The edtech sector’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and its role in schools and colleges after the lockdown is the subject of a new independent review.
The Edtech Advisory Forum will lead a six-month review and produce a report for government and the sector at large. The newly created group, comprising school leaders and tech specialists, was expected to begin its work in February – but was delayed because of the pandemic. The re-launched review will now bring the use of edtech during the lockdown – and its future deployment – into its purview.
This new review, which is called Vision 2025 and is independent of government, will review the state of the sector and report on its future direction. The final report is expected to be published early next year.
But were schools and pupils left exposed in terms of digital learning as we faced closure? Had we neglected education technology for too long? How did the edtech sector react?
– Ty Goddard, forum member
Ty Goddard, chair of strategic body EdTechUK and member of the forum, said the review would be gathering the “widest possible amount of views, insight and evidence”.
“The Vision 2025 review is a chance to look at where next for edtech and what we have learned during this awful crisis,” Mr Goddard said. “There were many positives – schools able to switch to remote teaching at speed, others continuously improved their remote learning offer, and some made do with what they had. Tech rich, little tech or no tech, educators did their best.
“But were schools and pupils left exposed in terms of digital learning as we faced closure? Had we neglected education technology for too long? How did the edtech sector react? And what can we learn about our policy response across the UK; was it different in England from other countries?”
One of the forum’s panellists, Sir Mark Grundy, chief executive of Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust in the West Midlands, said the review “needs to do for ed tech what the new Ofsted framework has done for the curriculum, make it mundanely clever in how it supports key processes and inspiring in how it delivers our learning opportunities for everyone”.
During his time as education secretary, Damian Hinds commissioned an edtech strategy, which aimed to help guide the industry. In the report, Mr Hinds said edtech should prioritise reducing teacher workload and promoting flexible working.