Working daily with institutions that are looking at ways to increase the number of students with devices in their hands, the focus is on those students and the teachers. Rightly, they are the key focus for using technology to aid teaching and learning but there is another very important group here…Parents!

Parents, the people we are looking to encourage the children in the home, the people a growing number of schools that are asking to donate to get the devices in to every child’s hands. They are a key group for us to get buy in from, if these schemes are going to be a success, what is the benefit to them? If it isn’t clear the child is going to have the technology integrated totally in to the schools ethos then what value is there? The school are driving the use of technology but still have to send home letters in the school bags, should we not practice what we preach?

Recently, I have seen some great solutions like the Virtual Activities Environment from CHQ and School App from Apps Central that drive this parental engagement. Both are focussed on communicating with parents, giving them instant access to their children’s activities at school, changes to schedules, sign up to classes or activities and other helpful info. This is of real value and improves the schools communication to the parent, they are getting the benefit of the schools drive with technology thus increasing their buy in. Another good example is the Educational App Store that can support a school approved parent portal, guiding parents to suitable apps and how to use them with their child in line with the curriculum.

In my experience, you forget the parents at your peril, they are likely to help support your scheme now or in the future so make sure they see the value as well as the staff and students!

So we have seen many attempts at trying to bridge the digital divide, the haves and the have nots with technology. People such as the E-Learning Foundation have done a lot to raise awareness here and with campaigns like “Mind the Gap”, there has been progress. Are we really getting to the nub of the issue though?

According to the ONS 74% of people in the UK access the internet every day however 66% of them were on mobile phones, access on the go! So looking at internet access to the home doesn’t tell the whole story anymore does it?! My favourite statistic of last year was that on average in the UK every child has access to 4.5 connected devices and that is only going to increase. A child at home chooses the right device for the job so why are we so prescriptive when delivering education?

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So BETT has come and gone for another year and what have I learnt?  Well not being stuck in a meeting room for 3 straight days, only let out for food and water periodically when I was starting to show signs of exhaustion, was much more pleasurable!  Getting to see what vendors, resellers and the competition are doing is very useful for someone trying to differentiate in a new business. Read more