Marie-Claire Caldwell

EduTech Scotland 2016 Key Takeaways

Texthelp were proud to partner with EduTech Scotland on Wednesday 7th December for a one day conference in the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre. This event brought together a host of professionals in the education industry, united by their efforts to successfully overcome the barriers to digital learning.


Texthelp were proud to partner with EduTech Scotland on Wednesday 7th December for a one day conference in the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre. This event brought together a host of professionals in the education industry, united by their efforts to successfully overcome the barriers to digital learning. 

If you weren’t there on the day don’t worry! Our Texthelpers were on hand to hear from national and international speakers at the forefront of digital innovation, and we’ve put together our conference highlights to make sure you don’t miss a thing. 

Key objectives of digital technology in education

The conference introduction was given by award-winning broadcaster, journalist, and author Keith Aiken. The four key objectives of digital technology in education were outlined by Keith, and established the themes for the day,These objectives were

The availability of technology and ease of access must be improved for all learners, especially those from less affluent backgrounds
Technology should be integrated within every aspect of the education experience, and MUST be central to assessments
Leaders should be given the time and resources to drive technological innovation in their organisations
Teachers should be empowered to incorporate technology into their teaching plans

Complex digital landscapes 

Professor Quinton Cutts, MBE, delivered the opening keynote. Quniton introduced the notion of technology “power users”. By making everyone within an organisation a power user of technology the knowledge gap between traditional ‘tech’ people and ‘non-tech’ people is bridged. In order to facilitate this, Quinton believes organisations have an obligation to provide their employees with training that can be directly applied to their own journey into the digital landscape. This fosters greater understanding and appreciation of colleagues’ challenges with technology, therefore paving the way for creating a company specific roadmap for digital success. 

Research into technology in education 

A topic that is frequently debated is the effectiveness of educational technology and how this can be accurately measured. As every EdTech software or hardware product is different in terms of its tools, functionality and user benefits, coupled with the continuous innovation in the technological industry the process of evaluation should be fluid and not static to reflect these ever changing variables.   

The sentiment shared by many of the conference goers, as well as Professor Judy Robertson (University of Edinburgh, Research Lead) is that technology is by no means a replacement for, but can supplement and greatly enhance teaching and learning.  

Digitising the future 

Technology within the education sector is certainly more than a fleeting trend. It’s set to stay, with an increasing uptake in use and acceptance, particularly amongst younger professionals that have grown up using technological products as part of their daily lives. 

A key challenge remains in converting individuals with hostile attitudes towards technology. If the benefits of using technology that apply specifically to these people are explained, such as how it can save them time, using real life examples their receptiveness to learning may increase. 

A culture that promotes lifelong learning can also help in overcoming these difficulties. The example of a school in Falkirk with a student lead technology focus was given. In this school ‘digital champions’, appointed from within the student body, teach the teachers how to use certain programmes. This model of appointing internal experts is a cost effective way of deploying technology, and could also boost student engagement and interaction. The long term benefits of schemes like these for students are immeasurable. By placing students in these leadership positions, schools are preparing them for life beyond the classroom and enabling them to become the confident and empowered technological advocates of the future.     

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