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The innovation game

Which edtech advances are likely to have the most impact on learning? That's one of the questions being asked at this year'€™s EICE

Posted by Dave Higgitt | January 06, 2015 | Events

Making sure you are up-to-date with the latest innovations in education can be challenging for teachers – technology is an industry that can seem to be constantly changing, with new creations being launched every day. So how do you know which ideas are here to stay – and worth incorporating into your classroom?

The Education Innovation Conference and Exhibition (EICE) is an annual event designed to help education professionals integrate innovation and technology into learning. Some of those involved in this year’s event offer their predictions for what will be having a big impact in the classroom in 2015. 

Rob Kay
Software consultant at LexiaUK

Teaching will be combined with the use of computerised programs that facilitate learning based upon individual pupils’ needs. An increase in use of the iPad and android device in the classroom will support the move towards blended learning – a hybrid between traditional brick-and-mortar teaching and online learning – to ensure content is delivered at a level personalised to individual pupils’ needs.

The use of learning systems that combine face-to-face instruction with computer-mediated instruction will become more prevalent as teachers realise the substantiated benefits of adopting this approach. Blended learning will ensure students in 2015 are in control and actively engaged, and that teachers gain immediate feedback regarding pupil progress and skills development. 

Priyanka Shah
Education coordinator at My Cognition

Using technology to measure cognition – the processes we use to think, learn and remember – will be key. Every student has different cognitive abilities and MyCQ is an assessment tool that can measure cognition in 15 minutes, meaning it is quick, accurate and cost-efficient. Identifying students as early as possible who have a lower than average cognition will give teachers the ability to direct support as needed, or even identify conditions that were not known about before. Dyslexia and dyscalculia, for example, both manifest from low working memory.

Training cognition improves attainment, reduces the risk of students opting out of education and improves life chances for all. 

Dr Bob Gomersall
Chairman at BTL Group Ltd

The capabilities of the technology available will have the biggest impact – the technology in learners’ hands is finally of the right quality and affordability to transform learning and assessment. The impact of the tablet and ubiquitous smart phone coupled with cultural trends (such as ‘bring your own device’) are unlocking the technology investments being made by institutions and exam boards. This creates accessible, robust and compelling content for teaching and examinations and produces two welcome effects: examinations are aligning with how we work, play and learn, and are fairer and more accessible for more learners; and educators can focus on what they do best, liberated from paper trails and red tape. 

Phil Birchinall
Education director at Computeam

Augmented reality has been around for quite some time but is only now beginning to become fully applied to the curriculum. There is no doubt that properly contextualised augmented content can create a powerful learning experience. In the hands of a good teacher this ‘cognitive attractor’ has the potential to truly grab a pupil’s attention and accelerate their progress through the learning cycle. We have seen this effect very strongly demonstrated with our own ActiveWorksheets. 

Ryan Slaney
Business development manager at iLockerz

‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) is the biggest technology issue in schools today. This is why we have introduced iLockerz , which allows students to temporarily use a secure locker to store laptops, tablets and other devices within. When a locker is used, iLockerz will only allow the same user to remove their equipment so that devices are secure. Typical systems have 16 bays, with in-built charging and admin software. BYOD policies are being implemented more and more each day by the leaders in the sector due to the great learning gains available to students and, of course, the great financial gains that are available to educational establishments without the need to compromise on the standard of education.
 As technology in education becomes more of an absolute necessity each day, BYOD policies will become standard as they help prepare students for the real world beyond education. 

Denise Crouch
Head of sales and marketing at Lapsafe.

At LapSafe we see a constant change in the classroom and the way it works. One of the biggest shifts we have seen this year is the use of Chromebooks and cloud computing rather than laptops and traditional hard drives. We are sure that cloud computing will make a huge impact in 2015. The cloud will be used to maximise the effectiveness of shared resources for both teachers and pupils. It will continue to promote growth both in learning and accessibility as it allows multiple users to access information on any device, not tying users to one laptop or tablet. 

Now in its third year, EICE itself is taking place at Manchester Central from 26-27 February. It’s a chance for visitors to take part in workshops and receive specialist advice on how to boost achievement in their schools, colleges and universities. Confirmed speakers include Tim Rylands and David Mitchell, while the exhibition promises to be packed with innovative technologies. The event will also give visitors the opportunity to watch demonstrations and get hands-on with the latest products and ideas.

The seminar programme features experts on technology in teaching including: 

  • Dr Bob Gomersall: ‘Keep up! Trust the tools, trust the technology, trust the learners’: this session will look at how the tools to deliver life-changing moments in education are already here and why we need to trust them to benefit learners and the wider UK alike. 
  • Mark Mackie: ‘App smashing – combining digital tools for inspirational teaching and learning’: This presentation will explore how using various cross-curricular applications in different combinations can enhance teaching and learning outcomes, using a mixture of demonstration and interactivity. 
  • Paul Croft: ‘3D printing – all you need to know’: this seminar will demonstrate how easy 3D printing can be, sharing knowledge about this game-changing technology and inviting people to join the revolution. 
  • Mike Walker: ‘Simple and straightforward MDM’: a chance to find out how one local primary school made the whole process of mobile device management (MDM) simple, and straightforward – aimed at those who’ve already got devices, are looking to purchase tablets soon or have bought the kit but left it in the cupboard. 
  • Craig Rulton: ‘Learning inspired’: this interactive presentation aims to inspire and enthuse teachers about the innovative use of iPad in the learning and teaching environment, with plenty of chances to get hands-on. 

New features for EICE 2015 include:

* The Tablet Village: powered by the Tablet Academy, the Tablet Village is a new feature which will enable visitors to discover the best tablets for an education environment and how to maximise a tablet’s potential in the classroom. The village will offer a mix of interactive exhibition stands and hands-on workshops, including subject-specific sessions from Elsium for all teachers, from geography to modern languages.

* The SEN Hub: the ability for technology and innovation to help children with special educational needs (SEN) will be illustrated in the SEN hub, with the assistance of British Dyslexia and other leading organisations.

* An e-safety clinic, offering advice on how schools, colleges and universities deal with the safety of their students. Keeping children safe online is one of the biggest issues facing parents – and teachers – since the rise of mobile technology. EICE’s e-safety hub will give education professionals the tools they need to tackle the problem and stay ahead of the game, with a mix of expert advice, case studies and innovative solutions.

* The interactive classroom: created by Space Oasis, this is a live classroom which will be used throughout EICE, with students working on projects alongside Elsium, illustrating how a creative and inspiring environment can really raise the bar when it comes to classroom productivity. 

A video from last year’s event is available to view on the event’s website where you can also register for free tickets. You can also get more information via Twitter (@EICEmanchester) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/eicemanchester). 

EICE, Manchester Central, 26-7 February 2015. W: www.educationinnovation.co.uk

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