Researchers from some of the UK’s leading edtech companies have launched a survey to assess the success – or otherwise – of edtech use throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, with schools across the country closing their doors indefinitely on Friday 20 March.
The project has been launched by UCL’s edtech accelerator EDUCATE, which has supported more than 250 startups and entrepreneurs in the last three years, across the UK and the world. EDUCATE is asking heads, teachers and parents, as well as technologists and developers, to fill out a simple questionnaire to assess the effectiveness of remote learning while schools are shut down, hoping to identify weaknesses and successes to help the sector learn from the experience.
Rose Luckin, professor of learner-centred design at the UCL Knowledge Lab, said the closure of schools presents the industry with a unique opportunity to study the implications of using technology to teach and learn remotely.
“There is a need for facts, data and evidence to demonstrate the value, or not, of the unprecedented way in which technology is being used to support teaching and learning during the school lockdown,” she explained.
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“We have never had an opportunity before for such a wide-scale experiment, so it is essential that we use it to generate evidence about the impact and effectiveness of technology at this difficult time.
“Many companies have been offering their technology products and services for free, which is enabling many more people to try it, so it makes sense to understand how it has played a role in the learning process.”
The survey takes less than three minutes to complete, and findings will be used to evaluate the use of edtech for remote learning to help inform and improve the system should another lockdown occur.
Researchers also hope the insight from schools and families will provide crucial feedback to the edtech companies that have promoted their products for use during the pandemic.
“This is an anxious time for schools and families, as everyone is adapting to this new way of working, and for an unspecified period,” added Professor Luckin. “Our aim is to try to derive something positive from this unique experiment. It will help us to learn much about the future of educational technology developments – and to shape the future of our education systems.”