Rewarding innovation: changing our attitudes to unleash EdTech

28 June 2018

Education technology (EdTech) has a role to play in schools’ aim to raise attainment and improve opportunities for students upon the completion of primary and secondary education. However, this is only if we change our attitudes to schools’ processes, expected outcomes, teacher development and most importantly the skills that we are looking to develop in our young people.

As a catalyst for process change, EdTech can clearly help schools to reduce staff workload and allow all staff to focus their time on high-quality interactions which can unlock achievement. However, technology alone will not yield the benefits. We need process change to evolve due to the benefit of Ed-Tech otherwise at some point the benefit will vanish.

There is clearly a new momentum within the Department for Education around exploiting educational technology solutions to tackle universal issues and better late than never. If 90 per cent of jobs will require digital skills within the next 20 years, and digital tools can help develop the hard and soft skills needed to thrive in the future workplace then you have to ask why we have waited this long to take this seriously. I sense the potential for a generational opportunity and I am hugely encouraged by the broad spectrum of advocates who seem prepared to push this agenda and change the “deal” that our young people and our workforce experience.

It is an absolute myth that rigour is generated by restriction. Our curriculum is currently either minimal on skills or minimal on interest but absolutely neglectful of the benefit of educational technology. In the last year we have worked with Finish, Singaporean, Australian and Saudi Arabian school leaders and the one thing that they have in common is a desire to develop skills in learners and an understanding that EdTech has a key role to play.

Recycling is our favourite practice. How do you change a process to remove wasted time and increase levels of achievement? How do we bring current technologies into the classroom that change outcomes? The simple answer is by being brave and this is where the Department and Ofsted can help. We need to reward innovation.

Sir Mark Grundy, CEO, Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust

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