Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced a campaign to increase the use of digital technology in schools, identifying five issues on which the industry and education sector should work together.
He said the Department for Education will work over the autumn with the Chartered College of Teaching, the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) and other industry leaders on a series of measures to promote the cause.
This will include developing online training packages, establishing an online portal providing free software trials for schools, and bringing together industry and school leaders through a series of regional ‘demonstrator’ roadshows.
This follows the provision of support for schools to access ultrafast broadband in last year’s Autumn Budget.
Hinds said there are five key opportunities for innovation in technology to create a step change in education, improving teaching and slashing workloads. These include the development of new:
- Teaching practices to support access, inclusion, and improved learning outcomes.
- More effective and efficient assessment processes.
- Methods for delivery of teacher training and development by upgrading educator support so they can learn and develop more flexibly.
- Administration processes.
- Solutions to lifelong learning to help people who have left the formal education system.
Hinds (pictured) said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to see technology being used in revolutionary ways. Students are able to explore the rainforest, steer virtual ships or programme robots from their classroom, while teachers are able to access training, share best practice with colleagues and update parents on a pupil’s progress without being taken away from their main focus – teaching.
“Schools, colleges and universities have the power to choose the tech tools which are best for them and their budgets. But they cannot do this alone. It’s only by forging a strong partnership between government, technology innovators and the education sector that there will be sustainable, focused solutions which will ultimately support and inspire the learners of today and tomorrow.
He called on big technology companies to work more closely with the education sector, and the DfE said it will be working with businesses and schools to ensure they have the infrastructure in place to be in a position to implement some of the technology.
The announcement brought a positive response from Caroline Wright, director general at BESA.
“The measures outlined by the secretary of state for education today, to support classroom teacher training and development in the effective use of technology, are whole-heartedly welcomed and supported by the EdTech industry sector which BESA represents,” she said.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0