Digital Transformation 2020 September

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R A C O N T E U R . N E T 03 LE ARNING RESOURCES Share of UK parents who said their child had used the following learning resources at home between May 7 and June 7; only or eldest dependent child only /digital-transformation-2020-sep igital transformation in education has shifted from important to essential in the past few months. The coronavi- rus pandemic has brutally exposed the gap between the digital "haves" and the digital "have nots" in the UK education sector and many schools, colleges and universities have been left playing catch-up. "The Department for Education (Df E) estimated there were 10,000 schools in England that had limited or no remote-teaching and learn - ing capability," says David Bealing, managing director of AdEPT Education, which is helping schools urgently to rollout digital educa- tion platforms. "So, effectively from April onwards, you had millions of students who were potentially receiving no teaching at all." In a bid to address the problem and speed up digital transformation in education, the Df E has distrib- uted 200,000 laptops and tablets to schoolchildren from low-income homes, along with 4G wireless rout- ers to help boost internet access. During lockdown the recently estab- lished Oak National Academy, an online classroom and resource hub, has also provided schoolchildren with free video lessons covering a range of subjects. Additionally, schools have been offered financial support to set up on one of two free-to-use digital educa- tion platforms, G Suite for Education and Office 365 Education. Both are browser based and suitable for use on multiple devices. They consist of familiar applications, such as word processors, spreadsheets tools and collaborative elements, as well as education-specific features like vir- tual whiteboards, quizzes, lesson planning and assignment-setting tools and marking software. Crucially, digital education plat- forms also enable schools to broad- cast live lessons. But no matter what solution schools, colleges or univer- sities use to stream lessons or lec- tures, poor network connections can quickly ruin any attempt to teach. "As soon as you took away the kind of connectivity and resources you find on campus, it became a real chal- lenge to be able to connect and stay connected," says James Clay, head of higher education and student experi- ence at Jisc, a not-for-profit company which supports higher education and research institutions. In fact, only 63 per cent of further education students who took part in Jisc's student Digital Experience Insights Survey 2020 agreed their college enabled them to access online systems and services regard - less of location. Sarah Knight, head of data and digital capability at Jisc, says stu- dents also consistently report they are still experiencing technology in a transactional way. "In other words, staff are confident around setting assignments, placing work in a virtual-learning environment and encouraging students to access online resources. But they're not yet fully utilising and embedding tech - nology in a transformational way that is starting to change practice." As many teachers and learners have discovered recently, "Zoom fatigue" is also a very real phenomenon that needs to be accounted for when designing curriculums. "You need to design an effective online curric- ulum or blended curriculum that takes advantage of the technology and opportunities it offers, but like- wise doesn't just bombard people with screentime that actually results in a negative impact on their wellbe- ing," says Clay. Once students return to schools and campuses, they may find the physical environment has changed to better accommodate the technol- ogies needed for digital transforma- tion in education post-COVID-19. For instance, Nick Shea, sales director at AdEPT Education, says his company is working with schools and colleges to install cameras that will facilitate lesson-steaming. "You used to have whiteboards with a data projector in the ceiling," he explains. "Where that data projec - tor would have gone, we're instead putting in a camera that can be used to stream lessons to an audience that isn't actually in the room." This could help with social distancing on campus. "You might not be able to seat 30 students together in a class," he adds, "but the teacher might be able to teach the same lesson to 15 students in one room and stream it live to the other 15 in another room." Virtual reality may also come into its own in a world of restricted travel, allowing for virtual tours of muse - ums, galleries and historical sites, while also helping to democratise access to them. Along with aug- mented reality, this kind of technol- ogy enables teachers to shift from "what is essentially fairly static teaching and learning – text that is still, images that are still – to more dynamic ways of thinking and learn- ing about things", says Dr Alison Clark-Wilson, a former secondary school mathematics teacher who now works as a principal research associate at the University College London Institute of Education. However, the warp-speed progress of digital transformation in educa- tion has also highlighted the need for greater support for educators when it comes to integrating new technol- ogies into their teaching. "It's chal- lenging to embrace these technolo- gies in a truly transformative way," says Clark-Wilson. "You have to hold teachers' hands, provide safe spaces to fail because they never had the experience of learning their subjects in today's environment." Looking further ahead, intelligent tutoring systems, which aim to pro- vide immediate and customised instruction or feedback to learners, usually without requiring interven- tion from a human teacher, have generated a considerable buzz in recent years. However, Wayne Holmes, princi- pal researcher for education at Nesta, says the impact of artificial intelli- gence (AI) on the education sector has so far been generally disappoint- ing. "The focus has always been on how to build a tool that can teach as well as a teacher," he says. "But the reality is you can't, though you can build tools that give the appearance of doing that." As such, Holmes is far more inter- ested in AI tools that could help teachers to become "super teachers" rather than tools that attempt to do their job for them. As he points out, any technology is ultimately only as good as the teacher who's using it. "Teachers draw upon their peda- gogy expertise, their experience in the classroom, their knowledge of their domain and their passion for working with young people," Holmes concludes. "All these elements have to come together; technology is just a really useful tool." Schools embrace digital push DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION @raconteur /raconteur.net @raconteur_london The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in education, but how can the public sector ensure everyone benefits? Duncan Jefferies Journalist and copy writer, covering digital culture, tech and innovation, writing for The Guardian and Independent Voices. Rosalyn Page Award-winning journalist covering tech, marketing and business, with stories in Which, HomeWork, CMO, Choice and others. Oliver Pickup Award-winning journalist, specialising in tech, business and sport, and contributing to a wide range of publications. Heather Richardson Journalist writing for the BBC, The Guardian, The Times and others. Jonathan Weinberg Journalist, writer and media consultant/trainer specialising in tech, business, social impact and the future of work and society. Distributed in Duncan Jefferies Published in association with Contributors Although this publication is funded through advertising and sponsorship, all editorial is without bias and sponsored features are clearly labelled. For an upcoming schedule, partnership inquiries or feedback, please call +44 (0)20 3877 3800 or email info@raconteur.net Raconteur is a leading publisher of special-interest content and research. Its publications and articles cover a wide range of topics, including business, finance, sustainability, healthcare, lifestyle and technology. Raconteur special reports are published exclusively in The Times and The Sunday Times as well as online at raconteur.net The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources the Proprietors believe to be correct. However, no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior consent of the Publisher. © Raconteur Media raconteur.net Justin Paget/Getty Images D Office for National Statistics 2020 5 to 10 11-15 16-18 E D U C A T I O N Publishing manager James Studdert-Kennedy Deputy editor Francesca Cassidy Head of production Hannah Smallman Design Sara Gelfgren Kellie Jerrard Harry Lewis-Irlam Celina Lucey Colm McDermott Samuele Motta Jack Woolrich Art director Joanna Bird Associate editor Peter Archer Managing editor Benjamin Chiou Digital content executive Taryn Brickner Design director Tim Whitlock 13% 28% 44%

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