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technology in education uk

UK schools are leading the way in embracing technology

technology in education uk

UK schools top of the global classroom for embracing technology, with majority of parents supportive of remote/hybrid learning

  • 64% of UK schools use technology in everyday teaching and learning practices
  • 55% of parents are supportive of EdTech in the classroom and remote or hybrid learning
  • 57% of UK schools involve students in the planning of technology use in the classroom

The UK education system is a world leader in the adoption and use of technology in the classroom, with teachers, pupils and parents actively involved in the way devices are utilised at school, according to new research released today.

Almost three quarters (64%) of schools in the UK are now embedding technology in everyday teaching and learning practices, using it to transform teaching approaches and learning outcomes.

The findings come from the ‘ Capabilities for Success: What’s Working in EdTech Today ’ whitepaper from SMART Technologies. The research surveyed more than 3,300 global respondents, including more than 419 in the UK, made up of educational leaders, policy makers, administrators, ICT coordinators and teachers. Collected from SMART’s Edtech Assessment Tool between 2018 and 2022, it is one of the largest studies of education technology adoption available and is based on global frameworks and practices such as those from the OECD and ISTE. 

Parents support schools’ approach to remote/hybrid learning

The research found parents of children between the ages of 4-19 in the UK are actively engaged with how technology is used inside and outside of the classroom. More than half (55%) are supportive of remote or hybrid learning and have been given the training and tools to support their children. This is compared to an average of only 24% of parents who feel the same across the rest of the world. 

More than a quarter (26%) of parents of UK pupils also have significant involvement in technology planning in schools and their children’s digital competencies, which contrasts with a global average of just 16%. Since 2020, the importance of this type of family and community engagement has increased in importance, with schools doing this well reporting higher outcomes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted many schools into remote online learning in compliance with local safety guidelines, but despite the return to in-person teaching, the research found that more than a third (39%) continue to develop curriculum content that can be delivered remotely. Less than a quarter (24%) of schools globally, on average, are doing the same. 

Alongside parents’ involvement, the research found that UK schools are much more willing to involve students in the planning of technology use in schools too. More than half (57%) say their students are involved in decision-making groups and contribute towards the technologies, content and resources used in the classroom, compared to 40% globally. 

As a result of this increased adoption of classroom technology, UK schools are reporting better outcomes for their students and teachers. 84% of schools reported enhanced student preparation in the UK, compared with 78% on average globally. Meanwhile, 76% of UK schools report to have met their teaching and learning goals, compared to just 68% in the rest of the world. 

Those schools reporting high outcomes are using a variety of technology in the classroom, including significant increases in the use of collaborative software, assessment software and game-based software as well as pre-created content, in comparison to schools reporting lower overall outcomes. 

Jim Knight (Rt Hon Lord Knight), Director of Suklaa and former schools minister, said: “While the pandemic has changed the day-to-day execution of teaching and learning across the world, it also accelerated the evolution of technology adoption, curriculum, and other key elements of learning. The data here suggests that technology like collaborative software and game-based activity supports increased levels of student engagement and leads to improved outcomes holistically.

“The world of work is calling for students to finish their education more holistically prepared for the workplace, with many companies placing more focus on noncognitive skills like communication and collaboration over more traditionally academic skills. It is vital the policy changes accompany these needs, along with renewed support for teachers as they navigate new practice and tools.”

Commenting on the research findings, Giancarlo Brotto, Global Education Advisor at SMART, said: “We have been collecting this research for four years now, and the UK is showing itself to be a prominent leader in EdTech adoption.

“It’s clear from the data that technology use in the classroom is advocated not just by the schools themselves, but among parents and students too. At a time when education was pushed to its limits during the pandemic, it has allowed for new and engaging ways of learning to be introduced and enabled crucial connections that matter between teachers and students, especially during lockdowns when face-to-face learning was taken away from students and teachers alike.”

SMART Technologies’ EdTech Assessment Tool questions educational leaders, policy makers, administrators, ICT coordinators and teachers on their organisation’s technology use and teaching and learning outcomes, supporting a collaborative approach to assessing and prioritising digital strategy. 

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technology in education uk

Sixty-four per cent of schools use tech everyday

technology in education uk

Almost three quarters (64%) of schools in the UK are now embedding technology in everyday teaching and learning practices, coming up top in the global study by SMART Technologies.

