EdExec spoke to two leading tech companies to see how they think technology can help assist learning during these difficult times
James Jepson – ViewSonic Europe
“The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the world – and the UK education system has felt the full force of the outbreak. The one thing schools and educators have been crying out for, in recent months, is clarity – and they finally have it, with confirmation that the new academic year will start in September.
“But with local lockdowns a real possibility in the event of a second spike, we need to spend this time preparing schools and students for this new, post-coronavirus world. We cannot afford to have the education of millions of children interrupted again in the way it has been during lockdown – and this is where technology can help.
“Class sizes may be limited, but schools which have adopted a hybrid approach to teaching will be much more successful in retaining student engagement with the curriculum. When combined with cloud-based remote learning software, it means students who cannot attend in person can still engage with their teachers and peers, receive feedback on their work and continue their academic progress online.
“The ability to interact, and collaborate in groups, is vital for academic development, so we need to use technology to overcome the limitations the virus has placed on education. For those students attending lessons in person, bigger, interactive screens and portable devices can enable them to continue to collaborate and discuss classwork together, while also remaining socially distant.
“If we end up in a situation where some students are learning remotely, and others are back in the physical classroom, schools will continue to rely on live-streaming and video conferencing to maintain that interaction and daily structure – which is so important for all pupils – but especially younger ones.
“The use of technology does not replace face-to-face teaching but – when used effectively – it enhances the learning process for both students and teachers. Now is the time for us to work with educators to rethink how we teach the next generation and enable them to benefit from digital technology. “
Lotte Schepers – SMART Technologies
“We have all been forced to make many changes, and learn many new skills, during COVID-19, including how to wear a smart top at the same time as pyjama bottoms for a Zoom call! A key step along this steep learning curve is accepting the idea that we need to be ready for anything, as there is no guarantee we know what is coming next!
“However, one thing has been consistent, when quality teaching is combined with quality EdTech, outcomes are improved. As we return to school, deciding whether or not to preserve some of the practices we have learnt is key, and the route we do choose must ensure consistency, wherever the children and teachers are located.
“A consistent approach to hybrid teaching, where students can engage with the lesson either on an interactive display within the classroom or on their own device, is a new normal we need to plan for. SMART’s teaching and learning software not only offers this synchronous approach, but also supports asynchronous lessons.
“Many changes have happened, and will continue to happen, but if we are able to offer quality teaching that is both engaging and motivating for students and teachers, we will be prepared for whatever the next wave of education or ‘new normal’ throws at us.”