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Rebecca Wayman

Could this new government strategy boost the education system with technology alone?

The use of tech in education is set to be transformed by a new government strategy published today (April 3).

Its aim is to reduce teacher workload, boost student outcomes and further help those with special needs and disabilities.

Unveiling the Education Technology strategy at the Schools and Academies Show in London, the Education Secretary will set out plans, which are backed by £10m.

Education secretary, Damian Hinds, is to address this strategy: “Technology [is] transforming the way we live our lives - both at home and in the workplace.

“But we must never think about technology for its own sake. Technology is an enabler and an enhancer. For too long in education, technology has been seen as something that adds to a teacher’s workload rather than helps to ease.

“This strategy is just the first step in making sure the education sector is able to take advantage of all of the opportunities available through EdTech.”

Edtech exports are worth an estimated £170m to the UK economy, and the strategy will deliver on the government’s ambition for tech firms to work with the education sector and create solutions to key education challenges.

These include: Reducing teachers’ marking workload; boosting training opportunities for teachers; and identifying how anti-cheating software can be improved.

For some children, technology can have a profound effect in opening up channels of communication – making learning accessible in ways not possible without the intervention of technology. Technology has the power to bring children with certain special education needs new independence in learning and communicating.

Part of the strategy is to reveal that assistive technology developers and education experts will make recommendations to the government on ways to harness the power of tech to support learners with conditions such as dyslexia or autism.

Working with the British Education Suppliers Association (BESA), schools will also receive help to identify the right products when buying technology through LendED, a free service which enables schools to try educational software before they buy them.

Minister for universities, science, research and innovation, Chris Skidmore, added: “As the way we interact with technology is changing at an ever-increasing rate, it is more important than ever that the education system keeps pace with the change around us.

“We need to work with leading head teachers, education experts and tech companies to unlock the benefits for our children and young people.

“The collaboration enabled by this strategy will provide an unprecedented boost to the role technology has to play in schools, colleges and universities, and support the UK’s dynamic edtech sector to develop a range of products and technology solutions.”

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