The findings come from the ‘Capabilities for Success: What’s Working in EdTech Today’ whitepaper from SMART Technologies. The research surveyed more than 3,300 global respondents, including more than 419 in the UK, made up of educational leaders, policy makers, administrators, ICT coordinators and teachers. Collected from SMART’s Edtech Assessment Tool between 2018 and 2022, it is one of the largest studies of education technology adoption available and is based on global frameworks and practices such as those from the OECD and ISTE. 

The research found parents of children between the ages of 4-19 in the UK are actively engaged with how technology is used inside and outside of the classroom. More than half (55%) are supportive of remote or hybrid learning and have been given the training and tools to support their children. This is compared to an average of only 24% of parents who feel the same across the rest of the world. 

More than a quarter (26%) of parents of UK pupils also have significant involvement in technology planning in schools and their children’s digital competencies, which contrasts with a global average of just 16%. Since 2020, the importance of this type of family and community engagement has increased in importance, with schools doing this well reporting higher outcomes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted many schools into remote online learning in compliance with local safety guidelines, but despite the return to in-person teaching, the research found that more than a third (39%) continue to develop curriculum content that can be delivered remotely. Less than a quarter (24%) of schools globally, on average, are doing the same. 

Alongside parents’ involvement, the research found that UK schools are much more willing to involve students in the planning of technology use in schools too. More than half (57%) say their students are involved in decision-making groups and contribute towards the technologies, content and resources used in the classroom, compared to 40% globally. 

As a result of this increased adoption of classroom technology, UK schools are reporting better outcomes for their students and teachers. 84% of schools reported enhanced student preparation in the UK, compared with 78% on average globally. Meanwhile, 76% of UK schools report to have met their teaching and learning goals, compared to just 68% in the rest of the world. 

Those schools reporting high outcomes are using a variety of technology in the classroom, including significant increases in the use of collaborative software, assessment software and game-based software as well as pre-created content, in comparison to schools reporting lower overall outcomes. 

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Research on teachers and technology for teaching and learning

Rear view of teenage students raising hands in classroom

7 December 2022

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has announced the successful awardees of the education research programme.

The awardees will explore new approaches to attracting and developing teachers, and the use of technology for teaching and learning.

A £5.3 million fund will support a total of 9 projects. The research evidence gathered as part of the programme will inform policymaking and practice, leading to better outcomes for children and their families.

Projects will be led by a range of research institutions working in partnership with other stakeholder groups across the 4 nations of the UK.

Understanding how education is changing

The programme will build on previous ESRC investment in research on the impact of digital working by exploring the use of technology in schools.

By rethinking the approach to teaching in a post-lockdown, more digitally connected world, this work aims to inform new, more impactful ways of teaching which integrate technology into the classroom.

Other projects focus on gaining a better understanding of how teaching and learning is changing, with particular reference to improving teacher education, recruitment and retention.

Addressing key contemporary issues

The funded projects cover a wide range of contemporary issues in education, including:

  • approaches to improving the recruitment, retention, education and development of specific groups, including ethnic minority teachers and school leaders
  • the use of technology in schools and how it can reinforce or reconfigure existing educational and social inequities
  • recruiting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) undergraduates into teacher education
  • improving foreign language teachers’ knowledge, skills, confidence, motivation, and job satisfaction
  • digital citizenship and data ethics challenges in the classroom
  • children’s participation rights in pedagogical practice to inform teachers’ professional development

The research begins in early December and projects will run for up to 3 years.

Informing education policy and practice

Under the leadership of its director, Professor Gemma Moss, the programme is designed to support partnership working between researchers, practitioners and policymakers in different parts of the UK. They will develop lasting networks that can identify and promote key strategic aims for future education research.

Professor Gemma Moss, Director of the education research programme, said:

This is an exciting opportunity for the education research community to work in partnership with other stakeholders and find new ways of tackling some long-lasting challenges in school-based education. The programme recognises the devolved nature of education in the UK and in this context is looking to develop stronger links between research, policy and practice that can generate new insights relevant to local contexts.

Achieving ESRC objectives

This investment contributes to the ‘digital society’ priority area of investment in ESRC’s 2022 to 2025 delivery plan .

It also contributes to the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) strategic theme of creating opportunities and improving outcomes (further details in the UKRI 5 year strategy ).

