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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

How EdTech can transform further education post-lockdown | Opinion - FE Week

The silver lining of the Covid-19 pandemic could well be a revolution in how further education utilizes the power of EdTech, writes Dana Dabbous, PhD, Researcher at The Edge Foundation. 

How EdTech can transform further education post-lockdown
Photo: FE Week
It has long been accepted that technology in education is vital for filling the digital skills gap. Successive governments have promoted greater use of EdTech in the FE sector. This includes the Department for Education’s 2019 EdTech strategy and, more recently, the EdTech demonstrator schools and colleges programme. The closure of schools and colleges during the Covid-19 pandemic has only turbocharged this need. In short, lockdown has focused minds.

Since September 2019, the Edge Foundation has been conducting a vital piece of research. The study looks at how four FE colleges across the UK have successfully integrated digital technologies into their practice. Although we knew this would be insightful, little could we know just how important our findings would soon be.

Following Covid-19, there is now a greater need for educational institutions to adopt digital tools, and at a faster pace than ever before. Luckily, many FE colleges are already well underway with this transformation. Existing digitalisation has helped many to respond well and adapt to the situation we now find ourselves in. This is particularly important for colleges. They are front and centre in minimising the UK’s technical and digital skills gap. In turn, this allows the economy to keep up on the world stage...

The challenge for other colleges, then, lies in reaching this goal. How do we break down resistance to change, and help staff and students understand the benefits that digital tools can bring?

The full report details each college’s digital strategy, offering insight for how others can follow suit. It explains how they developed their digital frameworks, the technologies they adopted, how they created physical and digital spaces, and—crucially—how they supported their staff and students. While each college had different objectives, a common aim was to create a culture of openness, support and experimentation. Before the pandemic, this was desirable. Today, it is essential. To discover all these insights, you can download the full research report here.
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Source: FE Week