Edtech 2020 – Where next for education, skills & learning?


On Tuesday 13th June at London Tech Week we will be presenting ‘Edtech 2020’ – half a day in which we will seek to debate and showcase the key trends, strategies and technologies that are going to be driving change in the classroom over the next 3 years.

Joining the Microsoft product experts on the speaker schedule are a number of industry leaders, and the live demos from schools, colleges and universities will provide an opportunity to see first-hand how these technologies are being used in practice. Register now for Edtech 2020 at London Tech Week.


At Microsoft, our mission in education is to empower educators and students of today to create the world of tomorrow.

In the lead up to Microsoft's presence at London Tech Week, our organisation has looked at how technology shapes and influences the professional practices of today, and what we can expect from the workplace of the future. Ensuring that today's learners are equipped with the necessary skills for tomorrow's jobs means creating a teaching and learning environment that reflects as much of the working world as possible, and fosters an inclination towards creativity, problem solving and collaboration.

But ask any teacher or school leader about the future of technology and its place within education, and the answer will almost undoubtedly reference the thought that technology on its own will not advance education - the teacher is still critical in getting the most of out any technology-driven activities or applications.

Rethinking the classroom

The notion of only being able to work within the four walls of the office between the hours of 9-5 is long gone. Some degree of flexible working is almost a given in any profession these days, and being able to work from a place and at a time that best suits individual employees is increasingly becoming the norm. Likewise, in education, a significant amount of learning and development takes place outside the classroom. This can be seen in primary schools through flipped learning and similar approaches, and with HE students having to craft their own ways of studying.

With simple and accessible apps like OneNote and Microsoft Teams in Office 365 for Education, classrooms have access to a world of options to create and collaborate – building the skills for the jobs of tomorrow.

Included within Office 365 are Microsoft Learning Tools - free add-ons that implement proven techniques to improve reading and writing for people regardless of their age or ability. A recent study with the British Dyslexia Association found that when using Learning Tools, 16 of 18 children showed improved behaviour and 11 out of 18 saw their reading comprehension get better. No two learners will ever be the same, and particularly for SEND students, the ability to personalise and tailor learning is key to progress.

Devices for students and teachers

As we look to the future, advances in the power and availability of devices is allowing educators and learners to radically change the ways they approach learning, interact with each other, and channel their thoughts and creativity. It might be something as simple as a 1-1 low cost device allowing all students in a primary school class to collaborate within Office 365 across a range of subjects, or a HoloLens for medical students to transform the way they learn about anatomy through mixed reality learning. It could even be international university students collaborating in new ways through a Surface Hub. Whatever level you are teaching at, there will be something that shifts the paradigm and disrupts the norm without losing sight of the original goal – transforming the way we teach and learn.

Research has found that students taking notes by hand demonstrate better understanding of concepts and subject matter than those who type verbatim. Devices, such as Surface, supporting digital inking allow students to enjoy the developmental benefits of traditional handwriting and note taking, while taking full advantage of the collaboration, mobility and efficiencies of digital learning practices.

Earlier this year a number of low-cost Windows 10 S devices designed specifically for education were announced, as well as Intune for Education, a simplified Windows 10 management system for the classroom. This allows schools to easily deploy apps, manage shared devices and create personal experiences enabling tailored learning to be delivered at institutional scale.

The power of Data

Technology doesn’t necessarily need to be physical and visible in the classroom for it have a profound impact on the quality of teaching and the outcomes of students.

The cloud is transforming the way in which businesses are able to empower their employees and serve their customers. Harnessing the power of data also holds huge opportunities for academic institutions to make more informed decisions around operational efficiencies, attainment and the student life-cycle.

Combining information from various sources is nothing new in the commercial world, but academic institutions are starting to derive real meaning and insight from aggregation of data, enabling them to make data driven decisions that touch upon all aspects of running a school, Multi Academy Trust (MAT) or university.

Being able to spot connected warning signs from different but related data sources allows universities to identify students at risk of dropping out, and make timely interventions. Other programmes of adaptive learning enable students to be served with content based on their performance on previous tasks and assignments, to ensure that they are being both adequately challenged and supported.

MATs develop custom reports to extract data from within their MIS system, which is then synchronised every night into Power BI. From here they are able to visually see their data and the analysis of it to monitor their students and explore different visual interpretations of that data. This gives them the ability to compare the schools across the Trust and really see what factors are affecting their results, and drive more informed and meaningful decision making.

Developing your own digital strategy

Clearly there is no ‘one size fits all’ model for technology within education, and nor is it possible to fully explore all the different opportunities and ways in which technology can support pedagogy in a single blog post. Each university, trust, school or educator will need to find their own ways of introducing different technology into the way their institutions and classrooms operate.

On Tuesday 13th June at London Tech Week we will be presenting ‘Edtech 2020’ – half a day in which we will seek to debate and showcase the key trends, strategies and technologies that are going to be driving change in the classroom over the next 3 years.

Joining the Microsoft product experts on the speaker schedule are a number of industry leaders, and the live demos from schools, colleges and universities will provide an opportunity to see first-hand how these technologies are being used in practice.

Register now for Edtech 2020 at London Tech Week


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