Professor Alison Park, ESRC Interim Executive Chair, said:

Through the education research programme, ESRC is funding important new research that will generate insights and help address ongoing challenges for the UK’s compulsory education systems, including how to attract, educate and retain excellent teachers, and how to adopt and harness the benefits of new technologies. The programme will support both teachers and children by tackling issues such as resilience, participation, recruitment, training and retention. The research will use the power of social science to generate a range of exciting outputs that have the potential to directly transform UK education and create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Further information

Full list of successful funded projects as part of the latest round of funding, teaching for digital citizenship: digital ethics in the classroom and beyond it.

Led by Dr David Lundie at the University of Glasgow

This project will employ a range of approaches to understand the ways digital citizenship and data ethics challenges are understood. It will also use these approaches to understand how responses to these issues are taken up across the curriculum and wider life schools.

The resulting resources, together with a report making recommendations for teacher educators, school leaders, examination authorities and policymakers across the UK, will furnish an integrated cross-curricular digital citizenship strategy.

Rethinking teacher recruitment: new approaches to attracting prospective STEM teachers

Led by Professor Robert Klassen at the University of York

This project will use innovative technologies to improve our understanding of the attraction and recruitment of STEM undergraduates into initial teacher education. This research addresses a chronic problem in England, one that weakens the teacher workforce and drains economic resources.

The project is based on developing and testing new digital recruitment tools, with the aim of increasing the flow of STEM students into initial teacher education.

Enhancing teacher agency with technology: creating an ecological model through a place-based study of teaching and learning

Led by Professor John Gordon at the University of East Anglia

This project will advance understanding of teacher agency with technology for teaching and learning.

The project aims to understand how teachers’ choices and actions are affected by the conditions they work in, to support the use of technology to improve their experiences. Through a place-based study the team will work to improve agency of teachers and influence policymaking.

Embedding children’s participation rights in pedagogical practice in lower primary classrooms in Wales

Gwreiddio hawliau cyfranogiad plant mewn arferion addysgol yn ystafelloedd dosbarth cynradd is yng nghymru.

Led by Dr Sarah Chicken at the University of the West of England

Dan arweiniad Dr Sarah Chicken ym Mhrifysgol Gorllewin Lloegr

This project will investigate the translation of education policy into the classroom, focusing on young children aged 5 to 7 years, in the school context. This project considers how teaching practices can embed participatory rights for all children, and attend, routinely, to children’s voice and agency. The project aims to establish practices that embed young children’s rights in the context of lower primary classrooms in Wales.

Bydd y prosiect hwn yn ymchwilio i drosglwyddiad polisi addysg i’r ystafell ddosbarth, gan ganolbwyntio ar blant ifanc 5-7 oed, yng nghyd-destun yr ysgol. Mae’r prosiect hwn yn ystyried sut y gall arferion addysgu ymgorffori hawliau cyfranogol ar gyfer pob plentyn, a thalu sylw, fel mater o drefn, i lais ac asiantaeth plant. Nod y prosiect yw sefydlu arferion sy’n ymgorffori hawliau plant ifanc yng nghyd-destun ystafelloedd dosbarth cynradd is yng Nghymru.

Decentring the ‘resilient teacher’: exploring interactions between individuals and their social ecologies

Led by Dr Stephanie Ainsworth at Manchester Metropolitan University

This project will investigate the concept of teacher resilience with the aim of creating more resilient environments for teachers at local, regional and national levels. It will adopt an approach which views resilience not as something which resides solely within the teacher, but as a product of their environment and their workplace interactions.

Training materials and an online course will be generated, promoted and made available for teacher education networks, student teachers and UK universities.

Towards equity focused approaches to EdTech: a socio-technical perspective

Led by Professor Rebecca Eynon at University of Oxford

This project will investigate use of technology in schools and the ways it can reinforce or reconfigure existing educational and social inequities.

The study will include rich ethnographic work in schools, futures workshops, and the creation of open educational resources. It aims to change the way that the use of digital technology in schools is thought about, promoted and designed to inform future equity focused approaches to digital interventions in education.

Investigating the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority teachers and its relationship to school outcomes

Led by Professor Stephen Gorard at Durham University

This project will analyse and help to explain disparities in ethnic minority representation in the teaching workforce, and the impact of these on education, providing advice of improving the situation where needed.

It will analyse official government workforce and students data, review and synthesise international evidence on effective measures to attract and retain ethnic minority teachers. It will also conduct a nationwide survey with in-depth case studies of schools on the barriers and facilitators faced by schools in recruiting and retaining teachers.

