Digital technology offers huge potential to transform how we deliver learning – and also comes with significant challenges.
In many cases the biggest inhibitor is not a lack of appetite from the workforce; if anything, our experiences at Jisc have shown that teaching staff at all levels are eager to take advantage of new tools and platforms – such as the many possibilities that wearable devices can offer.
Rather, the issue is one of resource, with limited time, money and expertise preventing institutions from properly grabbing hold of the opportunities presented to them.
Getting access to funding and guidance can make all the difference, so it’s with open arms that we welcome a new £1million learning technologies programme, called Learning Futures.
Commissioned and funded by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), Learning Futures is designed to inspire learning by enabling providers across the education and training sector to make effective use of technology.
Organisations and partnerships can apply by visiting the Learning Futures website to bid for up to £50,000, to develop ideas that will allow institutions to better understand what technologies are available and how to use them to improve learning experiences.
The programme will focus on the following two strands:
Harnessing existing innovative practice
This will create resources that help teachers develop their technology skills, and therefore their ability to apply them not only to their teaching, but also allowing them to pass their knowledge on to students.
There will also be resources developed for leaders and governors to help them make informed decisions about the technologies they choose in the first place.
Establishing a community of practice
The second part of the programme involves developing a network of staff from across the sector working together. The idea is to create a ‘sharing’ community where everyone is able to freely exchange resources, successes and failures.
This collaborative environment will set a good grounding to develop new ideas and drive innovations.
As well as receiving funding, the fact that some of education’s biggest names are getting behind the programme means that successful applicants will be able to access world leading advice and guidance to help them develop their ideas – vital for resource-short colleges.
Gazelle is responsible for delivering the programme working in partnership with a range of sector and industry organisations including us here at Jisc. We’ll be on hand throughout, working with ETF, Gazelle and others to ensure that individual projects are given best practice advice, have everything they need to reach their potential and making sure their impacts can be transferred to benefit everyone in further education.
Get your entries in
Before any of that happens, we need to select the successful bidders. Applications open on Tuesday 26 August and run until midday on Friday 26 September, so you’ve got one month to get your entries in.
If you’ve got any questions you can call Learning Futures helpline 01462 424 234 or email email@example.com. I’m also more than happy to help with any advice; you can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll also be keeping you up to date on how the programme progresses and publishing results of key projects as they come in – watch this space.