Driving digital strategy – where do we go from here?

Rachel Matthews, Director of International Communications at Canvas, discusses how the Govt and educational bodies can encourage tech in schools

Our Driving Digital Strategy report was compiled following extensive consultations with educators across the UK, and detailed the biggest barriers to successful tech adoption in schools. Last time we focused on the thorny Ofsted issue, asking why there is no current requirement for technology provision in the Ofsted framework, and no encouragement for schools to use tech and allocate resources and funding accordingly. 

Closely linked to the Ofsted question is the issue of measurement. Many educators are turning to technology to help track results, but our consultations identified a clear call to fundamentally reevaluate the way that progress in education is measured, recognising that data needs to be harnessed to power active change, not just used as a static measure of success or failure.

BESA, the trade association for education suppliers, agreed. They said: “Instead of standardised tests which assess the ability to absorb and regurgitate rote materials, many call for ongoing measurement to appraise research skills, applied knowledge and practical ability – vital in paving the way for employment and beyond.”

However, we also uncovered feelings of inertia, where change is theoretically possible but is slow to come to fruition. Risk-averse educators are unwilling to act without clear guidelines, and again, this is where the need for a coherent digital strategy from Government comes in.

So, this brings us full circle. Our Driving Digital Strategy campaign has provided a starting point for more in-depth discussions about what informed and strategic technology acquisition means for educators. It is clear from our consultations that technology can significantly improve teaching and learning, but that fragmentation and unfocused digital strategies can lead to disillusionment, lack of adoption and even negative impacts on learning experience and outcomes.

Rachel Matthews

It is important for Government to build a more coherent digital strategy for educators, but this won’t happen unless we, those at the coal face of education, continue to ask for it. And it’s conversations like this which this move us closer to discovering what it is the industry really needs. We can’t write the strategy document ourselves, but our consultations have provided the following guidance.

A digital strategy must: 

 – Be devised for the many, taking into account considerations of those who can’t or don’t understand technology, as well as the digital trailblazers who drive conversations and move the agenda

 – Help formalise accreditation or measurement of effective use of technology in schools

 – Be advisory, moving away from the mandated use of some systems we’ve seen in the past

 – Provide help in overcoming common challenges to tech use, including procurement, training and dealing with legacy systems

 – Help teachers make the most of technology, beginning with a clear strategy and goals for its use

 – Demonstrate how edtech can help teachers and students and provide guidance on measuring its ROI

We’d love to continue the conversation – and we’ll be continuing to push for change. Let’s keep talking. 

For more on Canvas, please visit canvasvle.co.uk


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