BESA is working closely with the Department for Education to deliver its EdTech ambition, which is to help school leaders use technology to improve education outcomes, efficiencies and achieve a better workload balance
This summer, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds called on the technology industry to help tackle the issues facing schools and teachers, improving teaching and slashing workload.
Damian Hinds said: “Schools, colleges and universities have the power to choose the tech tools which are best for them and their budgets. But they cannot do this alone. It’s only by forging a strong partnership between government, technology innovators and the education sector that there will be sustainable, focused solutions which will ultimately support and inspire the learners of today and tomorrow.”
The DfE highlighted five key opportunities for the sector to create a step change in education, improving teaching and slashing workload. These include developing innovative teaching practices; effective and efficient assessment processes, teacher training and development; administration processes; and solutions to lifelong learning such as online learning in later life.
The Department for Education is working with businesses and schools to ensure they have the infrastructure in place to be in a position to implement some of this technology to improve the school day for both pupils and teachers.
Working with BESA
The Secretary of State for Education has chosen to work with BESA and its members to help deliver the Department for Education’s EdTech ambition. This vision is to help school leaders use technology to enable improved education outcomes, efficiencies, and a better workload balance for their school teams.
In order to meet these ambitions, BESA will shortly be launching two exciting new initiatives called LendEd and LearnEd.
LendEd is a new online portal, currently under development, that will offer free advice, guidance and expertise to schools looking for information and inspiration on innovative EdTech solutions. This free to use service will be launched in the new year at the Bett Show in London.
The second initiative is LearnEd – a joint BESA / DfE EdTech roadshow which will shortly be coming to a venue near you.
The concept, created by BESA in partnership with the DfE, comes after Damian Hinds’ announcement this summer of the need for industry to partner with government and schools in bringing about a digital “revolution” in classrooms across the country.
BESA’s EdTech members are some of the most trusted and high-quality EdTech suppliers in the UK. BESA feels that a collaboration between top quality EdTech suppliers and school leaders would be highly beneficial when incorporating EdTech seamlessly into classrooms.
BESA on behalf of the DfE will facilitate eight ‘best-practice’ CPD roadshows around the country. Led by teachers and school leaders and inspired by Education Secretary Damian Hinds’ recent challenge, the first event will take place on Thursday 29 November 2018 at the New York Stadium in Rotherham and is free to attend.
Each event will feature a big name keynote speaker and peer-to-peer panel discussions on curriculum, assessment, teacher time and leadership. Each panel will comprise teachers and leaders who have looked to incorporate technology into their schools and classrooms to support their teachers’ work-life balance and to introduce back-end efficiencies into the running of their schools or multi-academy trusts.
Even though the event itself is focused on the use of ICT in the classroom, there will still be non-ICT companies at the LearnED events in our demonstrator classroom. BESA’s demonstrator classroom will feature the best in hands-on and digital curriculum resources and teaching aids, which will see non-EdTech companies displaying products too.
Delegates will be able to hear case studies and real-life examples from fellow teachers and debate the issues affecting your school and help identify solutions. The event will also help visitors to discover new ways of working that will save time and make a positive impact, as well as see best practice in action in the demonstrator classroom
Training and support
All-too-often we hear that a lack of training and support is the major obstacle to tapping into the potential of education technology in the classroom. We want to work to address this issue – with the roadshows being the first in a series of initiatives to do so.
It is encouraging that the DfE has chosen to lead the way in doing so, after almost a decade of making next-to-no comment upon the potential of technology to transform the way education is taught in the classroom.
As Caroline Wright, Director General of BESA put it: “I am delighted that the DfE’s plans place teacher training and support at the heart and soul of their future approach to EdTech. As Damian Hinds says, technology can be used in the classroom in “revolutionary ways” – allowing students to explore a rainforest from their classroom, or programme a robot. There are many examples of Ministries of Education across the world evangelising about the revolutionary potential of education technology, often supplied by UK companies. It’s very welcome that our own Department for Education is now setting out a vision for EdTech that, if realised, could have a ground-breaking impact upon its implementation worldwide.”
BESA would like to invite all head teachers, ICT Leads and members of school senior leadership teams in the Rotherham area to attend its first event on Thursday 29 November.
The Rotherham event will feature a keynote address from Keira Newmark, deputy director of the Department for Education’s STEM and Digital Skills Unit. Newmark will deliver a keynote speech on using education technology within schools and is responsible for the Department’s policy on using Education Technology in schools, colleges and Higher Education institutions.
Before her current role, she worked on setting up the new regulatory framework for English Higher Education, and was one of the architects of creating the Teaching Excellence Framework – the first assessment framework to assess the quality of University level teaching in the world. She has previously worked in multiple Government Departments, including Cabinet Office and the Department for Business. She has also worked in the private and charitable sectors.
The Rotherham event will host panel discussions on topics such as using technology to better support teaching and learning in the classroom, and another on exploring the ways technology can help teachers have more time to teach. Delegates will also be able to hear from two school leaders (one primary head, one secondary head) who have successfully transformed their respective schools with great teaching and technology. BESA will be announcing further speakers and panellists in the coming weeks for all events.
There will be a further seven shows taking place around the country throughout next the academic year and you can book for these by using the above link.
UK EdTech Companies
Commenting on what Damian Hinds’ announcement means for the UK EdTech industry, Caroline Wright concluded: “As director general for the British Education Suppliers Association (BESA), which represents hundreds of the UK’s leading EdTech companies, I am always delighted to see the respect held for the UK’s EdTech offering across the globe. Interest in the EdTech successes of UK schools and industry is growing worldwide. The biggest EdTech show in the world, the Bett Show, takes place here in London every year with over 10,000 overseas visitors, it’s therefore pleasing that the Department for Education has now decided to champion EdTech in English schools too, thanks to this summer’s announcement of an “overarching vision” for education technology by Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education.”