Embracing tech to foster smarter learning in school
Schools in Wales are making effective use of technology, says Ty Goddard, CEO of the Education Foundation
Ivisited two schools last week that we’d selected to help launch a nationwide search for schools that use educational technology really effectively.
Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Edern, near Cardiff, and Holy Name Primary School, in Fishguard, were part of a 1,500-mile tour of the UK to help launch Edtech50 Schools. This is a UK initiative to find the 50 schools that are using education technology (edtech) to make the biggest difference to pupils, staff and parents.
Our visit to Bro Edern stood out because of the stunning work they have done using educational technology to create and develop hundreds of Welsh-language education resources.
Assistant headteacher Ceri Anwen James said: “We have embedded education technology across the curriculum. As the only Welsh-medium oneto-one iPad school, we are happy to be leading the way in using the latest technology to effective use in the classroom.
“There is a limited range of Welshmedium resources, so we have created countless innovative resources in Welsh for use in our classrooms, ensuring that our pupils get to benefit fully from using the latest technology through the medium of Welsh.”
Our second visit was to Holy Name Primary School in Fishguard. What was most impressive was its use of digital technology to help develop more collaborative working in school.
Headteacher Abbie Davis said: “We have used edtech to develop staff skills and systems ensuring maximum efficiency and high-quality collaborative working. Use of effective edtech systems allows staff to plan and work together, achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.
“Our aim is to enable the highest standards to be achieved in our school by all the pupils, ensuring they are ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives – confident to use technology effectively and creatively.”
At a time when schools face many challenges, using educational technology to work smartly can make a difference. With key subjects like English, maths and science, education technology can support teachers and help to inspire learners with classroom quizzes which help to personalise learning for pupils, augmented reality and enabling pupils to study and prepare out of hours.
It can help teachers save time in lesson-planning and help schools operate smoothly – for example, staying in touch with parents on snow days.
Holy Name Primary and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Edern are brilliant examples of good edtech use. But I know there are many more in Wales and I would urge school leaders, ICT leads and others involved in supporting edtech to nominate the schools that are showing real digital leadership.
To nominate a school that you know is leading the way in edtech, visit http://bit.ly/Edtech50
Entry deadline is Friday, January 18, 2019. Successful applicants will be announced in the Edtech 50 Schools publication in April 2019.