VIEWS & OPINION The power of edtech partnership

Edtech is unquestionably one of the most dynamic, fluid and energetic IT sectors in the UK today. Government investment, the rise of remote learning during the pandemic and constantly evolving technology are recurring tropes propelling a sector that’s currently worth in excess of £3bn and seeing year-on-year double digit growth. Technologies such as

Comment by STEPHEN O’CONNELL, sales and marketing director of IT and technology specialists Advantex Edtech partnerships are the way forward. Such initiatives will

continue to form, develop and evolve, becoming the norm as capital projects become ever more complex, costly and wide ranging in their purview. It’s paramount therefore that strong partnerships are forged from the outset of a project - even as early as the bid stage – if they are to have maximum long-term value, endurance and return on investment. In this way, they help to align the project with the education provider’s intertwined digital and learning strategies. It’s about applying digital technology to deliver a new form of learning architecture if you will. The School Rebuilding Programme reflects national government’s

approach to public/private partnership and form part of its long-term commitment to a schools’ development programme that will see billions of pounds invested in improving education provision for millions for decades to come. It’s only natural then that ‘end-to-end’ engagement with UK

head mounted VR devices, 3D printing machines and e-books among myriad other online digital tools are contributing to a revolution in eLearning, reshaping and redefining education experiences for millions of students across the UK. Indeed, digital learning through instant access and customisation is making the learning experience smoother, smarter, personal and, perhaps crucially, more in-line with the world of work. Today’s students are able to learn almost anytime, from anywhere

at their own pace with innovative tools and enriching content that keeps them motivated and engaged both inside and outside of the college campus. Technology is driving better practices, improving quality standards and securing high pupil engagement. It’s also powering the way to greater and easier communications between people while nurturing ever more innovative, efficient and cost- effective learning strategies for teachers. Increased investment in edtech is one of the current trends

reshaping the digital learning landscape. Others include the School Rebuilding Programme and the Government’s Connect the Classroom, which is a fully funded programme by the Department for Education to improve wireless infrastructure in hundreds of UK schools. These have to be welcomed as having positive, impactful outcomes. Schools, colleges and other education facilities will always need

more funding to narrow the digital gap, which seems to have widened lately, especially for some of the most vulnerable students. This means that it will be more important than ever to have accessible technology available at the touch of a button (or click of mouse) as teaching and learning pushes forward in the government’s shiny new education landscape. Evidently, this involves a long-term plan for hardware but equally

critical, it includes assigning budgets and resources to the construction of the quality highways, networks and frameworks to underpin and power the digital tools and technologies. Moreover, if engagement is key to learning, then investment in effective, future proof platforms and the partnerships to build them, must be seen as paramount in the long-term drive to deliver opportunity and access the type of quality learning that our students want and deserve.

Way forward Indeed, those in the vanguard of delivering tomorrow’s schools maintain the value of working in partnership with adept IT companies who offer the wherewithal, experience and strategic insight to see things differently and bring a singular added value approach to project success.

22 November 2021

construction groups engaged in delivering the DfE’s vision for better, brighter schools, ensures edtech specialists can take their place at the heart of matters; asking the challenging questions, providing clarity and delivering the requisite cost effective, scalable solutions. Work by Advantex to supply ICT equipment and connectivity

services to several schools illustrates the value of partnership and its capacity to reap rewards for all involved in the supply chain. It also illustrates how much easier it is for construction companies to have one single supplier managing the IT development and delivery programme.

Collaboration Working with national construction firm Galliford Try under PSBP, schools in Yorkshire are among many across the North of England to be equipped by Advantex with the prevailing new networks and switching kit, wireless telecommunications and audio-visual systems required to secure their current and future edtech requirements. And through closer working with school builders Galliford Try throughout the tender and delivery process, we have implemented the DfE IT framework compliant solutions students utilise for safer and more secure digital online services. Greater collaboration between all those involved in the education

sector is unquestionably one of the priorities of the government's digital strategy. In this realm, investment in savvy partnerships allows edtech partners to bring forward innovative solutions and risk-averse delivery, connectivity and application of eLearning equipment. These can be quickly and cost-effectively upgraded or extended, meeting any future demands due to funding or changing requirements.

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