Think Tank Calls for New UK Ed Tech Strategy

The Education Foundation think tank has released a report calling for a revised UK education technology strategy with a focus on knowledge sharing, universal broadband, and cloud adoption.

Neil Merrett of Kable, says that the group’s Technology in Education: A System View would also like to see a “strategically linked” technology component to the learning process and increased recognition among inspectorate bodies of the role ICT can play in teaching”.  They considered the views of experts from Google, Samsung, e-Learning Foundation and the British Computer Society to name a few.

This report’s findings by the UK-based group could influence the work of the Education Technology Action Group (ETAG) which was put in place last year in order to decide how technology can best be used in education.  Matthew Hancock, minister of skills and enterprise says there are challenges:

“These challenges are not insurmountable and many schools are already active in sharing solutions. Whether it is by innovative use of computers and tablets to enable students to interact with students across the world, embracing 3D printers or developing apps that they can use on their own devices, many of our schools are world leaders. A large part of the challenge for government and others in the sector lies in helping these innovators to share their knowledge and experience with their peers.”

ETAG was created by three ministers: Michael Gove, Matthew Hancock, and David Willets.  It strives to promote the use of technology in schools, further schools, and higher education sectors in order to benefit future employers, the economy, and, most importantly,  the students in each level.

This group is independent, but has built on the work of the Department for Education (DfE) and The Further Education Learning Technology Action Group’s (FELTAG) aim was to “identify the structural and cultural inhibitors to innovation in the use of technology to enhance learning and to improve learning outcomes”.

Ofsted, the independent education regulator, said it was not aware of the ICT report, but did find from 2008 to 2011 that about half of the secondary schools surveyed did not meet the needs of students to prepare them for higher education and skilled work.  The report came out at the same time as an announcement to emphasize the development of digital leaders in UK colleges.

A report by FELTAG acknowledges that the government announced a fund to upgrade broadband networks in colleges in the 2014-2015 school year, which would enable them to introduce “cloud” technologies.

Merrett also reported on a teaching innovation that might well dovetail with the aims of ETAG.  Young people, 13-17, with experience in app development or coding, are being discovered to serve on the UK’s inaugural Digital Youth Council.

The aim of this idea is to allow youth to work with government to shape the future of innovations in technology and learning. Virgin Media Business will collaborate with the council by way of its “Generation Tech” initiative.

06 24, 2014
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