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Gilbert Jolly

CTO, Jolly Learning

Government policy changes and modern development techniques have enabled a wave of new innovative phonics instruction tools.

“Technology creates abundance,” says Gilbert Jolly, CTO of educational publisher, Jolly Learning. “If you’re a teacher, it’s great that there is a wealth of content online to use in your lessons. The problem, though, is that abundance creates noise. Teachers need to cut through that noise, spending precious time identifying and preparing the right content.” 

“If the content you’re using is not engaging pupils, or the software isn’t clunky or disconnected, it just makes teachers’ busy lives more difficult,” insists Jolly. “It’s why any publisher developing educational technology must make products with the end users in mind. That means working closely with teachers, testing their products in schools, and creating a tight feedback loop so that refinements can be made. It also means making the products comprehensive so that teachers don’t need to search around for additional content.” 

Democratising the market for phonics teaching 

Phonics is the leading way of teaching reading and writing by teaching the letter sounds, then teaching children the core skills of blending and segmenting that allow them to read and write.

With Edtech, the phonics space is ripe with opportunity. Recently this has been compounded, as the Department for Education retired the phonics framework that it had been using since 2007, creating a new wave of competition among phonics programme publishers, who are racing to fill the void. 

The best way for children to learn is for
them not to realise they are learning.

For instance, Jolly Learning — publisher of Jolly Phonics, the original programme for phonics teaching — has launched Jolly Classroom, a modern, multi-sensory, interactive lesson platform with games, songs, and a multitude of activities for teaching children with Jolly Phonics. 

The right tools for your students 

Any edtech developer worth their salt must create comprehensive solutions that simplify life for teachers and make learning fun, says Jolly. “If they have the right tools, teachers won’t have to do lots of lesson prep — they can get straight into teaching. Pupils will be involved and invested because the lessons are engaging and fun. The best way for children to learn is for them not to realise they are learning.” 

Thanks to the way technology has evolved, it’s now easier and less expensive for developers to create compelling edtech products. “Ten years ago, the cost of making an app that worked across every platform — from smartphones to digital whiteboards — would have been exorbitant,” says Jolly. “Now, small publishers like us can compete with big publishers and make compelling and beautiful educational products.”

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