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Ready for improvement

Since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, EDUCATE Ventures has been in collaboration with Cambridge University Press and the UCL Knowledge Lab, collecting evidence on the role of technology in UK schools.

 

Creating the multi-stakeholder connected ecosystem

Tackling the challenges Covid has exposed in 2020 will be the job of all stakeholders in education moving forward, but we have heretofore had a largely unconnected ecosystem operating to address them in self-contained little silos, where the learning in one is not communicated to the teaching in another.  For education to move past its limitations, many of which have been revealed by gaps in technological infrastructure and understanding, a joined-up approach is required, and EDUCATE's research in this area seeks to assist in that approach using 5 personas, demarcated by their familiarity and access to, technology.

Abstract

In March 2020, COVID-19 shook education systems across the globe. The repercussions of Covid-19 on education were both terrible and transformational, or at least potentially transformational, at the same time. In the UK and across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced many existing structural challenges and inequalities. It has catalysed the sort of technology use in education that would normally take many months or even years, sometime for good and sometimes not. The COVID-19 shock has caused the scale and depth of disruption that one hopes strikes an ecosystem just once a century.  The truth is however, that we have no idea if this pandemic is a ‘one-off’ or just the start of a series of traumas that will mark the decade to come. For researchers, it is a rare opportunity to observe, collect evidence, and learn.

This report reflects the analysis of multiple data sources over many months of iterative refinement using a lean approach to engage the main adult educational stakeholders. We map the main challenges, opportunities, support systems and uses of educational technologies since spring 2020. Our recommendations are based on analysis drawn from the English education system. They are however relevant beyond the national confines of the UK.

We identify ten interconnected challenge themes and extract ten evidence-informed sets of implications that concern: Remote emergency teaching vs effective online learning; Teacher upskilling; Parental engagement; The ‘falling behind’ narrative; The widening socio-economic gap; The lack of trust in government; Infrastructure implications; Assessment; Special educational needs and

Privacy.

 

Many of the challenges we identify are a direct result of the disconnection in the existing educational technology ecosystem, which has left teachers without access to reliable evidence about the efficacy of the Edtech options available to the and the range and impact of the different pedagogical delivery models they could adopt. This existing ecosystem has also left the Edtech industry without access to a clear understating of the needs, opportunities and challenges that are faced by learners, parents, teachers and headteachers.

The recommendations from our research address both the short and the long-term challenges we face. Primarily, our analysis suggests that education systems must create a connected ecosystem of multi stakeholder communities. Educators and their leaders, researchers, parents and Edtech providers must be better connected to bridge the gulf that is often created by their current rather siloed existence. Specifically, secure channels of communication and collaboration must be provided between the community of teachers, learners and parents who use technology for education, the community of researchers who investigate technology’s design and use in education and the community of businesses that create technology for use in education. These communities must be incentivised and enabled to connect.

This report also identifies five main educational stakeholder personas and offers practical suggestions for improvement tailored to these personas: The Earth movers, The Space seekers, The Fire tamers, The Water pilots and The Aeronauts.

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EDUCATE Ventures LLP is a company registered in England and Wales (OC428560)