Roundtable: Six degrees of separation – Benoit Jeannin

How fast is the pace of edtech adoption around the world, and where does the UK stand in the edtech roll of honour? Steve Wright asks six edtech experts for top tips, best practice, and the view from where they sit

Benoit Jeannin is founder of the Learn&Go edtech start-up (France)

Q. What does your country’s edtech strategy look like currently? Is the adoption of edtech where you would like it to be, or is more progress needed?

In France, the Ministry of Education created its own digital department, the Direction du Numérique pour Education, which helps the country’s 17 regions to manage their own digital infrastructure and resources.

The project began in the 1990s, but accelerated after 2010, beginning with universities, followed by secondary schools and more recently primary schools. France is not leading the field here, but new policies have been rolled out to improve our digital resources.

The provision also varies according to each stage of the education system. Edtech provision for high school students aged 15 to 18 is more developed, because at that level each region can make its own decisions on what teaching resources to invest in and can order resources faster. Middle schools are 85% public and are financed either by the regional authority or the county council; primary schools are funded by the town council. This greater level of government control means that these sectors need more time to acquire the resources. 

Q. What one initiative or development really helped things move fast where you are?

The Banque de Resources Numeriques is a key recent initiative, which aims to provide new edtech resources to every French school, free of charge. 

Q. How would you assess your country’s progress in edtech, against the global picture as a whole?

The impact of edtech came relatively late in France, when compared to the UK and the Nordic countries. To address that, however, a major national edtech project was carried out from 2012 to 2014, which has gone some way towards catching up. 

Q. What are your impressions of the UK’s edtech landscape? Anything you have seen here that you like, and anything we could be doing better?

The UK edtech system is more mature than the French one. Schools are more autonomous and have greater discretion on how they invest in their digital learning programme.