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Building a national edtech strategy from the ground up

Edtech is now firmly on the political agenda.

This is partly because we’ve been listening to your challenges and experiences – and we’ve taken what we’ve learned to help influence the Department for Education’s new edtech strategy, launched this spring.

Bringing your voices to bear on a strategy that will help to shape our communities for the future is a positive step forward. It’s hard to know what the future holds but as technology keeps changing the world around us, it’s even more important to work together so we can keep up with the fourth industrial revolution.

Supporting the education community in England, the new strategy aims to develop and use technology to tackle the big challenges and opportunities you face – from reducing your workload and supporting inclusion to making sure you can access fresh and innovative edtech products to meet your needs.

To support these aims, the strategy focuses on several key themes. What do they mean for you and your organisation – and how we can support you?

Powering you to achieve more

As a Jisc member, you already benefit from the unrivalled connectivity of the Janet Network but what if you could do more?

The strategy commits the government to supporting Jisc in the years ahead to make sure the Janet Network remains world-class and continues to meet your needs. It will enable you to be more innovative with your digital infrastructure and support you to make the most of the opportunities available from the latest technologies.

Tim Blake, head of IT at Strode College, tells us what reliable connectivity means to the college:

Tim Blake
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Tim Blake

“Our lecturers run their classes using technology, constantly accessing resources from the web, whether it’s video or research material. Reliable connectivity is vital to delivering our teaching and learning. The connectivity just can’t fail. It’s a core part of how we deliver learning.”

Protecting your staff, students and systems

As we’re using technology more widely in education, protecting your institution from potential cyber attacks is paramount.

At Jisc we continually monitor and resolve security incidents on the Janet Network. With experts on hand to provide technical advice and on-the-ground support, you can be sure that you’re helping to keep your students, staff and systems safe.

George Wraith, head of ICT at New College Durham, explains why cyber security protection is vital:

George Wraith
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George Wraith

“Cyber security is very much in the forefront of everybody’s radar at the minute. If we were to lose our connection because of an attack, the effect on the college would be massive.”

Negotiating to save you time and money

Procuring digital resources and digital technology can be challenging. We work on your behalf to procure and license high-quality digital content from publishers so that you can save time and money. Negotiating with large suppliers such as Microsoft and Amazon, we aim to get you the best possible price and terms.

Audrey Stranders, head of learning resources at Havering College, tells us why this is important to her:

Audrey Stranders
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Audrey Stranders

“It saves us a huge amount of time because there’s no way I could spend hours and hours negotiating with all those different publishers and suppliers for those resources. I’d rather leave negotiating to the experts.”

Developing digital capability and skills

Knowing where to start when designing a digital strategy is a struggle but it’s crucial you ensure that your staff and students have the digital skills to use technology for teaching and learning.

We can work with you to realise the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls of a rapidly changing digital landscape, supporting your staff to develop their digital capabilities and, in turn, providing your students with access to the very best digital learning experiences.

Dr Ross Parry, associate professor and deputy pro-vice chancellor (digital) at the University of Leicester, talks about how his institution has approached its digital strategy:

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Dr Ross Parry

“For us it has been about creating together a clear vision of what we want to be, taking time to shape the narrative of what will get us there, and then – most of all – building trust in the community around the plan we have, and in the people, who will lead this change.”

Developing a dynamic edtech business sector

Developing digital solutions to meet your needs is a key part of the strategy. At Jisc, we partner with the most promising edtech start-ups. This aids product development, reduces risk and makes it easier for you to work on solutions with the most cutting-edge start-ups.

Realising the potential

This strategy is the first move towards using technology to transform our education community.

Simon Bowler, learning technologies and resources manager, Wiltshire College and University Centre says:

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Simon Bowler

“It is fantastic news for schools and colleges that the value of investing in and developing the use of technologies has been recognised. The framework will help develop clearer strategies and synergy across the sector which should see shared expertise and experience benefit everyone across the UK.”

Making an impact

Our proposals have had real impact on policymakers, driving positive change at a national level. This wouldn’t have been possible without you.

We look forward to building on this success together to make sure our communities have access to the digital technologies they need to learn, discover and thrive.