EDUCATE for Schools programme unveiled at the Bett Show

Artificial Intelligence, Education Sector, Ethics

The EDUCATE programme has unveiled its EDUCATE for Schools resource, during a keynote session at the Bett Show 2019.

A packed Bett Arena heard from Professor Rose Luckin, EDUCATE’s director and Gary Kynaston, the headteacher of Hammersmith Academy, in west London, who has worked with the programme’s researchers on piloting the scheme.

EDUCATE for Schools is a step-by-step guide that aims to help schools to find the right EdTech to suit their needs, acknowledging that technology increasingly becomes an integral part of teaching and learning.

Members of EDUCATE’s research team want to work with schools to make better purchasing decisions based on what learners really need.

Mr Kynaston said the pilot had helped him and his staff become better at asking some of the difficult questions about technology use.

He said educators needed a tool to help them because the EdTech world was a “minefield” and “a whole different language” for teachers who did not have that expertise.

“We asked ourselves what we’d got and whether it was something we need to continue to invest in, or whether we needed to look at other options,” Mr Kynaston said.

“You can come to a place like the Bett Show and it’s a candy store. But as a head teacher you have to stand back and empower your staff about efficacy. Teachers are always looking for the panacea, the big silver bullet, but we all know it doesn’t exist.

“It is about stepping back to test what it is that is happening within your school.”

Professor Luckin urged heads and teachers to ask challenging questions of EdTech developers about the efficacy of their products, to ensure they are not wasting their money, “It is important to empower educators to ask questions and to not be satisfied if they don’t get an answer they understand.

“If you are being asked to spend valuable resources from your school budget then you are entitled to know if it is going to meet your needs, and that is one of the steps in our process

“What works in one school does not necessarily work with another. There is a contextual factor and different schools need different resources.”

The session also included a discussion into some of the myths surrounding artificial intelligence, because this was an aspect of EdTech in which teachers often lacked knowledge.

Professor Luckin said teachers needed to become better educated about its uses, and that it must always be used to enhance teaching and learning, and to ease teacher workload, but not to replace teachers.

*For more information about EDUCATE for Schools please go to educate.london/competition for the duration of the Bett Show (Jan 23-26) and beyond that write to: educate@ucl.ac.uk.

 

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