UK schools and universities could be the most connected institutions in Europe, harnessing data that is shared and open and producing the kinds of tech talent that the country and its businesses so desperately need, one of the UK’s leading education technology bodies says. With the launch of the government’s industrial strategy it’s timely stuff.
EdtechUK, the strategic body set up by the Education Foundation to help accelerate UK education and learning technology sector growth, sets out five key priorities in its Edtech Vision 2020 report.
The publication coincides with the launch by the government of its new post-Brexit industrial strategy, as well as with Bett, the major edtech show happening this week in London.
The report points says education technology is one of the fastest-growing digital sectors in Britain, with over 1,000 companies working in clusters in London, the North West and North East and South Wales. It predicts a global value of the edtech economy of $220bn by 2020, within an education sector worth $5tn a year.
“The education technology sector is already employing thousands of people but that could grow at a much more rapid rate,” author and Edtech UK chief Ty Goddard says in the report. “The creative and digital economy is the fastest growing in the UK and the education technology sector needs to adopt similar ‘ecosystem developing’ programmes.
“As the market continues to evolve and different teaching and learning technologies are adopted at scale, the UK can be a global centre and create jobs and growth for the UK economy,” says Goddard. “Efficacy and impact are key across the system. We’ll need to focus on innovation, impact and working across government with collaboration, trust and imagination.”
“There’s a dynamic sector that are the engines of change, but we’ll all benefit from a policy landscape that supports their ambition and harnesses what works for our education nation.”
Edtech UK wants Vision 2020 to contribute to policy development and the growth of the UK education technology and hopes it will contribute to the work of the government’s wider industrial strategy “by focussing thinking and action on the next steps for what is a jewel of Britain’s digital economy.”
Edtech UK – Vision 2020
Access and infrastructure
Vision – for UK schools, colleges and universities to be the most connected institutions in Europe with an entitlement to a level of high speed infrastructure and connectivity to enable access to knowledge, resources and help bridge the digital divide that can disadvantage students and their families.
Vision – for UK edtech and the education sector to be the most open in terms of its application and use of data, including identifying ways that the National Pupil Database and other data sources can be made to be more useful so that they can be better used by startups, scale ups and the education institutions themselves to innovate.
Jobs and growth
Vision – for the size, scale and growth of the edtech sector to be baselined, measured and celebrated in an annual Edtech UK State of the Nation report.
Digital skills and talent
Vision – for the UK to continue to grow its role as a world leader in digital education and learning to maximise the potential of the developments in computing, curriculum and strategy taking place across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
What works and impact
Vision – for the edtech sector to take greater responsibility for measuring the impact of its tools, platforms and services and for sharing this emerging evidence base with education leaders, educators, parents and government. There are real edtech ‘areas of promise’ that will benefit our education nation.
Edtech Vision 2020 is available to download free.