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    [caption] => The DfE will tomorrow release its new edtech strategy for England, announced at Bett earlier this year by education secretary Damian Hinds (pictured)
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Image 1 caption:
The DfE will tomorrow release its new edtech strategy for England, announced at Bett earlier this year by education secretary Damian Hinds (pictured)

DfE edtech strategy 2019 – what can we expect?

We speak to a number of edtech experts about what they expect to see from tomorrow’s edtech strategy for England, and what they would like to see prioritised

Tomorrow, April 3, will see the launch of the Department for Education’s new edtech strategy for England.

In anticipation of the official announcement, we spoke with a variety of edtech experts about their hopes and expectations for the strategy.


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Here’s what they had to say:

Dave Kenworthy, director of digital service, CoSector – University of London

“I would like to see the DfE announcement address the key areas where tech could provide innovative solutions to alleviate burden for educational organisations, i.e. providing better teaching practices, streamlining the assessment processes, and improved training and development.

“We need to be looking at each of these processes and the part they play in the learner’s journey as a whole. We urgently need to improve the automation around these less interesting but crucial administration processes in order to free up resources, enabling a better standard of teaching and an enhanced learner journey.

I would like to see the DfE announcement address the key areas where tech could provide innovative solutions to alleviate burden for educational organisations.
– Dave Kenworthy, CoSector

“Establishments need to be partnered with suppliers who will enable and manage this process long-term, ensuring that the infrastructure capability is there when the latest new technology is ready to be implemented, advising on upgrades down the line to future-proof the investment.”

Ty Goddard, co-founder, The Education Foundation and chair, Edtech UK

“This long-awaited edtech strategy from the DfE will provide some of the scaffolding and support for England’s schools, to deepen their use and understanding of education technology.

“I predict that the strategy will take a good positive look at increasing connectivity across our school estates. It will build on the work of the DCMS and others on our national connectivity challenge.

“Our work on the Edtech50 Schools project highlights schools that understand how to use technology to support teachers, and deepen teaching and learning. These digital flagship schools already demonstrate a focused sense of what is useful to them in terms of tech.

“This new and welcome strategy, I think, will look at how we harness schools already on the digital journey to support others. Kept simple and imaginative, this ‘facilitated collaboration’ is a powerful system response to the change management we need.

This new and welcome strategy, I think, will look at how we harness schools already on the digital journey to support others.
– Ty Goddard, Edtech UK

“Following on the heels of positive guidance from the Education Endowment Foundation on technology, we will see more work and debate on impact, and importantly, the nature of real ‘value’ that edtech across a school or group of schools can bring.

“The edtech sector has worked tirelessly to lobby and impress on government the need for high level support. It has taken a good while; and next steps ought to be further cross-Whitehall focus, wise investment and support. The secretary of state deserves praise for the priority he has given to education technology.”

Chris Rothwell, director of education, Microsoft UK

“Technology is having incredible impact in all aspects of education today, but there is always more to be done.  We welcome the announcement of an edtech strategy for England, with its focus on building on existing best practice and lowering barriers to adoption for all.”

Naimish Gohil, CEO, Satchel

“I hope the DfE strategy puts initiatives in place that will help school leaders effectively deploy technology at their schools, without using unnecessary jargon in their communications and expectations.

I hope the DfE strategy puts initiatives in place that will help school leaders effectively deploy technology at their schools, without using unnecessary jargon in their communications and expectations.
– Naimish Gohil, Satchel

“We need to help school leaders to look at technology and its implementation from an aerial view, so they can see the potential, as opposed to leaving them to make knee-jerk decisions when they’re in the weeds and can’t take a step back to truly evaluate the impact of any new technology in their school.

“If the DfE is able to do this with their strategy, we then start to really instil the value of technology at the very top of the school, avoiding poor decision making, and will finally be able to help school leaders realise why technology is not only important in planning for tomorrow, but is already a part of the fabric of life today.”

Sonia Blizzard, managing director, Beaming

“Safeguarding is one of the biggest issues for the schools we work with, so it is important that the new technology strategy ensures cyber safety remains central to the way they manage information, and that schools are provided with the resources they need to protect their IT assets and the huge amount of personal data they hold.”

 Dan Sandhu, CEO, Sparx

“We’re eagerly awaiting the publication of the DfE’s edtech strategy, and hope that it will focus on helping schools to engage with proven technologies that make a positive impact – not just on student attainment, but also on teachers’ wellbeing.
We hope that [the strategy] will focus on helping schools to engage with proven technologies that make a positive impact – not just on student attainment, but also on teachers’ wellbeing. 
– Dan Sandhu, Sparx
The attaiment gap for disadvantaged pupils is continuing to grow, while classroom support for SEND students is still a major challenge. Innovative technologies are already making an impact on these students, as part of a holistic approach that involves complementing teacher skills with impactful edtech. We expect to see the DfE’s strategy make clear that edtech is not about replacing teachers, but about empowering them to tackle the most pressing challenges.
“Similarly, we hope that the strategy will place emphasis on how edtech can help stem the tide of stressed teachers leaving the profession due to the pressures being placed upon them – an issue highlighted this week in a new report from UCL. Edtech has a massive role to play in supporting teachers to achieve more without compromising their wellbeing, and this should be a key focus for any educational strategy going forward.”
*This article was amended at 16:43 to add comment from Dan Sandhu at Sparx