Westminster Education Forum

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The future for education technology in England - EdTech strategy implementation, supporting teachers, and learning from the experience of the COVID-19 crisis

July 2020

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the future for education technology in England and the next steps in the implementation of the Government’s EdTech strategy.

Areas for discussion include:

  • The experience of home learning during the COVID-19 crisis and what it might mean for the future use of EdTech in schools - including in:
    • pedagogical practice, managing teacher workload, and pupil assessment
    • supporting children in learning from home - particularly disadvantaged and vulnerable children and students with SEND
  • The EdTech Strategy’s 10 challenges - and how EdTech providers are responding
  • Developing the school ecosystem envisaged in the Strategy, including:
    • testbed schools piloting and evaluating new technologies
    • demonstrator schools designed to share best practice in using EdTech
  • Supporting teachers to utilise EdTech most effectively - including:
    • the role the Chartered College of Teaching can play
    • support offered by EdTech providers themselves
    • what is needed from school leadership and how leadership in deprived schools can be encouraged to access support already in place

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

  • Increasing numbers of pupils currently learning from home, and government support for vulnerable and disadvantaged children to access to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as technical support for schools from an education partnership with Google and Microsoft
  • Recent progress data on the DfE scheme  providing disadvantaged students with free laptops
  • Recent establishment of the Government backed Oak National Academy - whose Chair, Ian Bauckham, is delivering a keynote address at this conference - and which aims to provide a broad range of lessons for those studying at home across all year groups
  • The joint DfE and Nesta EdTech Innovation Fund project to support EdTech providers in developing new technology to aid school processes and organisation
  • DfE’s recent addition of 18 further schools and colleges to its list of successful applicants for the EdTech Demonstrator Schools and Colleges programme, in which schools and colleges in each area of the country that are using technology effectively are able to share their experiences with other schools and colleges

The discussion in detail:

The COVID-19 pandemic and the role of EdTech:

  • with increasing numbers of children currently learning from home, delegates will discuss what is being learned about:
    • ensuring that technology can support pupils and parents during this period
    • how parents and children are being encouraged to embrace it
    • what can be taken from the experience for the future - both for use of technology in schools and in home settings
  • assessing the access of vulnerable and disadvantaged children to remote education during the pandemic, and what can be learned about tackling digital inequalities for pupils going forward

The Government’s EdTech strategy, examining:

  • implementation so far, impact on schools, how providers are responding, and progress that has been made in meeting the Strategy’s 10 challenges - which include using technology to:
    • reduce teacher workload
    • make training opportunities more accessible to teachers
    • meet individual needs and support children with SEND
  • the school ecosystem envisaged in the Strategy - assessing its development, including establishment of testbed schools and colleges to:
    • support the development, piloting and evaluation of technology
    • improve the evidence base
    • evaluate products that aim to increase the range of digital tools available to support schools with assessment, essay marking, parental engagement, and timetabling
  • what has been learned from the first round of the DfE’s Demonstrator School programme on sharing experience of using technology effectively between schools and colleges

Supporting teachers to use EdTech effectively:

  • How the sector can improve support for teachers in the roll-out of EdTech within schools, including:
    • building on software trials, the use of online portals and demonstrations for teachers
    • using flexible methods of training to support teachers’ learning and development
  • How EdTech can be honed to increase student engagement with remote learning, following NFER research on pupil engagement in remote learning finding that:
    • 90% of surveyed teachers believe their pupils are doing less work than usual during remote learning
    • teachers are most concerned about low engagement amongst students with limited access to IT
    • among senior leaders in the most deprived schools, 76% of surveyed senior leaders did not intend to access the EdTech Demonstrator Programme for support
  • Further steps the Chartered College of Teaching can take to build an evidence base to further support teachers and leaders, alongside the role of EdTech providers

The agenda:

  • The EdTech Strategy’s 10 challenges and how EdTech providers are responding
  • The role of EdTech in supporting home learning during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Which EdTech works best and how - building the evidence base
  • Developing the school ecosystem envisaged in the Strategy - testbed schools piloting and evaluating new technologies and demonstrator schools designed to share best practice in using EdTech
  • Supporting teachers to utilise EdTech most effectively
  • How the COVID-19 crisis might inform the future use of EdTech

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

This one seems no different. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department for Education; DCMS; the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation and the Department for the Economy, NI.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles