At the British Education Suppliers Association, which represents hundreds of the UK’s leading edtech companies, we’re delighted to see the respect in which the UK’s edtech offering is held across the globe.
Interest in the edtech successes of UK schools and industry continues to grow internationally, with the world’s biggest edtech event, the Bett Show, taking place in London each year and attracting 10,000 visitors from overseas.
It’s thus pleasing to see that the DfE has decided to champion edtech in schools throughout England, following the announcement this summer of an ‘overarching vision’ for education technology by the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds.
We’re delighted that the DfE’s plans place teacher training and support at the very centre of its future approach to edtech. As Hinds says, technology can be used in classrooms in ‘revolutionary ways’ – allowing, for example, students to remotely explore rainforests or programme robots. We welcome the vision for edtech that the DfE has set out, because if realised, it could have a groundbreaking impact upon its implementation worldwide.
BESA is therefore proud to state that we’re working in partnership with the DfE on delivering two of the key projects announced by the Secretary of State.
First, BESA will be jointly running a series of free events across each of the English regions during 2018/19. These one-day LearnED conferences are aimed at headteachers and SLTs and will aim to inspire and inform school decision-makers through peer-to-peer panel discussions, while also affording opportunities to hear from DfE keynote speakers about how edtech can be effectively used to improve teaching and learning outcomes, facilitate assessment, and support whole school leadership and management.
Delegates will further get to experience some of the best edtech solutions in action inside a ‘BESA edtech showcase classroom’, that will be on show at each of the regional conferences.
Alongside the LearnEd roadshows, BESA is also launching a new online lending portal with backing from the DfE called LendEd, which is designed to act as an online marketplace, matching teachers with items of edtech that will make a difference in their school. Due go live later in the 2018/19 academic year, the initiative will be flagged and promoted via the DfE to teachers and schools.
By signposting trusted suppliers that are full BESA members via the portal, the DfE will be able to help schools better understand the importance of taking into consideration quality marks such as BESA’s own Code of Practice and other markers of quality when choosing educational products and services.
The first LearnED roadshow will take place at the AESSEAL New York Stadium in Rotherham on Thursday 29 November 2018, followed by further events in Newcastle, Cambridge, Manchester, Coventry, Maidstone, Bristol and Reading, up until June 2019. For more details, visit learned.org.uk.
Mark Rosser is communications and website manager at BESA.