Technology holds enormous potential to amplify good teaching practices, reduce workload and accelerate outcomes for children and young people. Technology should enhance, and not simply replace, existing practice which is why the department published 'Realising the potential of technology in education: A strategy for education providers and the technology sector' in April 2019.
Additional funding has been set aside to progress effective and meaningful uptake of EdTech in schools and colleges by improving research and innovation on the ways in which technology can make an impact on pupil attainment and teacher workload, stimulating a UK EdTech sector to provide proven and high quality products that meets the needs of teachers and leaders and strengthening the digital infrastructure in schools and colleges. Underpinning this approach is an offer of enhanced professional development, to ensure school and college leaders are not only equipped to make effective procurement decisions, but also have the right capabilities to use the technology available to them effectively.
The department has delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts for children who would not otherwise have access, as part of over £100 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care while schools were closed to the majority of pupils. This investment also includes working with the major telecommunications companies and mobile network operators to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families through access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots for children and young people, an offer currently being piloted which will be rolled out across England in the coming months. The department has also been working with Google and Microsoft to build the Platform Provisioning programme that gives schools a safe online platform to manage and deliver education.
To ensure schools, colleges and their students can capitalise on this investment, the department also launched the EdTech Demonstrator Programme, a peer to peer professional development offer led by educators skilled in their use of EdTech.