The Telegraph reports that Steve Jobs said the computer was like a bicycle for the mind. Can technology be the vehicle for improvement in education? Does edtech really have a positive impact on it? These questions preoccupy leaders in education. With the right training, relevant performance measures and a transformation of classroom culture, technology can begin to drive better education in classrooms.
What is the link between edtech and improved learning?
The process must begin with a clear link between technology and learning goals. Speaking at a British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa) insight event, Bob Harrison, a UK educationist who works with the Department for Education (DfE) and Stanford University, said there was a correlation between how teachers used edtech and learning outcomes.
Mark Chambers, chief executive of Naace, the national edtech association said, “Naace members report that, where schools continue to invest in their staff and the competent and appropriate use of edtech, significant gains can be achieved across the whole range of activities of the school – but critically in student achievement in English and mathematics.”
How best to measure the impact of edtech?
Perhaps the hardest area to set out clear markers is the measurement of technology’s impact on school success. According to recent Besa research, teachers were the most valued source for measuring the effectiveness of edtech (44pc in primary schools and 36pc in secondary schools).
Caroline Wright, director-general of Besa, said: “Naturally, teachers highly value the recommendations of their colleagues when it comes to deciding what edtech product is best for them. It is only natural, given they have the first-hand experience of what is working in their classrooms.”
Fitting education for students’ futures
When considering the culture change that needs to take hold throughout schools and wider education, John Camp, senior executive headteacher at the Compass Partnership of Schools, said: “It is important that young people grow with a deep understanding of the transformative potential of technology on the way we live but also have an acute understanding of the inherent threats that come with it.
“We should aim to embed digital intelligence into the way we work so that children become informed users and creators.”
A cog in the machine
School IT must work and be capable of underpinning digital evolution. If WiFi or local network devices do not have the capacity, edtech efficacy is irrelevant. Although technical support is only a small cog in the progress of the fourth industrial revolution under way in education, well-prepared school technicians are able to help the whole platform run smoothly and make edtech happen.
Read more Edtech and the future of learning.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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