EdTech programme to support schools during Covid-19 lockdown

12th May 2020

A Department for Education (DfE) programme to transform technology in education – jointly run by Sheffield Hallam University and other education partners – will now focus on supporting schools and colleges during the Covid-19 lockdown.

he DfE EdTech Demonstrator programme was originally set-up in late 2019 as part of the EdTech Strategy in England. The programme aims to provide schools with support in using educational technology applications, from classroom teaching tools to managing complicated data across multi-school trusts.

The programme, which is being led by education technology charity, London Grid for Learning, the Education Foundation, and Sheffield Hallam’s Institute of Education (SIoE), has undergone rapid changes in recent weeks as it adapts to best support schools and colleges during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The spread of Covid-19 in the UK and school closures have prompted a rethink and change of priorities to ensure that education practitioners have the resources they need to support remote learning as efficiently and successfully as possible.

The SIoE is adding a further element to the programme with the development of an integrated evaluation process, to assess how well it is working.

The DfE announced last week that the original 20 ‘demonstrator’ schools, each of which are set to receive between £70,000 and £150,000 in grant funding to support the delivery of the programme, will be joined by a further 20 to increase the programme’s capacity. These are schools that have shown a high level of expertise in specific areas of EdTech and will act as hubs for sharing resources and best practice in their area.

Sean Cavan, head of business engagement at SIoE, said:

“The DfE has been working with us to rapidly refocus this project. It’s about how the demonstrator schools can be supported through this process and publicising that they are available as a resource for others to look to.

“The demonstrator schools have a track record of looking at EdTech, seeing how it can be used, building an infrastructure and, most importantly, having a pedagogical approach that works. We are facilitating the links between the schools that need it and those that can offer it.”

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