide peer-to-peer support and training for teachers, lecturers and school leaders. Further support will be available in the form of free online training courses for teachers and school leaders produced by the Chartered College of Teaching.
There is also a series of challenges for the edtech industry, including:
using technology to reduce the time teachers spend in preparing and marking homework;
boosting training opportunities for teachers;
identifying improvements in anti-cheating software;
promoting the use of new technology in levelling the playing field for people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Another element involves assistive technology developers working with education experts to make recommendations to the Government on ways to use technology to support learners with conditions such as dyslexia or autistic spectrum disorders.
Software trial service
Schools will receive help in identifying the right technology products for their needs through LendED, a free service set up with the British Education Suppliers Association to try education software before buying it. It is aimed at helping schools to get the best value from the hundreds of millions of pounds they spend each year on digital technology.
The Government will also work in partnership with innovation foundation Nesta to find technology solutions on essay marking, formative assessment, parental engagement and timetabling technology.
A section of Hinds’ speech published before the event says: “Technology is an enabler and an enhancer. For too long in education, technology has been seen as something that adds to a teacher’s workload rather than helps to ease.
“This strategy is just the first step in making sure the education sector is able to take advantage of all of the opportunities available through EdTech.
“We now call on schools, businesses and technology developers to realise the huge potential of technology to transform our schools so that teachers have the time to focus on teaching, their own professional development and, crucially, are able to cater to the needs of every single one of their pupils.”
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0