It’s a sign of the times that the fastest way to get the family together is to unplug the wifi. According to research by Gartner by 2020 there will be 20.4 billion devices connected to the internet.

This will be little surprise to those working in education, seeing students arrive with multiple devices expecting them all to connect seamlessly to the wifi and it has implications for the digital infrastructure of our Schools, Colleges and Universities. Students are certainly doing their bit to meet the Gartner projections.

When it comes to infrastructure, digital networks and connectivity are now as important as the bricks and the plumbing, and should clearly be granted the same status.

Stable and capable wifi is now an essential part of any organisation educating people, along with a robust wide area network. Without these foundations educators will find it increasingly difficult to grow and succeed. With stable and effective wifi comes new possibilities for collaborative learning and growth.

Fixed is the past. Flexible is the future.

 It is perhaps unreasonable to expect teachers to demonstrate innovative teaching practice and differentiated teaching styles if the computing equipment is fixed to a port in a wall around the edge of the classroom, a scenario very familiar to many educators and one hardly supportive of collaborative working. So if this is a familiar concept, it’s time to ensure the wifi is in place to enable mobile devices, and new approaches to teaching aligned to the commercial world, to be used.

As I travel around working with different educators across the UK and wider I get to see how some have approached this issue, and there is a clear emerging trend away from fixed computing ports that dictate where the computers must be, to flexible devices placed where the learning needs to be.

One institution I was visiting recently had a Chromebook trolley with a bank of the devices available for the students to use. They were ready to take, fully charged, and upon opening the students were learning ready in broadly five seconds.

The same devices, and approach, was also enabling a diversity of teaching practice to flourish, supporting engagement and success. Any Ofsted inspector would see, and appreciate, the same thing.


Wifi in Schools and Colleges is currently somewhat patchy. The British Education Suppliers Association has conducted a survey looking into wifi capacity and whilst it is currently often not fit for the future, the survey concluded that by 2020 most IT support staff thought it would be sufficient to cope.

Students expect to be able to learn anywhere, at any time and on a device of their choosing, or at least one that enables flexible collaborative working supplementary to the elements of education that need to be more structured. Some Schools and Colleges are now looking to explore how wifi reach can be extended way beyond the conventional boundaries of indoor learning spaces.

I recently observed a great example of this in a College where the wifi reach had extended across its land to support learning in its outdoor spaces, making much better use of it’s estate and freeing up limited classroom space. As the online learning environment being used worked on any device, the students could use their phones or any wider device at their disposal. This can make a lot of sense.

For example in a large College if each student has one mobile device in their possession, it’s likely that College has several million pounds of technology walking through its doors each day.

The question is, what is the institution doing to exploit that for the purposes of learning?

Signs saying put away your mobile phones can say a lot more about the characteristics of an institution than the students entering it.

1 mi3FwC1SrQ05BO0ZUxqSpg

Learning is also about to become personal.

As student records systems and associated online classroom spaces continue to evolve at speed, the learning process enabled by analytics technology and artificial intelligence, will increasingly become personalised.

Currently we are used to certain online spaces and facilities remembering us and our buying habits, but this personalisation is about to get dramatically more sophisticated and education providers should be asking how their systems support this.

Personalised tailored learning will resonate more with students, building engagement and enabling teaching and support staff to build differentiated learning plans and learner services better informed by data.


 As we move deeper into the 4th Industrial Revolution digital should be embedded within the curriculum planning process and this is another emerging trend in education. Digital literacy will need to be a default part of the education process, covering everything from how to stay safe online, how to develop an effective online profile along with covering wider issues relating to cyberbullying, fake news and wider.

I recently met with a colleague who works in a large College and he was describing to me how he was setting up a collaborative learning initiative with two other Colleges, spread out across the UK, using the cloud based online learning platform they use.

This was inspiring and a brilliant example of the art of the possible if we deploy the right technology in the right way. Learning is borderless now as technology removes space as a barrier. Again in thinking about curriculum planning, leaders should be questioning what this means for their future plans in preparing their students for life outside of the classroom.

 digital world1 1024x614

Many leaders in education are currently working on the digital highway they see ahead of them, and it’s essential that systems are easy to use and make life better. The best technologies are rarely complicated, at least for the end user.

I am often working with leaders planning their digital roadmaps and I continually find myself bringing people back to these basic principles. It seems that when it comes to technology we often like to over-complicate things. Borrowing a principle from the military, the KISS approach (keep it simple, stupid!) applies when it comes to technology.

2x2 4x4 5x5 rubiks cube

As the world of education systems transitions from the campus to the cloud, new themes will become embedded in our technology enabled learning strategies. Personalisation, automation, collaboration, analytics, AI, cloud, mobile and digital literacy will all feature heavily.

Reflecting on what it means to be a teacher, someone once said that the future of the world is in a classroom.

In thinking about the technology we deploy in our Schools and Colleges, we must be able to say the same.

Jamie E Smith, Executive Chairman, C-Learning

Copyright © 2018 FE News

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Westminster Forum Projects (WFP) added a new event 6 hours

Next steps for SEND provision in England - the SEND...

This conference will be an opportunity to discuss the future for SEND provision in England, following the expected publication of the Government’s...

  • Tuesday, 29 March 2022 09:00 AM
  • Online
Tina Morris has published a new article: Top Digital Solutions to Help Graduates Get Hired 7 hours 14 minutes ago

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 Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 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, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

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.


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.


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