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Colleges have failed to keep pace with technology, report claims

FE colleges must change the way they teach to get the full benefits from investment in technology, according to a new report.

Further Education Reimagined, by technology firms Microsoft and Intel, and the Gazelle Colleges Group, calls for a widespread debate in FE about the potential of technology and how it can create new opportunities for students.

It says colleges have failed to keep pace with the changing ways young people consume information and the growing preference for things like video content, social networking and games.

It recommends colleges invest teaching resources in supporting students in “self-directed learning” and move away from traditional classroom teachers to learning coaches.

Digital skills must be given more space in the curriculum, it says, and become a core element of every student’s learning programme.

It also proposes an “Amazon Marketplace” type system for FE that would give learners and employers access to up-to-date information on college performance.

Fintan Donohue, CEO of Gazelle, said: “Technology creates significant opportunities for colleges, but to take advantage, the sector must fundamentally change how it thinks about delivering teaching and learning.

“Pouring investment into historic teaching models will not deliver the flexibility that students are looking for, and fails to recognise the huge change that has occurred in the way young people access information.

“College leaders must respond to that change and reform teaching models before they can realise their significant investment in new technology.”

The report follows the government’s own study into the use of technology in FE carried out by the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (Feltag).

Its report, published in March, concluded that the sector must keep abreast of technological change, that investment in new technology must be able to withstand rapid change, that the FE workforce be “brought up to speed” to understand the potential of new technology, and that students must be “empowered” to use digital technology in learning, including their own devices.


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