What they said: GCSE results day edition
We hear from edtech experts about what today's GCSE results mean for the future of the industry, and how tech can help future generations' learning
Teacher workload can affect exam results
Stuart Hales, CEO, Wand Education
“Today will be a celebration for many, but the return to an exam-heavy format can make it even harder for knowledge gaps to be picked up and dealt with early. This creates enormous pressure on both students and teachers and may lead to many more pupils unfortunately receiving lower-than-expected grades.
“The simple truth is that teachers don’t have the time or resources to identify and intervene with struggling students – something that can have consequences not just for students but for teacher and school morale. “Teachers dedicate up to 50 hours’ overtime every month on tasks like marking and reporting; two key means to identify whether students are falling behind. But huge workloads mean that early performance indicators can sometimes fall between the cracks.”
STEM education is not the only path to a tech career
John Abel, VP of cloud and innovation, Oracle UK
“Presenting a STEM education as the only path to a career in technology is short-sighted. In recent years, there has been a strong focus on encouraging students into studying STEM as the world continues to become more digital. However, what the technology world really needs is inquisitive, creative minds that can help us to solve some of the biggest problems society is facing.
“Technologists are often structured in the way they think, and while integral, are only one part of the equation. When building a team, we should look less at degrees and experience, and instead focus on finding people with the right mindset. Do they question everything and come up with interesting solutions to problems put in front of them? Whether they have qualifications in history, English, sports science, or media, there is only one question: can they be innovative and navigate through problems to find solutions for customers? That’s the priority.”
Tech can improve engagement in language learning
Ott Jalakas, co-founder and COO, Lingvist
“Although there’s a glimmer of hope for language learning, it is still way behind where it should be. The younger generation have grown up in a digital world, smartphones and tablets have been around since they were very young and it’s common knowledge that youngsters generally find technology engaging. Schools should be quicker to adopt technology in the classroom, but equally the powers-that-be should evolve and take measures to expand the curriculum beyond the traditional.
“As Professor Simon Swain of the British Academy states, there are still only around half of school pupils in England that are taking a modern foreign language course at GCSE compared to three-quarters in 2002.
“Programmes can be introduced so that young people learn through apps on their phones, rather than outright banning their use in school, as we’ve seen proposed in many schools across the UK and beyond. Let’s not make an enemy out of the technology that has made so many aspects of our lives easier, let’s use it!”