Colleges awarded money to support others with edtech

Three colleges have been given grants by the Department for Education to share best edtech practice

Kate Parker

Colleges awarded money to support others with edtech

Basingstoke College of Technology, Darlington College, Beauchamp College, and National Star College have all be named as edtech demonstrators by the Department of Education.

The list, published today, contains 20 schools and colleges across the country who will receive more than £75,000 to support teaching and learning in other institutions.

Basingstoke College won the Outstanding use of technology award at 2018's Tes FE awards. 

Scott Hayden, digital innovation specialist and lecturer of creative media production at the college, said: "We aim to show how edtech provides a toolkit that augments (rather than replaces) the human, compassionate, mentoring, empathetic craft of great teaching and learning.

"At BCoT we have been supported by management to build a digital team around students and apprentices who support all subjects and are always led by the pedagogy and the future expectations of industry – we are honoured to have the opportunity to help other educators around the UK and prepare all students for their future."  


Background: Basingstoke College of Technology win outstanding use of technology for improving teaching, learning and assessment

News: Ofqual sets out technical qualifications awarding plans

More: Meet shadow apprenticeships minister Toby Perkins


Simon Welch, principal of National Star College based in Gloucestershire, said National Star was delighted to be working in partnership with Balcarras School on this programme.

“One of our charity’s objectives is to share our best practice and expertise and the edtech demonstrator programme will enable us to support even more education professionals at a time with virtual learning is so vital.

“We have done a wide range of peer to peer learning across the globe in such countries as India, Germany and Croatia. Throughout our history National Star has been innovative in making technology accessible for people with disabilities.”

The initiative is not a direct response to the rapid move to online learning due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but part of the government's £10 million edtech strategy launched last April to spread best practice across a wide range of schools and colleges. 

However, in order to support institutions through this period of mass online learning, the demonstrator schools and colleges will offer packages of support to ensure others have guidance on tutorials, webinars and recorded content. 

To help further with remote learning during shutdown, the DfE has opened a second second round of applications.

'Not the great leap we need'

Bob Harrison, a former principal and edtech expert told Tes that while the list was welcome, it didn't go far enough. 

"It is a welcome start, but nevertheless, it's not the great leap we were looking for that the FE sector needs. The online and virtual learning genie is out of the bottle now. 

"This announcement is very lightweight in terms of what the challenge to the sector is. What we really need is some inspiration about how we have a vision the learning of the future - whether you need to plan for the infrastructure and staff development that go with it, and whether the funding, inspection, audit, assessment systems will allow that innovation to take place."

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Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a FE reporter.

Find me on Twitter @KateeParker

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