The evolution of technology has been the catalyst for some serious changes in the way we teach and learn.
For the further education (FE) sector, technology is at the heart of the curriculum, aiming to prepare learners for their future careers. So, how does the sector currently use technology? And is there more it could be doing?
Here, Carl Sheen, Head of Training and Product Development, discusses the way technology has changed the FE sector’s approach to education so far, and how the sector should best prepare for the emerging future edtech trends.
The student experience
At the forefront for any teacher or education provider is the importance of the student experience. In the current education sphere, technology is embedded within the curriculum to heighten, emphasise and improve the learning experience of every student.
One-way technology has facilitated this is the ability for teachers to provide an ‘all accessible’ experience for students. By using software and virtual learning environments (VLEs), teachers can share classroom material online, giving students the autonomy to access their work wherever and whenever they need to.
Also, using interactive technology in the classroom allows for teachers to plan interactive activities such as quizzes through learners’ personal devices. Not only is this fun and engaging for learners, but it gives teachers the opportunity to track progression and understanding.
If there’s a learner who perhaps isn’t quite getting the same answers as everyone else in the class, teachers can discreetly monitor and address this issue to prevent complete disengagement with a subject.
Providers and teachers also now recognise the need to differentiate learning. Students can learn in different ways. However, it can be difficult for teachers to tailor this learning for every student in the class, and for every lesson.
If teachers are doing this manually, it would mean setting multiple versions of each task several times a day! However, using tablet devices or interactive touchscreens can provide an array of opportunity for tasks to be tackled in different ways.
If a learner must present how they are learning skills in their work placement, some may wish to document this as a video while others might prefer to take images and write up their experience.
The future of technology in the FE Sector
Administrations often wish to save money and technology can be a great and efficient way to do this. Looking at the future of the FE sector and the role technology will play, many experts would like to see technology completely embedded within the wider structure of each provider.
Looking beyond the role of technology solely within teaching and learning, it can also prove a useful way for providers to collate, retain and distribute information saving money by streamlining these processes. Administrations often wish to save money and technology can be a great and efficient way to do this.
For example, when visitors attend a college for an open day, it’s important that their attendance is monitored. Technology provides this accountability and security, all streamlined in one place. What’s more, with the right software, visitors can sign in using a single entry device and their information is automatically captured in a simple process; an image can even be taken for additional security purposes.
Using technology within the classroom is now vital to encourage the development of key skills needed for the future. Students don’t just appreciate technology in the classroom, it is now becoming a necessity. Not only is it fun and engaging, but it provides learners with the ability to tailor their learning to what works best for them, anytime, anywhere.
The FE sector must go beyond the teaching and learning benefits of technology and ensure that it is used to streamline administrative tasks which therefore eases potential funding problems providing long-term benefits for all.
Carl Sheen, Head of Training and Product Development, Genee World
Copyright © 2018 FE News
About Genee World: A leading manufacturer of touchscreen technology and AV equipment including tablets, touch tables and visualisers, based in the UK. The company has an in-depth understanding of the education sector’s requirements and provides solutions tailored to any classroom environment. All equipment is rigorously researched, developed and tested to ensure its quality before it reaches the school. Genee World is international, distributing to over 80 companies worldwide.