Sustainable school leadership: comparing approaches to the training, supply and retention of senior school leaders across the UK

Led by Professor Toby Greany at The University of Nottingham

This project will develop a deeper understanding of approaches to the supply, training and retention of senior school leaders for primary and secondary schools. It will also offer a vision for how these can be enhanced.

The study will include interviews with policymakers and leadership development experts, secondary analysis of existing datasets, place-based case studies and surveys of leaders. Comparative findings and recommendations will be disseminated to research, policy and practice audiences, including through web-based resources that can be used to enhance local and national leadership succession planning.

Digital empowerment in language teaching (DELTEA)

Led by Dr Alison Porter at the University of Southampton with Professor Suzanne Graham at the University of Reading

The project will investigate the role of digital technology in improving teachers’ language knowledge and classroom skills, their ability to enhance pupil language and literacy skills and other areas of teaching.

It will develop and test a digital professional development (DPD) programme for primary foreign language teachers in England and Scotland. It will also establish the mechanisms through which any changes for teachers and learners occur. And the project will work with DPD teachers to create and evaluate a scaled-up, peer-supported version of the DPD programme, which will be rolled out to all 4 UK nations.

Top image:  Credit: Caiaimage/Chris Ryan, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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https://dfedigital.blog.gov.uk/2021/02/12/digital-education-platforms/

Digital education platforms and how they’re helping schools

GOV.UK web page on a mobile phone screen in front of a laptop. Mobile phone reads 'Get funding and support to set up a digital education platform'.

When schools and colleges closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, teachers needed a way to continue teaching students at home. The solution was to provide digital education platforms. This is the name we give to a set of tools and technologies that together enable pupils to learn online in virtual classrooms.

Digital education platforms are purpose-built for remote learning and they are so much more than just a school website.

Funding is available for schools to help them get set up on one of two platforms, either G Suite for Education (Google Classroom) or Office 365 Education (Microsoft Teams) . Both are free to use.

The Digital education platform team, part of the wider Get help with technology programme , was tasked with rolling out these platforms to 8,000 schools across England by March 2021. By the end of December 2020 we had almost 7,000 requests from schools to set up 2.5 million student and staff accounts.

The roll-out

To respond to this challenge we’ve been collaborating with our partners, who include The Key for School Leaders , Google, Microsoft and several other IT suppliers.

Google and Microsoft provide the education platforms and functionality and the partner organisations work with schools to set up the platforms.

The Key for School Leaders shares guidance with schools and makes useful comparisons between the platforms to help school staff choose the one that best meets their learners’ needs.

The benefits of a digital education platform

Using these platforms, teachers can:

  • teach classes as well as smaller groups of pupils
  • communicate with their pupils
  • set tasks for individuals as well as for larger groups
  • let pupils work together
  • give feedback
  • share useful links to digital learning resources
  • collaborate with their colleagues on lesson planning and related administrative tasks

All schools can now get good quality digital learning platforms, as well as training and support from other schools through the EdTech Demonstrator programme. (This programme launched in 2019 and right now its focus is helping schools and colleges to provide remote and blended education.)

Feedback from schools has been positive

Back of a laptop with 4 stickers on. Only the first two stickers are in focus, reading 'be user centred' and 'deliver end to end'. A white hand is typing on the laptop

The successful roll-out of these digital education platforms shows what can be achieved when teams of people from different sectors collaborate to put the right technology in place.

Like all user-centred services, it’s important to get feedback from users to keep improving the service. We’re proud of the positive reactions we’ve had so far from schools:

“We are very proud of the journey we have come in such a short space of time re digital learning and our education platform – from having what seemed like archaic offline ways of communication and IT infrastructures to a cloud-based platform that all teachers and staff have used. Staff are finding that workload has reduced, and many things have actually become easier in these challenging times.”

“Google Drive has made the paperwork of school leadership less lonely! I can share and invite staff to collaborate on documentation which is so much quicker than emailing, downloading, and printing. We will certainly never go back to how it was before!”

Challenges along the way

Doing this work remotely has been challenging.

Understanding schools’ local contexts and their priorities is much harder to do at a distance as you can imagine. We’ve had very few opportunities to meet with school staff face-to-face to hear about their needs and experiences of different technologies.

The speed at which we had to deploy the platforms meant we could not have as many in-depth conversations about how schools use tech as we wanted.

Schools have been extremely busy and on occasion platform roll-out has taken longer. Completing paperwork has proven to be a blocker. In situations like this our team has worked with our partners, suppliers and school staff to do whatever they can to speed things up.

