Science and research minister Chris Skidmore has announced Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) and The Education Foundation as delivery partners in the government’s new edtech demonstrator programme.
The programme, launched by the Department for Education (DfE) at the Bett Show 2020, is part of the government’s edtech strategy, which hopes to solve four key educational challenges with digital advancements.
The demonstrator programme will run until the end of the 2020/21 academic year. The three delivery partners will create a network of demonstrator schools and colleges, and support peer-to-peer learning to help teachers get to grips with new technologies.
The department has already announced funding for pilots of technology that could improve educational outcomes for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The strategy wants to identify ways to reduce teacher workloads, tackle cheating and plagiarism, and expand teacher training opportunities.
The department says schools and colleges are dissuaded from utilising new technologies because of insufficient funds. Teachers lack training and confidence using edtech and are not persuaded of the benefits, the DfE’s own research indicates.
The Sheffield Institute of Education, which is part of SHU, is a national centre of teacher training and pedagogical research. It has received an ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted for its early years’ teacher training and an ‘excellent’ Ofsted inspection of its Teach First provision.
The LGfL is a charitable trust which brings together member schools and local authorities to save money, tackle inequality and online risks, and improve students’ learning and wellbeing.
The Education Foundation is an advisory group which aims to support positive change in the British education system and was co-founded by Ty Goddard, executive chair of Edtech UK – a strategic body launched to accelerate edtech uptake.
Mr Goddard said: “The introduction of the edtech strategy across England is vital in order to support schools in implementing edtech and also for schools to learn from each other, which is why as a consortium we’re thrilled to be delivery partners in this inspiring new programme.”
John Jackson, CEO of LGfL, said: “We are honoured to have been awarded this opportunity to work with the government, schools and colleges to harness education technology to support academic outcomes and wellbeing for both staff and students.”