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Technology 'to free up time for pastoral care'

27/01/2014 Joanna
Technology is set to make teachers' lives easier and to help them meet the specific needs of individual children, according to skills minister Michael Hancock.

Innovations such as online marking are beginning to help teachers with the administrative side of their jobs, he claimed in a speech to the British Educational Training and Technology conference. 

He gave the example of a company called EdX, which has developed computer essay marking which is as accurate as human marking.

The content of Massive Online Open Courses can be altered in real time in order to provide more relevant, up-to-date material.

Additionally, education can be tailored to the needs of individual children using technology. Information on progress can be monitored and algorithms can be run which show how pupils adapt to new content and how they can learn more.

However, technology will not make teachers less important; it will make them more valuable. It will free up time for teachers to spend on pastoral care, encouraging and mentoring pupils - the most rewarding aspect of education jobs.

Mr Hancock argued against both "naysayers" and "utopians", claiming it is wrong to be fearful and dismissive of technological advances and wrong to believe technology can provide solutions to all of society's problems. Technology must be harnessed to address human needs, thus serving to improve standards.

He said the education sector could benefit from the adoption of technologies pioneered by the private sector, in a manner which mimics the phenomenon of 'convergence', whereby less developed countries benefit from the most cutting-edge technological advances.

Advances in big data analytics, virtual reality and augmented reality can all be used to help improve standards in education.

Britain is already at the cutting-edge of technological progress and its exports are worth £18 billion each year.

Government measures are already in place to encourage progress and implement reforms. The Small Business Research Initiative challenges small and medium-sized enterprises to help people with learning difficulties access education.

The skills minister announced the creation of an education technology action group to identify how technology can be used most effectively in schools, colleges and universities.

Posted by Theo FouldsADNFCR-2164-ID-801686556-ADNFCR
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