Digital agility was a skill given particular emphasis in Gavin Williamson’s statement to the Education Policy Institute in January. In his address, he said that the combined efforts during the pandemic to try to make remote learning accessible to all: “really signals our vision for the future of technology in education beyond Covid … making sure that digitally agile teaching becomes the standard and not the exception”.
What is digital agility?
Whilst there’s no exact definition of digital agility in education, it’s generally understood to be the flexible and timely adoption of new technology and digital tools to aid teaching and learning. In normal times, many would argue that this is simply exploring digital resources to enhance learning and sharing best practice proactively. But since the pandemic, the scope of digital agility has deepened and broadened. Not only have teachers delivered the curriculum remotely, they’ve also needed to collaborate in perhaps new ways with various stakeholders (broadband providers, tech suppliers, charities and parents) to ensure each pupil is nurtured and given the same opportunity to succeed. This new and improved digital agility has been evidenced by teachers:
- delivering the curriculum remotely whilst continuing to teach pupils in the classroom.
- adopting live and recorded video to engage pupils, encourage peer interaction and allow pupils to learn at their own pace.
- creating high-quality resources and sourcing material from third parties, such as Oak Academy, to use and adapt as necessary.
- supporting disadvantaged pupils, providing them with the access to devices, connectivity and additional support they need.
- working collaboratively with parents to help them support their children’s learning, offering hints on routines as well as supporting concepts taught.
How can you be digital agile “as standard”?
As pupils return to the classroom, it’s time for schools to recognise the wealth of experience they’ve gleaned from switching to remote learning, embrace the positive outcomes they’ve achieved, and consider how they can minimise the effects of the pandemic and the lost school time associated with it. If this falls to you, you’ll need to consider the following, bearing in mind your school’s unique context:
- Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current remote learning provision.
- Seek help to address less-strong areas via your immediate network, EdTech Demonstrator Schools and external providers.
- Adapt your resources to facilitate both classroom-based and remote learning for all teachers to access via the cloud.
- Streamline and consolidate the programmes and applications you use.
This should involve the same creativity evidenced during the pandemic to ensure each child is at the centre of his/her learning.
Investing in research, resource creation and additional subscriptions may add cost for the school but some projects can be covered by the Catch-Up Premium, and many of the initiatives schools can access in terms of devices, platforms and support are government-backed. You may also be surprised that consolidating programmes may actually result in savings.
How CSE can help
Whilst it’s uncertain if further school closures are on the horizon, we do know that technology will undoubtedly feature more and more in teaching, freeing up valuable teacher time so you can focus on the areas with most impact. You may want to access several programmes and applications in just one lesson, which could be a logistical nightmare if each has a separate login. This is where CSE Magellan can help, enabling automated user management and Single Sign-On access to ensure your school’s IT is instantly accessible. It’s cloud-based, efficient and easy to use. Contact us for more details today.
5 ways schools can be “digitally agile”
- Encourage a ‘curious’ mindset and a willingness to change everyday practices.
- Draw on pre-recorded resources, and share and adapt resources your teachers have created.
- Keep communicating with pupils and parents, encouraging engagement and feedback.
- Leverage cloud computing to support remote learning and collaboration.
- Ask advice from schools in your area, EdTech Demonstrator Schools and external providers.