Tech companies challenged to lead 'classroom revolution'
Tech companies have been challenged to launch an "education revolution" for schools, colleges and universities.
Education secretary Damian Hinds is calling on both UK tech start-ups and Silicon Valley giants to help tackle the five biggest issues facing schools and classroom teachers.
In some schools state-of-the-art technology is bringing education to life by helping children take virtual trips through the Amazon and control robots, while also slashing the time their teachers are spending on burdensome administrative tasks.
However, only a minority of schools and colleges are currently taking advantage of these opportunities, Hinds said.
"I've been fortunate enough to see technology being used in revolutionary ways," he added.
"Students are able to explore the rainforest, steer virtual ships or programme robots from their classroom, while teachers are able to access training, share best practice with colleagues and update parents on a pupil’s progress without being taken away from their main focus – teaching.
"Schools, colleges and universities have the power to choose the tech tools which are best for them and their budgets. But they cannot do this alone.
"It's only by forging a strong partnership between government, technology innovators and the education sector that there will be sustainable, focused solutions which will ultimately support and inspire the learners of today and tomorrow."
Shireland Collegiate Academy in Birmingham helps staff by reducing unnecessary burdens.
The school uses many apps and software packages to facilitate the day-to-day running of the school, saving their teachers "hours and hours of time".
Sir Mark Grundy, head teacher at Shireland Collegiate Academy, added: "At Shireland Collegiate Academy we have used technology to support staff, students and families for a number of years.
"We have supported many schools in replicating our processes, and having the interest and advocacy of the Department for Education around using technology for school improvement will make an enormous difference."
Over the autumn, the Department for Education will be closely with the Chartered College of Teaching, the British Educational Suppliers Association and other industry leaders as they develop online training packages, establish an online portal providing free software trials for schools and bring together industry and school leaders through a series of regional ‘demonstrator’ roadshows.