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Education technology within schools is anticipated to grow through 2019, however, it’s still not viewed as a mainstream requirement by many UK education authorities and commissioners. This is a great shame, as kids of today spend so much of their own time embracing all the new tech that hits the market. It’s quite likely that sophisticated students of all ages have already experienced technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), the latest updates to a variety of social media platforms and mobile gaming on smart devices. Yet also probable that none of these tech experiences were within the formal educational environment.
The World Economic Forum highlight that at least 50% of the worldwide workforce will need to utilise new digital skills over the next four years alone, so increased edtech is really essential for plugging this gap in the UK. The tech sector has been asked to get more involved in mainstream education by Damian Hinds, Secretary for Education.
Some of the ways schools are dealing with this gap in technology are discussed below. The introduction of the new computer science GCSE is one initiative that has already been taken, while greater links between the private sector and the classroom may also help increase the introduction of tech into schools. After all, the acquisition of useful digital skills involves far more than learning ICT. Of course, science subjects and ICT will be critical for cutting down the digital skills gap, but many more educational subjects help prepare students for the technologically advanced workplace. Major tech giants, like Google, now appreciate just how much impact workers with creative skills and languages can offer to the workplace. The STEAM education buzzword is increasingly popular within learning environments and relates to traditional STEM learning, with the additional input of humanities topics. This makes it vital to incorporate edtech into all subjects offered by the UK school curriculum.
It’s unlikely that the existing workplace skills gap will be solved in 2019, however, working to meet these challenges is critical for any educational establishment. And, this initiative should be pursued from primary schools right up to university and college levels. Incorporating the real-life edtech experience into classroom environments will help pupils of any age develop a greater appreciation of technology and the skills needed to succeed within the contemporary working environment.
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