Head of EdTech, British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA)
Edtech solutions are often designed to build confidence in pupils, flexibly helping them to take ownership of their learning.
The summer holidays are over and the kids are back at school, the majority of them no doubt thrilled to ditch the face masks and better yet, be able to huddle with their friends once more. Bubbles are gone too – we hope. It’s really not that long since teachers, students and their parents were at the mercy of pupil peer group bubbles, which once ‘popped’ by one positive COVID-19 test result meant everyone in said bubble needed to isolate.
While many of us were enjoying a life free-flowing pre-summer break, those working in schools remained very much at the mercy of the Delta variant, needing to be ready and able to reach and teach children remotely at very short notice. COVID has disrupted things over and over. Teachers, often using education technology (edtech), adapted, innovated and carried on teaching.
Learning needs to be fun right now, especially for those children most worried about the impact of so many months away from school.
Utilising online resources
Earlier this year, I wondered if teachers who had not been comfortable using online resources or educational apps before the pandemic, to support their teaching or save themselves time, would continue to use edtech once ‘normal’ times returned. Now, I think many of them will, where it fits; now that they’ve had time to explore solutions and adapt them to suit their own pedagogical styles.
Furthermore, edtech is often designed to build confidence in pupils, flexibly helping them to take ownership of their learning at a pace that suits them, showing them their strengths, while directing them to focus on certain skill sets that may need building up or revisiting.
Making learning fun
Online quizzes, writing, math and science platforms, VR and AR apps can make learning fun, whether you are on your own or in class and working as a group with a teacher. Learning needs to be fun right now, especially for those children most worried about the impact of so many months away from school. It’s their right to feel hopeful, empowered and ready to build on all they have learned outside of the classroom during this most remarkable of times. Teachers will, of course, continue to inspire, but they too need support. Wellbeing is paramount, as is funding.
Schools with robust digital strategies prior to the national lockdowns, like those in the Department for Education’s Demonstrator Schools Programme, were perhaps more agile in the initial switch to remote learning. It’s imperative that all schools continue to receive sufficient funding to create and sustain such strategies designed to support both pupils and staff on their learning paths.