The case for a different approach to education and how technology plays its part
Every year, thousands of young people sit SATs, GCSE, and A-Level exams which, to them, offer the most significant indication of their education and career options in their lives. It’s a level of stress that is becoming harder to deal with, and yet many believe it is still not being taken seriously enough.
However, there is an equally important question to consider. Do students ultimately leave school prepared for the working world? Is the stress that is placed on these pupils the most effective way of educating them?
This viral video, from back in November 2022, perfectly lays bare the struggles and pressure that young people are put under throughout their school years, but also ultimately how ill-prepared for the real world they are when they leave secondary school, due to an outdated school system that is geared towards remembering, rather than educating.
This was a speech that a teenager, Izzy, was able to give at parliament as a youth MP in Wigan. While it’s great she was able to find a platform to state her case for educational reform, student representation in this debate is generally lacking.
Reforming the education system is a big job, but necessary as the world changes around it. So what has to happen in order for change to happen, and what does change look like?
What’s the evidence for change?
Tony Blair is one of the most prominent supporters of a radical change in the way students are assessed at school. Education was always one of his top priorities when he was Prime Minister between 2005 and 2007 and has since used his Institute for Global Change to study ways to futureproof education in Britain.
Back in August 2022, they set out their recommendations, arguing that “current incentives restrict schools’ leeway to focus on other valuable subjects and skills, instead encouraging rote learning. This extends to academies, laying bare the tension between the government’s purported goal of greater school autonomy and its narrow view of school success. As a result, the formidable potential that exists in the academies model remains largely suppressed.”
Since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, he has also hinted that the need to better prepare students for the world of work is real, with his plan to make all pupils study Maths till the age of 18. While there are questions about how this would be workable, it does reflect an understanding that there needs to be more emphasis on skills and knowledge that will matter most to young people when they transition to adult life.
How important a role does technology play in the future?
Of course, educational reform isn’t just about what we learn. It’s as much about how it is taught, and any talk about it can’t go very far without considering the one thing that most of the UK workforce now relies on to get their job done – technology.
It is also the one thing that a lot of schools have been either unwilling or unable to utilize in meaningful ways thus far, which left them exposed when the COVID pandemic hit. Technology can solve two problems in one – It increases the breadth of resources available to students, and it allows a more tailored approach to an individual’s education, thus increasing their confidence when it comes to assessment.
E-spaces has one such tool that can help with the latter. It is the first in-lesson assessment tool to store data and help measure a pupil’s progress against their predicted grades. This gives teachers an easy-to-use, bias-free way to make informed decisions on how a student is progressing, which means that schools can better understand where a student is struggling and help find unique ways to help them to succeed. By using data in lessons we can understand so much more beyond academic progress, and this is E-spaces’ long-term vision.
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