Tech

“Schools need to think carefully before implementing complex online environments”

In March, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi promised high-speed Internet for all schools in the country by 2025.

Speaking to the Bet show in London, Zahawi said the UK must use its pandemic experience as a stepping stone to incorporate new and better ways of using technology in education.

To support this new digital strategy, the Department for Education (DfE) has released its first series of technological standards to be used as a guide “by all those involved in the planning and use of technology within schools and colleges”, from management teams and senior suppliers, to teachers and IT staff, to ensure that staff are better equipped to provide modern teaching.

It also includes minimum internet speed levels in several settings. From a “minimum download speed of 100 Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 30 Mbps” for primary schools, while secondary schools should have the “ability to provide a download and upload speed of 1 Gbps” as well as a connection full fiber for all schools to ensure they can make effective use of all online learning tools. Zahawi also said he will consider the future role of technology in valuations.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi announced earlier this year a set of technology and digital standards for schools and colleges, with guidance for technology and information providers, teachers and senior executives on how to implement them.

This is a bold political statement, as the government publicly recognizes the vital role technology and data played in education during the pandemic and sets the stage for the future deployment of edtech in our schools and colleges.

However, it won’t be an easy feat.

The DfE said it will not interfere or determine what schools of technology will opt for, but it wants to see “a new culture of evidence-based technology use in every school.”

As the past couple of years have shown, schools need to think carefully before deploying complex online environments so quickly. Schools will come under pressure from government policy to provide new digitally enhanced learning pathways for students, so leaders need to establish clear edtech strategies that prioritize student needs and tailored solutions based on their schools’ ongoing challenges.

As the past couple of years have shown, schools need to think carefully before deploying complex online environments so quickly

Most importantly, they will need to consider where technology might be better placed to improve teaching standards and ease the teacher workload, especially given the percentage of teachers who are reportedly intending to quit due to workload and stress.

Creation of a digital infrastructure

Building a strong digital infrastructure in education has been a major goal for the UK government. The pandemic has shown that the education system needs to be more resilient but it also needs to be able to provide much more flexibility for modern students as staff try to make up for time away from the classroom.

The last of the DfE to update on its Get Help with Technology program, it confirms that an additional 600,000 devices were delivered to schools, colleges, academy trusts (trusts) and local authorities (LA) across the country in the 2021/22 AA. This follows success delivery of 1.3 million laptops and tablets in AA19 / 20 and AA20 / 21 and shows significant improvement in addressing the digital divide seen at the start of the pandemic.

This is obviously a step in the right direction, equipping staff and pupils with “school essentials” is the foundation of this new digital strategy, but providing an effective online learning environment within our schools, which satisfies the blended or distance learning when circumstances change – that’s a whole other thing.

Teachers require a continuous view of an individual student’s learning journey, not only to connect the online and offline experiences and disruptions they have experienced over the past two years, but ultimately to ensure that each student’s education is held in place. consideration.

Under government guidelines, schools will quickly begin to implement various edtech solutions as part of their new learning strategies, and data analytics will undoubtedly play a significant role, but a more holistic approach is needed.

Schools and universities will need to set clear learning objectives and ensure that all staff are equipped and properly trained to provide effective online or blended learning. Only then will educators be able to deliver more personalized learning pathways and identify students in need of assistance much more proactively.

Teacher training is critical to edtech’s success

Some teachers have not been officially trained in using edtech tools or designing online learning experiences, as they are not usually part of the teacher training curriculum.

This lack of instructional design knowledge means that starting to create a structured online space can be difficult. Teachers need a greater understanding of digital tools and workflows. Ensuring that staff can use and apply these technologies effectively in class will ensure the best possible learning experience. More importantly, staff should be reminded that edtech is there to simplify their lives, not to replace them – it should complement all current learning goals.

Some teachers have not been officially trained in using edtech tools or designing online learning experiences, as they are not usually part of the teacher training curriculum.

Without knowing what tools teachers have and how they can be incorporated into the current curriculum, teachers will find it extremely difficult to deliver effective learning pathways and track each individual student’s progress.

Moving forward, it will be crucial to ensure that edtech and online learning are included in teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD). Only then will staff be able to create an engaging and varied learning experience. Indeed, they will be able to identify new forms of teaching and make better use of the tools at their disposal, from identifying trends or weaknesses of individuals through data analysis, to group feedback on student work via forums online or an opportunity for role play, then students test the knowledge gained from their review in the classroom.

The government’s digital legacy depends on partnerships

We cannot predict exactly how the school year will develop, but establishing a well-balanced technology-enhanced learning (TEL) strategy will prove crucial and this can only be achieved with sufficient digital infrastructure.

Schools and universities need to work closely with their chosen technology partners, who can share their deep industry experience and together can identify the appropriate tools and design a bespoke solution that works equally for students, teachers and parents. This will offer schools the opportunity to explore new ways of learning and offer new experiences to pupils.

Stewart Watts is Vice President for EMEA at edtech D2L


Read more: All schools will be able to enjoy high-speed Internet access by 2025 – Zahawi

“Schools need to think carefully before implementing complex online environments”

Source link “Schools need to think carefully before implementing complex online environments”

Back to top button