Living in the technological age, teaching and learning is continuously evolving and adapting in line with new digital developments. But where will that see the education sector heading in a year’s time? Or five years’ time?

We speak to Dan Beale, Vice Principal of Quality & Student Experience at Havant & South Downs College (HSDC), who discusses his views on the future of teaching:

Embracing technology in 2019

Learners entering Further Education are now so inspired by their mobile phone and the use of technology. Think about that keenness to look at it when you get that tweet, text, Facebook notification, that dopamine release in the brain that makes you feel good. We are about embracing that technology and utilising that in the classroom.

We are strongly invested in digital innovation and so we are actively growing staff’s interest in exploring their digital skillset. We want every member of staff to be digitally savvy so that they feel very comfortable to embed it into their every day practice, with a view to inspiring our learners and helping them prepare for the modern workplace.

One of our key initiatives has been to create our Digital Design Studio. We have gained great coverage with all of our curriculum areas engaging with this outstanding resource. What that is achieving is the increase of technology within the classroom and the creation of high-quality resources. We are looking at pushing this further with the aim of every student becoming an expert with technology.

We really want to capture ‘learn anytime anywhere’, where studying isn’t just governed by the classroom. We work closely with our students to plan the Next Generation Learning Environments with microlearning and video, to assessing the merits of Virtual and Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence becoming the future of teaching and learning at the College.

Digital development and the Teacher’s Takeaway

We created the Teacher’s Takeaway, an online CPD platform through the Digital Design Studio. If a teacher is outstanding at something, we film them and ask them to showcase it for others to learn from. We are now working with five other Colleges who have collaborated with us and filmed their excellent teaching and learning, making it a great hub for everything teaching-based. It is our gift to the FE sector, it’s free for anyone to use.

Our aim is to have 20 Colleges by 2020 that are all feeding into it. We are aware that for teachers, the biggest challenge with CPD is time. This is a platform which you can access and develop your practice anytime, anywhere.

The Education Training Foundation supported the project, and because of that the Teacher’s Takeaway has been so successful. And on top of that we have been awarded the prestigious AoC Beacon Award for Digital Innovation. This is a great accolade and validates our current work to becoming a cutting-edge provider for teaching and learning.

The impact of T Levels

One of the biggest changes in the sector is the implementation of T Levels coming in and the strong focus on employability. We need to ensure that this is being developed in the classroom and asking: ‘are you making your subject sector-relevant for the industry students are going into?’. When a student starts with us, we are very keen to find out where they see their futures so we can support and tailor the study programme towards their destination.

We already work very well with employers to support the curriculum plan and delivery. We work with employers to look at the sectors and think ‘what do they need for young people to be successful in their business and how do we tailor our programme around empowering students to be successful in that profession?’

We don’t want our learners just leaving with a qualification, we want them leaving as a well-rounded employable individual who is confident, motivated and understands the industry they are going into.

HSDC as innovators in the education sector

Something I actively encourage all my staff to do is raise their profile in the sector and to therefore raise the profile of the College. What we have been very effective at in the past three years is collaborating with other providers, including universities, the Southern Universities Network (SUN) and the Education and Training Foundation.

This is our third year presenting at DigiFest. We have pitched to speak and present at the event where practioners from the sector come together to network and share ideas.

We have been selected because of the digital innovation we have shown already as a College - we have been regarded as real innovators, at the cutting edge with what we have been looking at doing. I am pleased to see that over the past few years we have really grown our presence in the sector. In addition, we have presented at the FE Festival of Skills and various prestigious events nationally.

The classroom of the future

We want to create a classroom for our students that is an inspiring environment they want to go into, as opposed to the static typical seating alignment you see in the standard classroom.

Looking into the future, we want to create a more fluid environment where students can talk through digital means and create these open forums of discussions.

We speak with our students regularly to establish what environment would inspire them so we can create their future, break down barriers and enable them to arrive at the destinations they have always dreamed of with all the necessary skills to make a real impact.

Dan Beale, Vice Principal of Quality & Student Experience at Havant & South Downs College (HSDC)

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