In this latest lockdown, we’re making sure all schools and colleges are set up on a digital platform. It’s therefore imperative that we continue our research with schools who’ve completed their platform set-up to find out what we can improve.

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Why technology in education must be on our terms

Cameroon school children learning to use computer in classroom

The relationship between technology and education has been a topic of interest for decades. While technology presents remarkable opportunities, it's essential to approach its integration thoughtfully and responsibly. The  2023 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report offers valuable insights into how technology has transformed education, its benefits, limitations, and the challenges associated with its implementation.  

The flagship UNESCO report highlights the lack of appropriate governance and regulation, especially amidst rapidly emerging generative artificial intelligence tools. It urges countries to urgently set their own terms for the way technology is designed and used in learning so that it never replaces in-person, teacher-led instruction, and supports quality education for all. Here are some insights from the report. 

What has been the evolution of technology in education?

While the use of technology in education dates back to the emergence of radio in the 1920s, it's the digital technology of the last 40 years that holds the greatest potential for educational transformation. This period has witnessed a revolution in content distribution, learning management systems, testing methods, and language instruction. From augmented reality to personalized tutoring, technology has reshaped our learning experiences. Recent advancements in artificial intelligence have amplified the capabilities of educational technology, even raising questions about the role of human interaction in education.

What is the impact of technology on learning?

Technology undeniably enhances learning in specific contexts. However, it is crucial to recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach does not apply. Digital technology's primary contributions to learning lie in its ability to personalize instruction and extend available learning time. Additionally, it fosters engagement by encouraging interaction and collaboration among learners. Notably, the report highlights that technology need not be cutting-edge to be effective. For instance, in China, providing high-quality lesson recordings to rural students resulted in a 32% improvement in outcomes and a 38% reduction in urban-rural learning gaps.

How do we evaluate technology's effectiveness in education?

The report emphasizes that evaluating technology's impact must focus on learning outcomes rather than the mere implementation of digital tools. Cases such as Peru, where laptops were distributed without integrating them into pedagogy, demonstrate that technology alone doesn't guarantee improved learning. Similarly, exclusive reliance on remote instruction in the United States widened learning gaps. The report further warns against inappropriate or excessive technology use, citing instances of negative links between excessive ICT use and student performance.

How reliable is the evidence?

The rapid evolution of technology often outpaces its evaluation. Evidence primarily comes from affluent countries, raising concerns about generalizability. The report reveals that a mere 7% of education technology companies in the United Kingdom conducted randomized controlled trials, reflecting a lack of rigorous evaluation. The challenge of isolating technology's impact from other factors complicates precise assessment. Additionally, the influence of technology companies on evidence generation poses credibility challenges.

What are the recommendations for effective integration of technology in education?

As artificial intelligence gains prominence, the report emphasizes that not all technological change equates to progress. The adoption of technology must be guided by a learner-centric, rights-based framework, ensuring appropriateness, equity, evidence-based decisions, and sustainability. The report presents a four-point compass for policy-makers:

  • Look down: Evaluate the context and learning objectives to ensure technology choices strengthen education systems.
  • Look back: Prioritize marginalized groups to ensure that technology benefits all learners and narrows educational disparities.
  • Look up: Ensure evidence-based decision-making and consider hidden long-term costs before scaling up technology initiatives.
  • Look forward: Align technology integration with sustainable development goals, considering financial implications, children's well-being, and environmental impact.

Technology in education: A tool on whose terms

Technology in education: A tool on whose terms

From 4 to 7 September, UNESCO's  Digital Learning Week will gather policy-makers, practitioners, educators, private sector partners, researchers and development agencies to jointly explore how public digital learning platforms and generative AI can be steered to reinforce and enrich human-centered quality education.

  • Download the  2023 GEM Report  
  • Read the  press release  
  • Join the conversation on social media via  #TechOnOurTerms
  • More on the  Global Education Monitoring Report
  • More on UNESCO's  Digital Learning Week

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  • Published 2 February 2015

Technology has the power to transform how people learn - but walk into some classrooms and you could be forgiven for thinking you were entering a time warp.

There will probably be a whiteboard instead of the traditional blackboard, and the children may be using laptops or tablets, but plenty of textbooks, pens and photocopied sheets are still likely.

And perhaps most strikingly, all desks will face forwards, with the teacher at the front.

The curriculum and theory have changed little since Victorian times, according to the educationalist and author Marc Prensky.

