Minister of State, thank you for the personal commitment you have made personally to champion technology across schools and colleges and industry.
I agree with your sentiment that the future does looks bright for educational technology. The turn of a decade is always a time for taking stock. A century ago the then British Prime Minister David Lloyd George heralded a new era focused on “international peace, technology and children.”
Lloyd George’s hopes – announced as the Government launched the first educational radio broadcasts for schools – were overtaken by the tides of history. But the three cornerstones of his address, international collaboration, harnessing advances in technology, and the safety and education of our children remain admirable aspirations 100 years later and resonate strongly with your words this morning.
International collaboration has long been at the heart of the success of our UK EdTech sector. The Minister mentioned our honourable guests joining us from the Education World Forum. It is vital that we continue this cross pollination of ideas and knowledge exchange post-Brexit and I’m delighted that events like Bett and EWF will continue to provide the world’s educators with the opportunity to come together to collaborate and share EdTech expertise.
When Lloyd George announced that Government would harness technology to help aid education all that time ago in 1920 we saw the first wave of anti-tech sentiment. And disappointingly a century on teachers still cite the fear of using technology as a key reason for not using it.
However, we are well on the path towards helping teachers feel more confident in this area. As the Minister has flagged the EdTech Strategy focuses heavily on helping teachers receive the training and support to use technology effectively in their schools and colleges. As acting co-Chair of the Department for Education’s EdTech Leadership Group, I look forward to furthering the progress of these goals in the coming year.
The last of Lloyd George’s three cornerstones was that, any society worth its salt, would put the outcomes of children at the heart of policy. Our young people’s offline and online worlds are merging, the safeguards of the real world are not always applied in an online environment where information can be shared in an instant.
That’s why BESA continues to champion our industry Code of Practice – every company exhibiting here that bears the BESA kitemark on their stand has signed up to an industry quality-mark that ensures, integrity, transparency and openness, data security standards and safeguarding to protect our children and young people.
BESA’s efforts, along with the work of other quality and efficacy initiatives like the new EdTech Evidence Group, UCL’s Educate programme, LendEd, EdTech Impact and others, is helping industry work alongside educators to produce resources and services that truly reflect the needs of our teachers and collaboratively solve the problems and challenges faced by our schools and colleges every day.
So, as the Minister said the future looks bright. Together educators, industry and government let’s work together to make the 2020s the digital decade of internationalism, technology and most importantly children.
Minister, thank you for visiting today and officially opening Bett 2020. Together, Government, Industry, and Educators let’s help the 2020s deliver our aspirations to become the digital decade of internationalism, technology and most importantly children.