Deborah Millar, Group Director of Digital Learning Technologies, Grimsby Institute Group

From interactive whiteboards that aid language learning to virtual reality headsets that allow visual content to be delivered in a compelling way, technology has the potential to yield strong results in the classroom - and to make learning more accessible; helping ‘level the playing field’ for students with special educational needs.

And yet the benefits are far from universal.

Some teachers struggle to get the most out of classroom tech, meaning that schools, colleges and universities risk investing thousands of pounds in hi-tech apparatus that fails to deliver.

Even with the best will in the world, tech that’s designed to open up opportunities for all risks not meeting its potential when implemented without proper planning.

To overcome these barriers, we believe that tech needs to be bought with accessibility and pedagogical objectives in mind, not because it’s an ‘easier or cheaper’ way to deliver learning.

Technology for technology’s sake risks not only reducing the effectiveness of tech-based teaching and learning, but also widening the accessibility gap for SEND students.

Added to this is the requirement for educators to be properly trained in using technology to the fullest extent. We know that it’s not always easy to get to grips with a significant change in the classroom, and training and support is vital; many teachers don’t realise that the technology that they already have in their classroom can be used to enhance accessibility.

Microsoft Word, for example, has a built-in recording feature, which educators can use to record their lessons and make them available to their students online.

But first, let’s look at the positives.

When it comes to accessibility and offering parity of opportunity, technology has transformative potential in the classroom.

On of my favourite examples of this is a student I taught with ADHD, who had spent most of his school career struggling to keep up with his work.

He’d usually start his classes with 10 to 15 minutes of distraction, searching for books and pens or trying to find homework at the bottom of the bag; and by the time he’d settled down at his desk there wasn’t much time left to get stuck into the lesson.

Traditional methods of teaching weren’t working for him, so when he was tasked with making a poster he chose to do it on an online platform instead.

This meant there was no opportunity for it to get lost or forgotten, and crucially, his peers were able to give him immediate feedback which provided him with instant positive feedback.

The fact that this technology was available to him meant he could reach his full potential, and produce an excellent piece of work.

As well as being a specific benefit to students who have special educational needs, well implemented tech provides educators with an opportunity to be more flexible with their teaching.

Our VLE Canvas allows homework collection, resource collation and marking to be done centrally and easily, taking away a significant administrative burden. This leaves our teachers with more time to dedicate to teaching and learning, and more lesson resource available for the students that need the most support.

So tech can undoubtedly promote inclusion and offer greater accessibility, but it takes more than picking a product and signing a purchase order to make it happen. Teachers, students, management – and even industry partners – must understand how to harness the technology's power and use it to meet tangible and clear objectives.

There are implications for institutions who don't put accessibility at the core of what they do - and under the Equalities Act, students must be able to access the course content in every lesson, and can take legislative action against their institution if they can’t.

But beyond legal retributions, colleges recognise they have a duty to make compelling, engaging, and valuable education, available for all.

There’s a much documented skills shortage – where education isn’t delivering enough skilled candidates into industry. By giving every student the tools to access courses on their own terms, and ensure that those with individual needs catered for by the tech in their classroom – we will ensure that everybody has the opportunity to develop the skills required to meet their chosen industry’s requirements and end up with a fulfilling job.

Deborah Millar, Group Director of Digital Learning Technologies, Grimsby Institute Group

Copyright © 2018 FE News

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 4 hours 55 minutes ago

RT @_LauraVanessa: How would you encourage arts students to get into tech projects? #artistsontwitter #SkillsWorldLive
View Original Tweet

Solvendis added a new event 6 hours

Preparing for an Ofsted Inspection (Zoom Conferencing)

Many providers remain anxious about the introduction of the Education Inspection Framework and the changes which accompany its introduction....

  • Tuesday, 15 December 2020 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing

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