A collaborative future of educational technology
By James Willats
Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th April this year saw the Schools and Academies Show take place at the ExCeL in east London. And, as ever, it drew all sorts of teachers and educators from schools and colleges up and down the country to its doors, ready to peruse the latest and greatest educational resources on offer. (Believe us, there are a lot!) And, as you might have guessed, we were there too – exhibiting at stand no. 442 as well as having a sneaky look around, of course!
One key theme
At the seminar and workshop-style events at the show this year, all led by seasoned professionals and industry pioneers, we found many educators sharing and discussing best practice. In fact, one of our top advocates of Star Assessments, Gary Alexander, gave a compelling talk about the importance of data in schools despite Ofsted’s new framework – thanks, Gary! But this year, there was certainly one key theme that remained constant throughout, and it isn’t a surprising one: the increasingly-familiar schooling system known as the multi-academy trust.
Leora Cruddas, the CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts (of whom we are a new platinum partner) was there to reiterate the responsibility held by every trust’s board to ensure high standards in all their schools. With the rise of multi-academy trusts all over the country, and more governance to support schools than ever before, it’s clear that more support than ever is needed for funding, recruitment, workload and assessment. And of course, the rise of educational technology, or EdTech, has a key role to play…
Look out for ‘LendEd’
The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, presented a keynote speech to launch the show and opened with an announcement.
He revealed that the government will be rolling out a new educational technology initiative for schools in England. This will see schools that are already successfully using educational technology becoming ‘demonstrator’ schools, entrusting them to guide other schools and trusts in the successful use of EdTech too.
And in a bid to encourage better, more consistent product implementation, Mr Hinds announced the launch of a new, fully accessible portal, in collaboration with the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), entitled ‘LendEd’.
LendEd will seek to encourage school leaders to find and research EdTech products using feedback from other schools to help them choose where they should be spending their (ever-dwindling) budgets. It’ll see EdTech products, resources and suppliers ranked from most positive reviews to least.
What does the future hold?
One thing is clear: that the opportunity for schools to collaborate with and utilise the support of leading suppliers is firmly being encouraged – with a shared goal to create more and greater opportunities for young people. And it’s only with the most considered support that EdTech can be used to appropriately support every school’s and trust’s unique requirements. EdTech is definitely here to stay – which is good news for us! – and it’s up to leading pioneers, like Renaissance, to guide best practice as we move into a new collaborative future of education technology.