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EdTech became an unofficial ‘emergency service’ – Lessons from Lockdown

Damian Hinds, MP and Chair of the EdTech APPG

The inaugural report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education Technology (@EdTechAPPGLessons from Lockdown: what we learned about Education Technology in 2020 is published today (11 Mar).

Damian Hinds, MP and Chair of the EdTech APPG observes:

EdTech had been growing dramatically for some time, but the pandemic brought a step-change in deployment…it is important that we consider, in this formative moment, the ‘Lessons from Lockdown.’”

The challenges for making up lost ground, re-narrowing the attainment gap and supporting young people with their mental and physical health and well-being, will need sustained attention and resource.

Caroline Wright, Director General of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) notes:

EdTech became an unofficial ‘emergency service’ supporting school-home communications. The industry looks forward to working together with Parliamentarians, policy-makers and practitioners to deliver an EdTech offer that will be fit for the post-pandemic needs of pupils and young people.

Key findings include:

  • The use of EdTech in schools should be holistic, covering all key areas of pupil development. For example, it should be used to strengthen the provision of pastoral support.
  • The Department for Education’s laptop and tablet procurement programme should not end with the reopening of schools. It should morph into a longer-term programme that works towards the ambition of ensuring that all pupils can access secure devices and the appropriate learning software.
  • EdTech has great potential to ease the workloads of school leaders and teachers. Schools should continue (or take up) using systems that support teachers with lesson planning, marking and data analysis.
  • Education settings and other community spaces where learning takes place should be prioritised for infrastructural upgrades to broadband, and all education platforms should benefit from being zero-rated by data providers.
  • Given the changed context, the Department for Education should build on its 2019 EdTech Strategy by developing an EdTech sector deal to improve the functioning of the industry’s ecosystem and ensure it better serves all stakeholders.

The #EdTech APPG was founded in September 2020, with BESA providing secretariat support. The Group is chaired by Damian Hinds MP who works alongside Vice Chairs Baroness Hooper, Baroness Morris of Yardley, Lord Knight of Weymouth, Lord Willetts, Lord Lucas, Christian Wakeford MP, Chris Skidmore MP, Conor Burns MP, and Kevin Brennan MP.

Since it was established the APPG has held several expert panel discussions and overseen a Call for Evidence into which remote learning technologies and practices proved effective during lockdown. The findings of this research have shaped the ‘Lessons from Lockdown’ report.

The APPG is grateful to the teachers, schools, experts and tech providers who submitted evidence and help shaped the findings of the report.

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