The Bett UK Advisory Board: 2022 in review

02 Dec 2022
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The Bett UK Advisory Board: 2022 in review

 

This year we’ve watched the education sector begin to take steps towards recovery after more than two years of disrupted learning. While the impacts of COVID-19 can still be felt in schools, colleges and universities across the UK and globally, the EdTech community has witnessed some incredible innovations developed in response to the challenges affecting the sector since 2020.

To reflect on 2022, we asked the Bett UK Advisory Board to think about what changes they have observed in education since the start of the year, what their key highlights have been, and what they are looking forward to for 2023.

 

What has changed about the education sector and our use of EdTech since 2021?

Rachel James

“The obvious impact is COVID-19 and the impact that this has had on students missing out on education and having gaps in their learning. Sadly, this is something that will impact education for a few years to come. However, we’ve also seen positives in teachers embracing technology. It’s meant our teachers take more risks on what they use - and even the most apprehensive staff have used technology more.”

Rachel James, Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning, Barnsley College

 

“The focus on sustainability within education; driven partly by the pupils and students as well as schools and colleges developing strategies to meet carbon neutral goals, has been the biggest change for me. There’s also an increasing shift to putting technology into the hands of teachers to enable them to be more flexible in how they teach inside and outside of the classroom. I think we are finally at a point where the technology, cloud solutions and staff skills will properly allow school staff to leverage the power technology can bring.”

James Garnett, Director of IT, United Learning

James.G

 

Corinne

“The use of educational technology was integral to home learning during the pandemic. Now, we’re seeing digital strategy as an integral part of whole-school planning, which is a huge achievement. Teachers are more innovative and creative thinking about how they can use technology to reduce workload and make lessons more engaging.”

Corinne Latham, Principal, Seaview Primary School

 

“Teachers and lecturers are being adventurous in trialling new methods of teaching and using a wide range of digital tools. External factors and challenges have meant we have had to be more innovative than ever to work within the current landscape, and some are introducing more blended learning to make learning more accessible to students who have other commitments such as caring responsibilities or work commitments.”

Amy Hollier, Director of Blended and Online Learning, Blended Learning Consortium and Heart of Worcestershire College

Amy

 

Graeme

“In our partnerships team, we have seen a huge change in schools’ ability to take part in activities, with the cost of living rising and the cost of resources going through the roof. However, schools that are able to go further have been working in AR and VR and we are seeing a lot of interest in online training for both students and staff with the recent statistics released showing how our younger generations are using the internet and social media.”

Graeme Lawrie MBE, Director of Partnerships, ACS International Schools

 

“Schools seem to have moved from a post-pandemic response mode to ways of working that feel more permanent. There is now an opportunity to embed digital strategy again as opposed to adapting to a constantly shifting remote learning environment. You can see clearly where certain schools have embraced the lessons learned from the past two years and are now using it as a catalyst to develop a robust and sustainable digital strategy.”

Emma Darcy, Director of Technology for Learning, Denbigh High School and Chiltern Learning Trust

Emma Darcy

 

Alex

“Blended learning is becoming more mainstream, meaning we are now delivering this at scale. We have seen technology providers adapting their solutions to cater for a combination of on-campus and remote delivery, whilst our own pedagogy practice has evolved.”

Alex Denley, Director of Innovation and Transformation, London South Bank University

 

“During the cost of living and financial crisis and the subsequent impact on schools, the education sector has demonstrated astute creativity, flexibility, and intelligence in the use of technology and resources to adapt to these challenges - cost-effective, saving strategies, building on lessons learned post-pandemic and with considerations to sustainability and climate change global priorities.”

Katy Potts, Computing and e-safety Lead for Children’s Series, Islington Council Laycock PDC

Katy

 

Fil

“There is an increased understanding in the specialist sector of the need for a digital-first approach. Accessible, digital resources can be adapted for learner’s individual requirements. Developing these has required going back to the basics of document and resource creation alongside tools already built-into software.”

Fil McIntyre, Manager and Assistive Technology Lead, TechAbility/Natspec

 

What is the most innovative, inspiring or exciting project or initiative you’ve seen this year?

“At my college, Barnsley College, we have been working on a community-based project - Discover Digital. We’ve used it to engage our teachers in the benefits and alternative uses of digital technology, however, this has spun off into other areas of practice - such as our excellent Esports provision. Additionally, the work we have been doing has inspired people across our community to engage in digital technology with the college. We’ve had over 1,000 primary school children attend our digital schoolhouse work and had Age UK introduce members of their ‘forever young’ society to digital technology. The highlight of this was undoubtably introducing 102-year-old Edith to VR. It blew her mind!”

