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Edtech 'can help close the attainment gap'

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Edtech 'can help close the attainment gap'

Schools could help an extra 300,000 pupils make “significant progress” at school by using video tutoring apps instead of one-to-one tuition, a thinktank has claimed.

A report published today by Reform says that greater use of edtech could help close the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils.

However, it warns that schools are snubbing or neglecting to make the best use of the technology available to them.

It is calling for the government to identify “tech expert schools” to link up with those which are struggling to use technology to help disadvantaged pupils.

Sarah Timmis, researcher at Reform, said: “With a stubborn and persistent opportunity gap in schools between pupils from different backgrounds, innovation is urgently needed.

"Education technology presents a great opportunity to help level the playing field and create more equal opportunities for every child."

The report notes that one-to-one tuition lessons accounted for 7 per cent of pupil premium spending in a sample of 40 schools.

Reform says that schools could save money by using video conversation apps to link pupils to tutors instead. It highlighted apps that charge £20 per hour for pupils to work with online tutors rather than the national average of freelance one-to-one tutors of around £32 per hour.

The thinktank says its analysis shows how using online tutors to support disadvantaged pupils at school could allow for an additional 30 million hours of tutoring, within the same budget.

It also states that edtech can free up teacher time in disadvantaged schools to spend more with pupils in need.

The report says using digital tools could also help reduce teachers’ administrative workloads, which it claims would be “particularly transformative for disadvantaged pupils”.

It found that use of an app to set and share homework had reduced five minutes work from each lesson – 25 minutes across the school day.

The report highlights how edtech also gives disadvantaged pupils equal opportunities to learn digital skills, which it says is critical for future social mobility.

In 20 years, 90 per cent of jobs will entail some element of digital skills, the report says.

Other recommendations in the Beyond Gadgets report include:

  • The Department for Education should allow schools to see the products available to them through “an e-procurement channel” with a dedicated stream for tech products.
  • Ofsted should conduct a survey report on how technology can be implemented in schools to improve digital skills to highlight best practice.
  • Schools should be required to submit breakdowns of pupil premium spending to helping policymakers understand the extent to which innovative measures are being used to overcome the attainment gap. 
  • Schools should provide continuing professional development as they are implementing edtech. This should include sharing successful as well as failed approaches in the classroom.

Earlier this year, a poll revealed that teachers are positive about the benefits of technology in education, but many believe budget pressures and a lack of support from school leaders are holding it back.

posted Feb 14 in EdTech by Rainsey

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The world is changing, and education must change with it. Many schools are aware of this fact and are trying to rebuild their activities in accordance with the opportunities offered by new technologies. Some universities borrow ideas from the business world, referring to the experience of successful start-ups in order to launch some new processes for themselves. Gradually, a paper routine leaves the schools, giving way to electronic means of working with data.

1. School as a Service

School as a service begins with the commitment of the state to each student as a digital student. When states reduce historical barriers, the transition to personal digital learning will mean a school service: access to quality courses and teachers from several providers.

Education SaaS changes the basic assumptions – it does not need to associate time and place. This does not mean that everything will become virtual – in the foreseeable future, at least 90 percent of families will benefit from local schools, but this requires new thinking, new staffing models, new budgeting strategies and new ways of communicating with students and families.

2. Mobile Learning

Mobile learning, also known as m-learning, is an educational system. Using portable computing devices (such as iPads, laptops, tablets, PDAs, and smartphones), wireless networks provide mobility and mobile training, which allows to teach and learn to expand beyond the traditional audience. Within the class, mobile training provides instructors and students with increased flexibility and new possibilities for interaction.

3. Gamification in Education

Gamification in education is sometimes described using other terms: game thinking, the principles of the game for learning, the design of motivation, the design of interaction, etc. This differs from game-based learning in that it doesn`t imply that students themselves play commercial video games. It works on the assumption that the kind of interaction that players encounter with games can be transformed into an educational context in order to facilitate learning and influence on students’ behaviour. Because gamers voluntarily spend a lot of time for gaming, researchers and teachers are exploring ways to use the power of video games to motivate and apply it in the classroom.

4. Big Data

“Big Data” is a term that we are used to hearing in business, but it is also an important tool for education. Learning World explores this technological fashion word and talks with an expert on this topic: Kenneth Cuciere, co-author of “Learning with Big Data.”

Cukier sees “Big Data” as an opportunity to adapt learning to the individual needs of students and the learning process. Instead of avoiding this, teachers must accept changes that bring in large data, and use them to their advantage.

One example of the large data that occurs in education is the “Course Signals”, which allow professors to give feedback if there are early signs that students do not exercise or do not use class time.

5. Blended and Flipped Learning

Blended learning is a pedagogical method in which the learner learns, at least in part, by providing content and training through digital and online media using the student controls in time or place. This allows the student to create an individual and integrated approach to learning. Blended training is combined with a flipped class approach to learning.

The Flipped class is a pedagogical model in which the typical elements of the lecture and the homework of the course change to the opposite. Students watch short video lectures or other multimedia materials asynchronously before a class session. Then, class time is devoted to active learning, such as discussions, design or problem assignments, or laboratory exercises. This learning model allows teachers to guide the teaching of students by answering students’ questions and helping them apply the concepts of the course during classes.

6. Massive Online Open Courses

Nowadays MOOCs may not be so widespread as when they first attracted attention, and people no longer think that this is the answer to the problems of educational inequality. Nevertheless, MOOCs still deserve close attention, as it develops as an important part of education, and it offers its students many advantages if used well. Moreover, The New York Times called 2013 the “Year of the MOOC” because it attracted a lot of attention and money.

7. Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is a sort of adaptive learning that considers working with computers to make decisions, based on previous levels of learner understanding when interacting with a computer program. Learning analytics and artificial intelligence are the essences of individual learning because without them it would be impossible to easily adapt the instruction on the basis of immediate answers.

Personalized learning can seem like a dream in many schools, but it’s already happening more than we can imagine – and often behind the back of the teacher.

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