We should all be able to agree that broadening how we teach, learn and assess is of value

Michael Conlon, XMA education transformation consultant

their children’s screen time or getting rid of traditional peda- gogy, Conlon is quite clear. “Like everything else in life, it’s about balance, and it’s the responsibility of all of us to keep talking about that balance, and I include myself as a parent. “We should all be able to agree

that broadening how we teach, learn and assess is of value. It’s about adding new and modern tools and enhancing our pedagogi- cal approaches, not taking them away.” Pedagogy is a driving force

behind the education transforma- tion projects that XMA is helping to build. “What’s critical for people to understand is that devices don’t teach children; teachers teach chil- dren,” says Leigh Milligan, digital learning lead at XMA. “So unless there are significant

technology in education. According to Conlon, the com-

mitment from the Scottish Govern- ment to provide a device for every child changes the social contract between education and children and families. As a result, local au- thorities and schools are thinking deeply about the significant oppor- tunities and challenges that such a programme will engender.

“It’s not just about equity and the

resilience of our education system; it’s also about economic realities and ensuring our young people get the chance to develop the digital skills and attitudes that will serve them best. For all of us in educa- tion, it will be a significant culture change that we can’t underesti- mate.” And for those that worry about

and sustained professional learning opportunities for educators, we’re unlikely to see the kinds of benefits we know are there. Tere’s a real chance to shift the needle in terms of how technology is seen and used by young people, moving away from consumption and into creativ- ity, entrepreneurship and lifelong learning. And for our educators, it is about exploiting how technol- ogy can reduce workload, support learners and model ideas and con- cepts in a relevant, meaningful and engaging way.” Tis understanding has led to the

development of a learning platform for teachers which will launch after the summer. “Not every teacher can get to the professional learning sessions that we offer,” explains Milligan. “Tere must be a place and space

for them to learn ways to integrate technology for learning at a time that suits them best. As a team of former teachers, it’s the kind of thing we would want, online train- ing that’s not just about what but- tons to press but how it connects to how children learn. We like to think you’ll be able to use what you learn in your class the next day.”

Last year saw Fox’s team respond to the unprecedented need for tech- nology across all sectors, including the Connecting Scotland programme that was rapidly spun up to provide digital devices, data and training to those who needed it most. Working closely with the Scottish

Council for Voluntary Organisations has proven to be one of the most satisfying projects the team has ever undertaken. “When you hear stories of the difference technol- ogy has made to some of our most vulnerable citizens and families, it’s just so moving,” says Fox. “You get such an insight into how

you can start to remove that isola- tion and connect families to ser- vices and learning, and that makes it really inspiring. Tat’s why we’re so excited at the potential that a de- vice for every child could bring. It’s about opening up worlds for them, their families and for being more connected with their community and the things that matter most.” Conlon believes that Scotland can

be a lighthouse for other countries looking at similar projects. “We be- lieve in equity for young people. We believe that if there are accessibility features that can help young people overcome their learning challenges, they should have them. “We believe that if they want to

explore their creativity, then they have the tools to do that. Tat if there are apps that help reinforce their learning, they can use them. It’s reflective of the kind of world we want to help build. It’s about the kind of world that I’d want that eight-year-old me to live in.” l

Partner Content in association with XMA.


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