Ed Tech Demonstrator Programme 2020

The Ed Tech Demonstrator Schools and Colleges Programme includes a network of schools and colleges across England who exhibit effective practice in the use of technology. The programme was announced last year to boost peer-to-peer support on the effective use of technology and has now been tailored to help schools and colleges provide education remotely, following the outbreak of the pandemic.

It is powered by a national network of Demonstrator Schools and Colleges and supported by a consortium of Delivery Partners (LGfL being one alongside Sheffield Institute of Education and The Education Foundation (EF). 

The aim of the programme is to provide professional development, initially focussed on supporting the effective delivery of remote teaching practices to schools and colleges across the country and targets schools and colleges who are most in need of support; for example, those getting to grips with using a new online learning platform and those with the most disadvantaged learners. Once a school or college is paired with a Demonstrator School/College the two establishments decide on a programme of tailored support. The Demonstrator will offer advice, guidance and training including a mix of support through webinars, recorded content and peer to peer discussions.

At the end of the Summer Term 2020, two Think Tank events focused on sharing advice about Preparing for a Successful September start back for Schools and Colleges. These were chaired by the programme Regional Leads, and the events featured insights from the Demonstrator Schools and Colleges from their own preparations and offered advice for all settings. Key themes emerged from all three sessions:
  • The need to focus on teaching and learning and the appropriate use technology, is key in all contexts.
  • Contingency planning for September can be more effective when technology is effectively embedded into everyday teaching and learning.
  • Quantifying progress during lockdown is difficult but allowing a broad range of ways that students can express their own understanding helps.

In this Live Q&A session the London EdTech Demonstrator schools: Heronsgate Primary School, Shacklewell Primary School, Cheam Common Junior School and Reach Academy Feltham offered advice from London-based school leaders about their plans to fully reopen school after the summer holidays and how teaching and learning will be supported through the use of technology. Below is the event summary video but you can rewatch the whole Q&A session by visiting here, where you will also be able to watch the Live Q&A session the East of England Edtech Demonstrator schools.

During the East of England “Preparing for a Successful September” Think Tank Event, Kelly Edwards from Harlow College talked about keeping it simple to encourage confidence and engagement.

‘Many of us have been ‘Zoomed’ and ‘Teamed’ out this term! I’ve been on some webinars when I’ve come off and thought I am never going to get that hour back again! So, you must think about what CPD you’re delivering and how. Teachers are tough to train, so you must think about meeting their needs. I’ve learnt that it about short sessions where people want to try what you’ve just showed and shared with them; aim for ‘Purposeful Practice’ which relies on the member of staff being motivated and then nudging them to do what I need to do.’  

You may find it useful to read Digital Learning Cornwall’s “Ten Tips for Advancing Primary Schools Ed Tech and Online Learning for September 2020”. Click here.

Section 5 of the DfE guidance for the full opening of schools details how the DfE expects schools to have contingency plans in place for another outbreak of Covid-19, localised lockdowns, or thinking even further ahead, plans that could help cope with such as ‘snow days’ in the future. There are two think-tank events scheduled for early in September – one aimed at supporting Primary/EYFS and Special Schools but open to all and the other aimed at Further Education and secondary schools. These will bring together the Demonstrator Schools and Colleges of the North West region to build on their experiences of providing remote education, of learning and teaching through a lockdown and of supporting teachers, pupils and parents and the Demonstrator Schools and Colleges of the East Midlands region covering similar to the NW region but also covering the lessons learned from Leicester’s ‘localised lockdown’.

Whatever provision you have put in place already, these think-tanks will provide you with a chance to review, to reconsider, and if needs be, to revise. Sign up to these events or others by visiting here.

We will also be hosting an ‘Edtech Week’ during 9th to 14th November. This is currently a work in progress, but the agenda will be shared and you will be able to sign up by visiting here.

We know that a problem faced by many schools and colleges when faced with engagement in remote learning is a lack of suitable devices at home. Discovery Schools Academy Trust are running a workshop ‘Closing the Digital Divide‘ Webinar on Wednesday 23rd September 13:00 – 13:45 where they will be explaining how they are attempting to tackle this (from donation schemes to parent smart buy schemes) and will explore some of the challenges and unforeseen hurdles they needed to overcome.

Kriss Baird, London Regional Lead for the Ed Tech Demonstrator Programme stated, “In London, all four Demonstrator schools are working closely with school leaders to unpack, define, and help implement their school’s digital strategy for teaching and learning both in and out of the classroom. The Demonstrator schools help coach and mentor schools that need support with an understanding that while there may be uniform challenges that all education institutions  face, each place has its own nuanced needs and faculty with a range of skills levels and appetites to try new, and often disruptive, ways to deliver high quality teaching and learning. 

The programme is increasingly being approached by local authorities to provide support and advice on remote and blended learning, plus contingency planning for the Autumn term. London Borough Councils such as Enfield are developing their own guidance on education digital strategy and have established an Edtech Action Group constituting around a dozen or so senior leaders from schools in the local area. In this instance collaboration between boroughs and the Edtech Demonstrators programme is key. 

These primary and secondary school leaders are helping to pave the wave for nearly one hundred learning providers in their borough, helping develop thought leadership and strategic plans to introduce an updated offer for teacher-centric CPD, come September. 

Boroughs can collaborate with the Edtech Demonstrators Programme by working on joint communications and activities that reach the senior leaders at schools and colleges to get them involved. We can help the borough to define what Edtech guidance and offer they want to provide to learning providers, interpreting Government guidance and translating into a more practical understanding or a suite of services for educators that go beyond the remit of the EdTech Demonstrators Programme.”

Key figures for the programme to summer 2020 show that over 1250 schools and colleges have requested support (many of them requesting bespoke support) and over 700 are matched with a Demonstrator School/College. There have been almost 80 webinars held since the programme started and there are close to 150 guidance notes and recorded content accessible via the website. 

Other Useful Links/Articles on The Key:

Feature Comparison: G Suite for Education and Office 365 Education. Clisk here.

Schools and responsible bodies can apply for Department for Education-funded support to get set up on one of two free-to-use digital education platforms: G Suite for Education and Office 365 Education. Click here.

New to LGfL Schools this Autumn:

LEASING – LGfL will be offering schools leasing services to enable investment in IT for schools.
SUPER VALUE DEVICESLGfL is now offering Chromebook , Winbooks and Ipads (soon) to schools at amazing prices.
FILTERING FOR CHILDREN AT HOME – LGfL has launched a new service called HomeProtect that uses the same filtering at home as we use for schools.
SAFEGUARDING – LGfL is procuring a national solution for proactive monitoring that we will be offering schools next term.
CLOUDSQUAD – LGfL will be launching a service to support schools and IT companies who are moving to the cloud.

DON’T FORGET – You can claim your free licences from LGfL for anti-virus, malware protection, Adobe Creative Cloud, Neverware etc. We’ve provided 1.2 million free licences to our customers already!! Check out how much you’re saving with LGfL at https://savings.lgfl.net

Visit our new website at www.ngfl.net to find out more.

Please let us know what else you would like to see from LGfL by posting on LGfL’s Twitter or Facebook.