A government strategy launched today into how technology can be used to transform education has been welcomed by Jisc as a key contributor and collaborator.
The Education Technology Strategy – backed by £10m – seeks to bring together teachers, lecturers and education experts with edtech businesses to tackle challenges from reducing teachers’ workload to supporting access and inclusion through technology.
The strategy identifies barriers to the use of edtech, including a lack of a consistent use of technology in education and the need for a more modern infrastructure, with slow internet connections and outdated internal networking all too common.
As a key provider of technology to UK further and higher education organisations, Jisc is pleased that its role in supporting critical infrastructure is mentioned as the second of 19 key government commitments in the strategy – the DfE says it will “continue to support Jisc to provide full-fibre connections through its Janet Network to colleges and universities”.
The network, with its built-in cyber security measures, is vital to the sector, which the strategy acknowledges, along with the advice and guidance Jisc gives to FE and HE. Education providers are also encouraged to use Jisc’s key services, particularly the annual assessments of staff and student digital skills, while its work to negotiate deals on behalf of the sector to secure digital resources, software and other services is also highlighted.
Elsewhere, Jisc is keen to play a role in galvanising support for, and delivering the strategy’s wider aims, such as putting together a network of ‘demonstrator schools and colleges’ that will leverage the existing expertise in the sector and help to provide peer-to-peer support and training. Jisc already has experience in running competitions for edtech start-ups and supports the government’s plan to implement its own ‘challenges’ to increase business activity in this area.
Finally, the proposal for an EdTech Leadership Group comprising representatives across the education sector and industry is also one Jisc will seek to play an active role, as it looks towards the edtech of the future through its vision for an Education 4.0 – a response for the tertiary education sector to deliver to the fourth industrial revolution.
Paul Feldman, CEO of Jisc said:
“I believe that technology in all its forms is a vital resource that empowers our teachers and lecturers and helps our children to succeed. From addressing the simplest needs in the classroom to artificial intelligence and the internet of things, these rapidly evolving technologies are changing how we live, work and communicate and need to be reflected and deployed across our education ecosystem, at every stage of the lifelong learning journey.
“I welcome this bold strategy and look forward to Jisc collaborating with government, colleges and universities to further realise the benefits of technology, in transforming our fantastic education sector.”