"The world needs a new curriculum," he said at the recent Bett show, a conference dedicated to technology in education. "We have to rethink the 19th Century curriculum."

Most of the education products on the market are just aids to teach the existing curriculum, he says, based on the false assumption "we need to teach better what we teach today".

He feels a whole new core of subjects is needed, focusing on the skills that will equip today's learners for tomorrow's world of work. These include problem-solving, creative thinking and collaboration.

'Flipped' classrooms

One of the biggest problems with radically changing centuries-old pedagogical methods is that no generation of parents wants their children to be the guinea pigs.

Mr Prensky he thinks we have little choice, however: "We are living in an age of accelerating change. We have to experiment and figure out what works."

"We are at the ground floor of a new world full of imagination, creativity, innovation and digital wisdom. We are going to have to create the education of the future because it doesn't exist anywhere today."

He might be wrong there. Change is already afoot to disrupt the traditional classroom.

Children in a classroom at Sudbury primary school

The "flipped" classroom - the idea of inverting traditional teaching methods by delivering instructions online outside of the classroom and using the time in school as the place to do homework - has gained in popularity in US schools.

The teacher's role becomes one of a guide, while students watch lectures at home at their own pace, communicating with classmates and teachers online.

Salman Khan is one of the leading advocates of "flipped" classrooms, having first posted tutorials in maths for his young cousins on YouTube in 2004.

Their huge popularity led to the creation of the not-for-profit Khan Academy, offering educational videos with complete curricula in maths and other subjects.

The project has caught the eye of the US Department of Education, which is currently running a $3m (£1.9m) trial to gauge the effectiveness of the method. Now the idea has reached the UK.

Teachers 'surprised'

Mohammed Telbany heads the IT department at Sudbury Primary School in Suffolk. He has been experimenting with the "flipped" classroom and recently expanded it to other lessons.

"The teachers facilitate, rather than standing in front of the children telling them what to do, and the children just come in and get on with what they are doing," he says.

"It has surprised the teachers that the kids can excel on their own, with minimal teaching intervention."

In the developing world where, according to some estimates, up to 57 million children are unable to attend primary school, the idea of children learning without much adult intervention is a necessity not a luxury.

Prof Sugata Mitra, from Newcastle University, has been experimenting with self-learning since his famous hole-in-the-wall computer experiments in the slums of Delhi in 1999.

Children using the internet in an Indian "cloud school"

He was amazed at how quickly the children learned how to use the machines with no adult supervision or advice.

From that was born the idea of " cloud grannies " - retired professionals from the UK, mentoring groups of children in India via Skype.

He won the $1m Ted prize in 2013 to build a series of self-organising learning environments in both the UK and India.

In January he completed the last of seven such units - a striking solar-powered glass building amid the lush vegetation of the village of Gocharan in West Bengal.

There will be no teachers and up to 40 children can participate when it suits them. They will have the internet at their disposal and will work in small groups. E-mediators will mentor the children via Skype.

Dr Suneeta Kulkarni, research director of the School in the Cloud project, said children would "engage in a variety of activities that are driven by their interest and curiosity", with games typically tried first.

The children will also be asked "big questions" that they can answer online.

"At yet other times these questions emerge from what the children 'wonder' about. It is also where the grannies or e-mediators are expected to play a significant role," she said.

Classroom games

When Canadian teacher and computer programmer Shawn Young wanted to spruce up his lessons, his first thought was gaming.

It was a platform many of his students were familiar with and something that was proven to engage children.

But it also had a bad reputation in teaching circles - thought to be too violent, addictive and without educational merit.

Some early attempts to integrate educational content within games failed. But what makes Classcraft different is that it is not about content - it is more a behaviour-management and motivation tool.

"The teacher teaches as normal. Teachers can offer pupils points for good behaviour, asking questions, or working well in their teams and it gives them access to real life powers," Mr Young says.

Those powers are decided by the teachers and may include handing in homework a day late.

There are also penalties for those not concentrating in class, turning up late or being disruptive.

Children play the game in teams, which means a lost point affects the entire group, and encourages them to work together.

"It is being used in a school in Texas which has a mix of white, Mexican and Afro-Americans. They would never normally speak to each other," said Mr Young.

Teachers using the system - some 100,000 have signed up since it launched in August - have noted not just better interaction between pupils, but better classroom engagement and motivation.

"As in other games there are sometimes random events, which could be something like everyone having to speak like a pirate for the day or the teacher having to sing a song in class. The kids love it."

