The ed-tech strategy: A great leap backwards?

The government has finally launched its long-promised strategy for the future of educational technology. Bob Harrison looks at the ‘critical welcome’ it has received...

The Department for Education (DfE) published Realising the potential of technology in education just as teachers broke up for Easter and it was immediately under fire – a “great leap backwards” according to influential ICT educator Tony Parkin (2019).

The critical “welcome” it received was typified by the Open University’s professor of education Peter Twining, who spoke at the strategy’s first real public airing, a Westminster Education Forum (WEF) seminar last month: “I was optimistic – until I read it,” he said.

He delivered a withering comparison between the strategy and its forebear, created by the Education Technology Action Group (Etag), the independent advisory group set up by ministers in 2014. He demonstrated how the earlier Etag strategy intended changing education practice and was aimed at those who could change pedagogy, curriculum and assessment regimes, whereas the new one merely supports current practice with no focus on the change required to realise the full potential of ed-tech.

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