Driving Digital Strategy - our call to Government to help schools engage with digital learning

There’s no doubt that technology has the potential to revolutionise teaching and learning. We hear plenty of stories from teachers who have harnessed digital learning to deliver a better, more engaging experience. Whether it’s making great education more accessible to everyone with online programmes, or bringing multimedia content into the classroom to spark discussion and creativity, we all have our own successes to share.

But our work with teachers and education leaders across the UK has highlighted the need for more coherent guidance when it comes to buying and implementing technology. We know that that tech only delivers on its potential when it is purchased to fulfil concrete objectives, and when it's chosen by a knowledgeable and considered procurement team. And, to choose the right technology, from a raft of options and vendors, outside help is often needed.

At present there is no digital strategy laid out by the Government for education. Although there are a number of publications that refer to the role that technology can play in education, these documents together do not form a cohesive plan. And our customers tell us that they need help and guidance from Government to make sure that tech really delivers for their teachers, learners and schools.

So, during June and July this year, we embarked a nationwide series of consultations with schools - aimed at gaining a grassroots perspective on the challenges of implementing the right tools for digital learning in classrooms. Industry heavyweights such as the Department of Education Reform and FutureGov were also called upon for insight and guidance.

The result of these in-depth, country-wide, consultations is an instructive report, providing concrete guidance to Government representatives and educators. The report highlights five key areas where Government guidance is required for a successful digital strategy in schools:

-Simplifying a currently prohibitive procurement process

-Improving access to training on technology use

-Support for dealing with legacy equipment and services

-A requirement for technology provision in the Ofsted framework

-Reevaluate the way that progress in education is measured

However, our teacher consultations warned that grassroots change must be a catalyst for improving the way tech is used in the classroom, with government supporting this and offering a framework rather than dictating how schools should use technology.

It also showed the need to look to other countries for inspiration. While the UK as a whole lacks cohesion, Scotland has a clearer strategy. Scotland’s digital strategy offers instruction on developing educators’ skills and confidence in using technology - and helps ensure that that digital technology is central to curricula. Other territories like the Nordics benefit from a framework approach to procurement, which helps to remove the barriers for institutions implementing procuring education technology.

You can take a look at our full report and we’d love to hear what you think. How is your school using technology to power better learning experiences, and what sort of guidance do you think is needed from Government? Get in touch and help us further the conversation.

Keep learning,

Rachel Matthews
International Communications Director, Instructure