The Department for Education has this week published its new strategy designed to improve the use of technology in education. The document outlines some of the challenges that the education sector faces and promotes the role of technology in tackling some of them by increasing efficiency, supporting excellent teaching and improving student outcomes.
The Department for Education has committed to supporting the use of technology in education through looking to address barriers to adoption and providing £10m to support innovation in the sector. The strategy looks to address issues such as connectivity, digital capability and skills, getting the right tools and promoting online safety. The aim is to have full-fibre internet connectivity in the schools that need it most, support and training for schools in how to use the technology, and to explore how to facilitate a better online marketplace for education.
Generating a vibrant and high-quality EdTech market is key to ensuring this strategy works. Helping start-ups scale has been identified as a significant barrier so the department will look to support the EdTech industry to work collaboratively with the needs of the education system to drive innovation. They will set out a clear ambition, create new opportunities for buyers to meet sellers and ensure EdTech businesses can access the finance they need to start up and scale.
The DfE commits to establishing:
- A small ‘testbed’ of schools and colleges to support the development, piloting and evaluation of technology;
- A series of innovation competitions to promote product development in areas where the existing market offer is not yet well developed. We expect that the winning bidders will work in partnership with the education sector and evaluators to help build our understanding of what works;
- Leading ‘demonstrator’ schools and colleges to exemplify how these technologies can be used to best effect, and which build on existing good practice in the sector.
Moreover, a new EdTech Leadership Group made up of representatives across the education sector and industry will continue to drive this agenda forward and aim to produce an EdTech agreement by the end of the year. Through this strategy teachers, education leaders and lecturers should start benefiting from technology and realise it’s potential in education.