AND Digital’s Education forum: shaping the role of tech in education together
23 November 2021 • 2 min read
AND Digital has been the Department for Education’s northern pipeline partner since August 2020, during which time we’ve delivered 14 separate projects, 2 of which are live: Early Careers Payments and Early Years Reforms. As we continue to work with DfE, we want to be the best partner we can, bringing more to the table and making the most of this opportunity to have a significant impact on the future of education in this country.
Within AND we have a lot of people with direct experience in Education in a variety of capacities (see below) who are passionate about this sector. We created our education forum as a way to tap into the knowledge, insights and networks of this very passionate group.
October education roundtable
We held our first roundtable in October to explore ideas that could have a positive impact on schools/institutions, the DfE or the education sector generally. There were a small group of people present, comprising a mix of former teachers, former and current school governors, a board member of a multi-academy trust, education and policy researchers and specialists in ed tech.
AND Digital’s CEO Paramjit Uppal was also in attendance. His role as a school governor alongside his experience in the technology industry made him a particularly valuable person to contribute to these important conversations.
Evolving education to meet the needs of today's digital economy
Our roundtable discussion focused primarily on the argument that education needs to evolve to meet the needs of the modern workforce. The group agreed that technology can play a role in making this happen.
This approach could help tackle a number of pressing issues in the sector. This includes teacher workloads and well-being, where technology could help ease the burden. Things like on-device learning or automated marking, could be extremely helpful.
Ex-teachers also suggested that gamification might be an effective tool for increasing student engagement - however, this requires schools to have appropriate technology in place, and needs to be aligned to curriculum goals.
The conversation wasn’t simply about challenges. Also discussed was the opportunity to inspire and upskill students in tech and digital. It was suggested that as well as upskilling students, teachers could be as well - however, whether adding additional responsibilities on teachers at a time of overwork and decreasing salaries needs to be considered.
Inequality and access
The conversation also covered digital inequality and access, with attendees noting their feeling that children from disadvantaged backgrounds can have a less positive view of technology careers due to a lack of role modelling. The reasons for this are complex and multifaceted, but improving awareness and spotlighting the wealth of options would be an important step forward.
The wider technology industry can also do more to inspire children and make it easier for them to navigate a career in the industry. Initiatives like summer programmes and work experience are important if the industry is going to play its part. However, it’s important to remain aware of structural inequalities and issues around access - initiatives need to be designed for inclusivity; they shouldn’t reproduce and entrench existing social disparities.
Talk to us about our work in education and the wider public sector.