Through the EdTech R&D programme, we aim to support schools, colleges and remote learning EdTech providers to understand the needs of their learners in a remote context. Schools, colleges and EdTech providers will be supported to develop innovative new ways to meet the needs of learners facing a variety of disadvantages, from socioeconomic to special educational needs.
Participating schools, colleges and EdTech providers will receive financial support to cover staff and development costs along with specialist evaluation support and professional development. EdTech providers will receive funding to make developments to their products and implementation processes. Through a series of evaluation and development sprints EdTech providers will test and learn, using direct feedback from platforms, teachers, students and parents.
At the end of the process, findings from across the programme will be shared with schools, colleges, policymakers and the EdTech sector to help everyone better meet the needs of disadvantaged students.
Early reports from the Education Endowment Foundation suggested school closures are likely to have ‘reversed progress made to close the gap in the last decade since 2011’, with median estimate indicating a 36 per cent widening and with the role of technology understood to be a key contributing factor.
As schools and colleges have developed strategies for continuing learning at home as a result of COVID-19, we have seen a huge increase in the adoption of remote learning tools, such as those in the EdTech Innovation portfolio. Increased reliance on EdTech has emphasised the disparity in digital access across students in England, which could lead to a widening of the attainment gap between the most and least advantaged students.
Research suggests that EdTech tools can benefit disadvantaged students in a number of ways, including providing more personalised and tailored learning, increasing student’s digital skills for the future and sharing richer insights about students’ learning. However, we know there are numerous barriers to overcome in equalising what EdTech offers, from the provision of devices to improved connectivity. There is also an urgent need for innovation in the ways tools are used by schools to support remote learning strategies and how they can be used and adapted for different contexts and students. The EdTech R&D programme aims to develop and evaluate innovative ways that schools, colleges and remote learning providers can better utilise EdTech to meet the needs of disadvantaged students, and share these learnings with the wider sector.
Participating schools and colleges will receive:
- Data-driven insights on what does and does not work when it comes to supporting their disadvantaged students using technology;
- Specialist evaluation support and professional development for staff on how to use existing technology for remote teaching and beyond;
- Financial support for staff cover;
- Targeted recommendations on how to better utilise EdTech tools to support their disadvantaged students.
Edtech companies will receive:
- Funding to support product development and team participation in the programme;
- Insights and feedback from teachers, students and parents to help develop products based on user needs;
- Targeted recommendations on how to develop their products to better support their disadvantaged students;
- Evaluation support to help build their evidence base.
EdTech providers who are already part of the EdTech Innovation Programme and whose products support remote learning have been invited to apply to the EdTech R&D Programme.
This call is open to existing EdTech Innovation Grantees and successful applicants to the EdTech Innovation Testbed. If you wish to get in touch about other areas of the programme, please email [email protected].