Education Secretary Damian Hinds recently called on the tech industry to initiate an ‘education revolution’ challenging the sector to create a more efficient administration process and provide a solution to the current burden on teachers.
Problems can occur during the reconstruction of traditional IT systems where employees must be trained in how to operate and utilise the new system. It’s clear that the responsibility should be with the technology companies in ensuring that these problems are addressed during the installation of new solutions to prevent any complications going forward.
1. How will new technologies like AI and VR change the traditional learning experience?
Whilst unquestionably fascinating, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) could be a long way off being adopted on a widespread scale by the sector, and it remains to be seen if these will have long-term value or if they are perhaps a novelty in the current climate.
What we should be paying closer attention to is the latter part of Damian’s comments, that were skipped over – the key areas where tech could provide innovative solutions to alleviate burden, i.e. providing better teaching practices, assessment processes, training and development.
2. Do you think we need to be looking at each of these key areas and the part they play in the learner’s journey as a whole?
Yes, that is where Damian Hinds is completely spot on, we urgently need to improve the automation around these less interesting but crucial administration processes in order to free up resources, enabling a better standard of teaching and an enhanced learner’s journey.
3. What would this look like?
It will be as simple as teachers being able to access records across a secure shared site, a system that can recognise and flag irregularities such as a student whose attendance has dropped, assessment processes that are more secure and easier to audit and the creation of online teacher training programmes that will allow them to qualify remotely, so they don’t have to spend two days away on a course.
4. Do educational organisations have the facilities in place to make this a success?
Although there is the vast scale of educational institutions, it’s unlikely that they will have the infrastructure or full IT team in place to support this amount of change in such a short space of time.
To achieve this, educational organisations need to ensure they are working with the right managed IT suppliers to guarantee a validating strategy. Not only supplying the software or equipment needed, but also supporting post roll-out to ensure a smooth transition process and that users are fully trained. Establishments need to be partnered with suppliers who will enable and manage this process long-term ensuring that the infrastructure capability is there when the latest new technology is ready to be implemented, advising on upgrades down the line to future-proof the investment.
5. What does the future look like for edtech?
Encouragingly, Hinds noted that home grown start ups were in much the same position as the industry heavyweights, such as Apple and Google. Acknowledging that they might actually have something more important to bring to the edtech table, perhaps a deeper understanding of the problems faced by educational facilities.
So, it seems, it may be the Silicon Valley giants that will be the main providers of the exciting VR and AI tech that will peak the interest of students, but in terms of setting up the background mechanics to tackle the more pressing issues first, it’s down to the industry experts who are close to the institutions and understand their practices to make this happen.