Education Technology Written by Al Kingsley
The unlocked potential of education technology Throughout the pandemic, technology has played a central role in supporting blended learning. With this in mind, it is worth considering how such resources can also help effectively address lost-learning, as well as ensure pupil wellbeing When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK, reading and maths and ImpactEd’s ‘Lockdown schools were forced to shut their doors for Lessons’ points to similar effects in the many of their students and adapt to teaching secondary sector. It is now more crucial than and learning from home. As we pass the one ever that education providers and schools year anniversary of the first national lockdown, work together to reduce the attainment gap. the country is beginning to emerge from the However, I believe that student catch-up pandemic, assess the impact and tentatively should not be prioritised over, or achieved, at look to recovery. What is clear, is that schools, the expense of wellbeing. In fact, I believe the students and teachers have been hugely two main issues are linked as the wellbeing of impacted and as restrictions ease, schools both students and teachers is key to delivering will need to do much more than simply return change within a school and must come before to the classroom to regain their footing. any attempts to close the attainment gap. Over the coming months, education leaders face complex issues including closing the The role of EdTech attainment gap and addressing and supporting The first priority for teachers, leaders and student and staff wellbeing. Throughout school staff should be to find ways to create the pandemic, Education Technology time and capacity. EdTech has proven (EdTech) has played a central role to be a hugely effective tool in supporting blended learning, for teachers throughout EdTech something we envision will be the pandemic and this has pro in place for the foreseeable learning should not to be a ven future. With this in mind, be lost. By using it is worth considering technology that effectiv hugely e how these resources can allows teachers to t o o t e l achers for also help quickly and share resources t the pan hroughout effectively address these online, host legacies of Covid-19. parents’ virtual this lea demic and rning The most pressured of evenings and devices not be should these issues is the need with software that lost for students to ‘catch-up’, allow them to easily with suggestions from central transition between school government of lengthening the and home teaching and school day and shortening the summer learning, teachers will have the holidays to help address the attainment gap. opportunity to be more efficient and flexible. New research from the Education Endowment Thus, giving them the headspace and time Foundation suggests primary-age pupils to support their students as they readjust to have significantly lower achievement in both school life and start planning for the future.
For students, their first priority should be to reconnect and build on their relationships with friends, peers, teachers, staff and family. Reforming and strengthening these bonds will help to improve their wellbeing and support them as they deal with the challenges created by the pandemic. Facilitated by increased capacity, schools should provide time and space for these social interactions where possible. Only once students feel more comfortable and settled in school, can the process of mitigating any learning loss. Parents will also play a key role in helping students restore their wellbeing and catch up with their learning. EdTech helped arguably further integrated parents into the educational experience, as parents could more readily access online platforms to see what their child was learning and how they were progressing. Other technologies such as videos, FaceTime and live streaming also allowed parents, especially those who are isolated or less involved in school life, to speak with teachers, read important updates and watch school events. Schools must now harness these technologies to bring parents with them on their journey to recovery, making sure to regularly communicate and support them too. As part of the process of returning to school, leaders would benefit from conducting online surveys to monitor student, parent and staff wellbeing and analyse how they are finding the transition back to the classroom. This will enable schools to regularly review and adapt their offering to ensure they are providing the best and most appropriate support possible. E Issue 26.3 | EDUCATION BUSINESS MAGAZINE
Business Information for Education Decision Makers