Home » Education Technology » Learning beyond the classroom: why stop now?
Future of Education Technology 2021

Learning beyond the classroom: why stop now?

Nina Iles

Head of EdTech, British Educational Suppliers Association

One year on from the start of national lockdown, the use of edtech and blended learning is here to stay.

Here we are: one year on from the start of the UK’s first COVID-19 related national lockdown, which saw schools in England closed to all children, except those of key workers, for over two months.

Much has been written, and rightly so, on learning loss and the many ensuing challenges associated with the equal provision of online learning to all children during lockdown. Yet, challenging times have a way of forcing us to do things differently and sometimes, new ways turn out to be game changers.

Helping teachers reach and teach pupils from afar

Education technology (edtech) has played a pivotal role in supporting the delivery of remote learning, student and parental communication and student safeguarding, during recent months. Many teachers have explored, embraced and used edtech on an increasing scale, albeit at varying degrees, depending on ease of access and training in the use of such systems.

From lesson planning, content creation and sharing, to pre-recorded video lessons, online class quizzes, and virtually navigated field trips – edtech has helped teachers to reach and teach their students.

Realising its potential to identify catch-up needs

As we move out of lockdown and schools open more widely, I hope school leaders will continue to explore and embrace the many opportunities that efficient, evidence-led edtech solutions afford them as they work to identify and address increased attainment gaps, staff and student wellbeing, and manage the transition back to in-person learning.

Challenging times have a way of forcing us to do things differently and sometimes, new ways turn out to be game changers.

I hope that the bonds between education suppliers and the schools they support remain strong beyond lockdown. Industry stepped in and stepped up to provide free access and hours of training and support to educators in need of additional staff training around the use of equipment, software and platforms. As well as for those who had not fully appreciated or utilised the full scope of the technology they had to hand.

Is blended learning here to stay?

It will be interesting to see which hybrid practices are sustained by schools, students and parents in the long term. There have been many studies conducted on what worked well, including one by the EdTech APPG. Ultimately, we should not forget the remarkable effort of our educators this past year and we must ensure that they continue to have access to training, funding and choice when it comes to edtech that solves problems, saves time and eases workload.

BESA’s LearnED Roadshow: free CPD events for teachers wanting to learn about the effective use of EdTech from their peers. www.besa.org.uk/events/learned-roadshow-2

Next article