Paul McKean is further education and skills customer advocate at Jisc

Anyone working in further education (FE) at the moment would agree that the sector is facing challenging times. Whatever the outcome of the forthcoming general election, most agree that cuts will continue. 

This pressure to economise, combined with the recent call to action for the Government to produce a cohesive digital agenda, outlined in the House of Lords report, highlights a sea change in how further education is delivered. The report concludes in no uncertain terms that we as a nation either keep pace with ever evolving digital technology, or risk falling behind.

Counting the cost

When it comes to justifying the cost of FE, its impact on the economy is often discussed, however unlike higher education, it is rarely measured.

One way to increase the impact of FE, and to make that impact more measurable, is to improve the use of digital technology in learning providers. FELTAG (the Further Education Technology Action Group) is a group that was set up by Matthew Hancock, minister of state for business and enterprise, in order to champion the use of digital technology in FE. The FELTAG recommendations are already likely to have sparked debate in the staff room, but its over-arching recommendation is clear: the use of digital technology in further education isn't optional.

The future with FELTAG

The FELTAG recommendations have been broadly met with enthusiasm, but in practical terms they also mean that many learning providers are rethinking their curriculum as a result. At Jisc, we're in a good position to help with this challenge.

For starters, there has been some confusion about the 'FELTAG 10%', but with the help of the Skills Funding Agency, we've been able to clarify that point here.

In fact, Jisc along with a number of sector bodies and agencies including AoC, NIACE, Natspec, ETF and others have outlined a number of measures that can help, from supporting colleges to collaborate in their curriculum design to building a pool of online resources for the sector. We've outlined six areas where we felt support was currently lacking for FE providers when it comes to FELTAG, and worked out how we can help.

DigiFest 2015

The FELTAG recommendations have created a sense of urgency for many. That's why we've dedicated a day of this year's Jisc Digital Festival, which is free to attend for Jisc's membership organisations, to FE and skills, celebrating technology innovation in the sector, encouraging collaboration between providers and offering advice and guidance on incorporating digital technology into the curriculum. The FE and skills focussed sessions will include debate around using IT and digital skills to enhance student employability and therefore help to make FE more measurable.

Attendees will hear first-hand from Google on how the further education community uses Google tools in a transformational way, and will gain valuable insight from experts in the field on the experiences and expectations of FE learners.

With cuts looming for the sector, sessions such as 'What does a digitally capable institution look like?' and 'Save money and consolidate data in one safe environment' will give providers an essential overview of the technology available that can not only improve student satisfaction but lower costs as well.

Another change the FE sector is facing is the increasing need to manage online safety. Delegates at the Digital Festival will have the opportunity to hear how Jisc is already helping providers in the sector to stay safe and secure online, as well as what more can be done.

There will also be exciting discussions and sessions on tools such as augmented reality and 3D technology. Further education providers will hear how they are being used to really engage students and enhance existing active based learning methods.

The future for FE?

Regardless of the outcome of the general election in May, it is certain that keeping up with digital innovation, particularly in the FE sector, will be on the next Government's agenda one way or another. The FELTAG recommendations might get a different name, but the content won't change significantly and so Jisc will continue to champion digital skills and technology in this sector. This will help colleges and other FE providers develop ways to use technology that will save money, while also delivering impact that will help people to understand the huge benefits the sector brings for students, the economy and the country as a whole.

Paul McKean is further education and skills customer advocate at Jisc, which provides digital solutions for UK education and research

Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

The Scale Factor: Bridge the Gap

Scale Space presents The Scale Factor event series in partnership with Imperial College Business School. In our inaugural episode, we address the...

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page