More on this story

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  • Published 22 January 2015

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  • Published 3 December 2014

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  • Artificial intelligence boosting education and creativity

Date 2.01.2024

technology in education uk

As the revolution in artificial intelligence unfolds, experts at the University of Northampton (UON) are sharing their visions for how the technology can positively impact our lives.

The talks by some of the University’s senior lecturers in fashion and education form part of the third Vulcan Works Sessions organised by Digital Northants, a partnership between UON, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and North Northamptonshire Council (NNC)

The free event entitled, AI and Creativity, takes place on Friday, 26 January 2024 between 10am and midday at The Vulcan Works in Guildhall Road, Northampton.

Jane Mills, UON’s Deputy Head of Subject for Fashion, Textiles, Footwear & Accessories will share the profound impact breakthroughs in the technology has had on her work.

She said: “I’ve delved into the technology, and it has had a hugely positive influence on how I view creativity.

“I’ve come to believe there is a realistic promise of a future where humans and super-smart technology can work in creative partnership to achieve outcomes we simply cannot imagine right now.”

David Meechan, a Senior Lecturer in Education at UON, will share key points from a chapter in his upcoming study skills book for students: Getting started with generative AI.

David said: “I’ve been supporting academics and students to develop their use of AI based tools across their work and study.

“I think there is a case for arguing in favour of a blended approach where AI can ethically assist us in real life, study and work situations. I look forward to sharing specific applications I’ve found and how they are currently being used with students and colleagues at UON.”

NNC Leader, Cllr Jason Smithers, said: “Artificial Intelligence is the latest radical innovation to sweep the globe – it’s here to stay and it will evolve at pace.

“We need to understand AI and harness its potential – there will be countless benefits in education and creativity and holding events like this with our partners is paramount if we are going to make best use of new technologies to improve peoples’ lives.”

Cllr Dan Lister, WNC’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration, and Growth, said: “We are thrilled to host the AI and Creativity workshop at Vulcan Works.

“This workshop reinforces our commitment to making West Northamptonshire a thriving place for innovation.

“Our aim is to encourage more businesses to explore the opportunities available here and highlight the potential of Vulcan Works as an Innovation Hub. By teaming up with the University of Northampton, we hope to provide expert support to local businesses, fostering sustainable growth and contributing positively to our economy.

“This collaboration underscores our vision for a prosperous West Northamptonshire.”

Reserve a spot for The Vulcan Sessions 3: AI and Creativity via Eventbrite .

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Technology in education: Four ways innovation is being used in the classroom

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Until recently, most classrooms across the globe were unchanged by innovative technology. However, with children who have grown up with technology at their fingertips more tech-literate than ever, technology is beginning to infiltrate the classroom at an increasing rate. With interactive whiteboards to tablets now commonplace, education technology is now going one step further, incorporating virtual reality and artificial intelligence into how children learn.

Considering 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet, according to a 2017 report by Dell Technologies , it may be necessary to re-think how technology is harnessed to prepare pupils for the workplace of the future.

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Here are four ways technology in education has been introduced to the classroom.

Virtual reality and immersive learning

Virtual reality (VR) has applications in almost every industry, and education is no exception. The technology is pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the classroom, by using immersive experiences to aid learning.

Programmes such as Tilt Brush can be used to create VR art, students can go on virtual field trips using Google Expeditions, and facilitate full immersion language learning through programmes such as Unimersiv.

Technology such as Google Cardboard is vastly less expensive than headsets such as Oculus Rift, making it an affordable teaching aid.

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Other companies are working to make the technology more accessible, with Microsoft offering discounts on its HoloLens mixed reality headsets for schools.

This month, Google announced that its virtual reality platform, Google Daydream, was collaborating with remote virtual lab company Labster, to create 30 virtual laboratories that can be used by students to practice science experiments without having to set foot in a lab.

Adaptive learning software

With an increased focus on learning styles, schools are now aware of the fact that pupils learn in different ways. Gone are the days of every pupil reading from the same textbook; adaptive learning software allows what is being taught to be adjusted to suit different needs or ways of learning.

Software such as Dreambox can be adapted based on learning environment, learning objectives content, method and pace, giving a level of personalisation that cannot be achieved in a classroom of often up to thirty children.

Technology of this kind has been welcomed by the majority of teachers. According to The 2018 Teaching with Technology Survey, 44% of teachers surveyed said technology in education made their job easier, while 29% said it made their job much easier.

