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Q&A: Why education technology matters to Justine Greening

The Secretary of State for Education shares her thoughts on the future of education technology.

Posted by Charley Rogers | February 08, 2017 | People

Q.  Why does education technology matter?

A.  Technology is a key part of our everyday society - so we need to look continuously at the role of technology in our education system.

Technology presents a number of opportunities for schools, both in terms of better delivery of back-office functions and as an engaging teaching tool in the classroom. I see it as the role of my department to help make sure teachers and school leaders don’t get lost in the technological advances without considering what the educational outcomes are for their pupils.

Alongside this, digital skills are vital to staying competitive in industry and are really becoming as important as numeracy and literacy. So we have to make sure all our people have the opportunity to gain digital skills, whether that’s at school or accessing them later in order to catch up, and Edtech has a role to play in that.

Q.  What do you see are the main benefits and pitfalls of adopting new tech in education?

A.  Technology can act as a smart and engaging teaching aid and it is right children develop the skills to operate in a digital world. We obviously shouldn’t be introducing things for tech’s sake – it must be based on achieving the best educational outcomes – but there’s no doubt technology presents some exciting opportunities in education. Ultimately, teachers and school leaders are best placed to decide what works for them and the children in their schools.

“Digital skills are vital to staying competitive in industry and are really becoming as important as numeracy and literacy”

Q.  How do you think teachers and the sector can keep up with the rapid pace of edtech change?

A.  One of the crucial things we need to do is to make sure schools have access to high-quality broadband connectivity. That’s why we are working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to deliver a full-fibre broadband pilot to connect a small number of schools that currently only have poor quality broadband, to test how best to maximise coverage in local areas.

Q.  With the funding changes, and a report from the NAHT saying 85% of heads save money by spending less on new equipment how should schools prioritise spending on Edtech?

A.  We are working with partner organisations to make sure proper procurement advice is available so that schools have the tools they need to make the right decisions for them. We recently published our schools buying strategy that will support schools to maximise their budgets and specifically their investment in technology, with products that are really right for their students and ensure all their resou

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