Rachel James, Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning, Barnsley College

Rachel James

 

James.G

“The most exciting and inspiring project is United Learning’s ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030 and my role in embedding sustainability into our digital strategy and procurement processes. I am also inspired by the work other Academy Trusts are doing in this area and their passion for sustainability. This is crossing over in my role as Trustee for Sheffield Theatres Trust, who are also planning ambitious goals for sustainability.”

James Garnett, Director of IT, United Learning

 

“It is hard to name just one project or example. We have seen colleges using tech in a number of different ways to capture more authentic assessment opportunities for example one college is using wearable tech to capture live practical work and upload into a digital portfolio. Another college is using VR to help school leavers transition into further education. The use of haptic suits are also marking exciting developments in vocational education being used in a variety of ways across courses such as sports and fitness and health and social care.”

Amy Hollier, Director of Blended and Online Learning, Blended Learning Consortium and Heart of Worcestershire College

Amy

 

Graeme

“We hosted our free event at Thorpe Park in October this year. We invited 10,000 children to the event alongside some amazing partners like the Royal Philharmonic, Mercedes F1, Intel and others.  More information about this event can be seen here.”

Graeme Lawrie MBE, Director of Partnerships, ACS International Schools

 

“I am hugely inspired by the increasing number of initiatives that allow students to combat climate anxiety by designing and creating practical digital solutions. The Apps For Good Climate Change Programme and Evo Hannan’s Design4SDGs Challenge are excellent examples of this.”

Emma Darcy, Director of Technology for Learning, Denbigh High School and Chiltern Learning Trust

Emma Darcy

 

Fil

“The Oaks, a specialist college in Tonbridge have transformed their use of technology by embracing mobile and BYOD (Bring your own device). The first step in accessible technology is ensuring learners are comfortable and engaged with the hardware they use. The Oaks have capitalised on this and also utilised software such as Microsoft Lens and Flipgrid to enable access to text, and to demonstrate learning via video.”

Fil McIntyre, Manager and Assistive Technology Lead, TechAbility/Natspec

 

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?

Rachel James

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how our Discover Digital packs are going to be used in our non-digital classrooms. The packs include tablets, oculus, VR headsets and WiFi projectors. These packs have been trialled to see how much people would use them during 2022 and the early usage data shows people have started to use them well, but we’re really driving forward with these. I’m really excited to reach the point when a member of staff approaches the digital learning team and ask for something new to be added into the packs because they have a great use for it.”

Rachel James, Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning, Barnsley College

 

“For me it has to be taking a group of Year 5 and Year 6 pupils (9-11 year-olds) to Dubai in February. For our little school in Co.Durham to be represented in this way and for the 24 pupils going to have this incredible experience is really something phenomenal. We were delighted to receive funding via the Comenius Project for a group of our pupils to visit a school in Dubai for a week at the end of February and I’m sure that how the school uses and integrates technology will be at the heart of our visit and will allow the partnership between the two schools to continue in the months and years ahead.”

Martin Bailey, Computing Subject Leader, Lanchester EP Primary School

Martin Bailey

 

Alex

“Education now understands the value in its technology more so than ever before, as it is the enablement to the future, and that its platforms, architecture and applications are required for modern pedagogy practice. I am really looking forward to undertaking analysis and reviewing the data within our digital platforms to see how students are engaging and how we can gain powerful insight to helping better graduate outcomes and improving student retention.”

Alex Denley, Director of Innovation and Transformation, London South Bank University

 

“Our outreach boxes continue to be popular.  We are looking to create two new resources in a fully digital online virtual course on ‘The Internet of Things’ and how to ‘Hack your life’ with new technologies. This year we are hoping to create a robot classroom, bringing students from all over the world into our world, giving opportunities for learning not previously available to those that attend.”

Graeme Lawrie MBE, Director of Partnerships, ACS International Schools

Graeme

 

Emma Darcy

“I hope to see schools developing their digital strategies in line with their Sustainability and School Improvement Plans. This would be a really exciting shift to a more future-focused way of working and would help schools to save money, be more eco-friendly and improve the quality of teaching and learning for their children.”

Emma Darcy, Director of Technology for Learning, Denbigh High School and Chiltern Learning Trust

 

“My audacious goal for 2023 is for all staff working in education to be aware of the impact assistive technologies can have for learners.”

Fil McIntyre, Manager and Assistive Technology Lead, TechAbility/Natspec

Fil

 

 

Special thanks to our UK Advisory Board for sharing their thoughts! We’d love to hear from you on what experiences you share in the above. Reach out to us on @Bett_Show with your key highlights and what you’re looking forward to in the new year!

Bett returns to the ExCeL London on 29-31 March 2023, bringing the education community together to learn, network and trade. Get your ticket here!

 

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