Gamification

Teachers have often used games as educational tools, especially with younger pupils, but technology now allows classroom activities to become personalised online games.

Online platforms such as PlayBrighter allows teachers to turn assignments into ‘missions’ for students to complete.

Artificial Intelligence

Although not designed to act as a replacement for human teachers, tutoring programmes based on artificial intelligence (AI) are already being used to teach students basic maths and spelling. AI can also be used to analyse students’ past work and performance to provide bespoke recommendations on what they should be taught.

AI is being used in a variety of unusual ways in the classroom, with one high school in Eastern China is using facial recognition system that monitors student engagement. Furthermore, AI can also be used to complete administrative tasks such as grading homework, leaving teachers with more time for interacting with students.

The use of AI in schools is only set to increase, with the Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector report predicting that artificial intelligence in US education will grow by 47.5% from 2017-2021.

However, despite reports of robots stealing jobs, technology in education is not designed to replace teachers. CEO of Silicon Schools Brian Greenberg told Business Insider that AI is most effective when used as a tool to enhance teaching:

“Technology is important, but it’s really just the means to an end. The real magic is in giving great educators freedom and license into how school works.”

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Mike Wooldridge with the robot Ai-Da Robot

AI expert warns against telling your secrets to chatbots such as ChatGPT

Prof Mike Wooldridge will address looming questions around AI in this year’s Royal Institution Christmas lectures

Confiding in ChatGPT about work gripes or political preferences could come back to bite users, according to an artificial intelligence expert.

Mike Wooldridge, a professor of AI at Oxford University, says sharing private information or having heart-to-hearts with a chatbot would be “extremely unwise” as anything revealed helps train future versions.

Users should also not expect a balanced response to their comments as the technology “tells you what you want to hear”, he adds.

Wooldridge is exploring the subject of AI in this year’s Royal Institution Christmas lectures . He will look at the “big questions facing AI research and unravel the myths about how this ground-breaking technology really works”, according to the institution.

How a machine can be taught to translate from one language to another and how chatbots work will be among the topics he will discuss. He will also address the question that looms around AI: can it ever be truly like humans?

Wooldridge told the Daily Mail that while humans were programmed to look for consciousness in AI, it was a futile endeavour. AI, he said, “has no empathy. It has no sympathy”.

“That’s absolutely not what the technology is doing and crucially, it’s never experienced anything,” he added. “The technology is basically designed to try to tell you what you want to hear – that’s literally all it’s doing.”

He offered the sobering insight that “you should assume that anything you type into ChatGPT is just going to be fed directly into future versions of ChatGPT”. And if on reflection you decide you have revealed too much to ChatGPT, retractions are not really an option. According to Wooldridge, given how AI models work it is near-impossible to get your data back once it has gone into the system.

A spokesperson for OpenAI, the organisation behind ChatGPT, said: “ In April , we introduced the ability to turn off chat history. Conversations that are started when chat history is disabled won’t be used to train and improve our models.”

Across the lecture series, Wooldridge will be joined by major figures from the AI world. The Royal Institution says he will also introduce “a range of robot friends, who will demonstrate what robots today can do – and what they can’t”.

The Christmas lectures were started by Michael Faraday in 1825 at the Royal Institution in London with the aim of engaging and educating young people about science. They were first broadcast in 1936, making them the oldest science television series.

Those who have given the lectures include the Nobel prize winners William and Lawrence Bragg, Sir David Attenborough, Carl Sagan and Dame Nancy Rothwell.

The lectures will be broadcast on BBC Four and iPlayer on 26, 27 and 28 December at 8pm.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Royal Institution

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technology in education uk

  • Education, training and skills
  • Further and higher education, skills and vocational training

Implementation of education technology in schools and colleges

Exploring how new education technology (Edtech) is successfully implemented and embedded in schools and colleges.

Applies to England

technology in education uk

Ref: ISBN 978-1-83870-388-2

PDF , 931 KB , 114 pages

This report brings together the findings of:

  • a rapid literature review
  • a roundtable with key education technology ( Edtech ) stakeholders
  • surveys and interviews with schools and colleges that had recently implemented new education technology

The research identified the key stages that schools and colleges considered to be important when implementing technology.

Following a sequential and structured process, the report outlines the importance of preparing for technology implementation ahead of the actual implementation process itself. Alongside this, the feedback from schools and colleges highlighted training, support and monitoring processes as underpinning the planning and implementation process.

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