The four stages of education technology

I've spent the last couple of days at education technology conference Bett 2016, surrounded by the latest innovations aimed at improving the schooling and learning potential of young people in the UK.

Whilst there was the usual clamour of tablets, laptops and giant touchscreen displays, one company I spoke to took me on a slightly different journey. Intel had laid itself out into four progressive stages of education - something it calls 360 degree learning - with the technology involved gradually developing and becoming more complex.

Let's have a closer look at the four stages:

1. Exploring

Starting with the youngest children, this stage is all about exploring communication and problem solving and using technology to introduce students to areas such as writing and drawing.

I was shown a demo of a brilliant piece of software called WriteReader, which provides a simple and entertaining way for children to write, illustrate and even publish their own digital books. Children can then share their books with friends and family in the 'global library' and see how many views and 'likes' their books receive.

2. Engaging

As students progress, this stage centres on using devices and software to keep them engaged and add a bit more depth to their learning.

One of the solutions on display was the new MinecraftEdu, a modified version of the wildly successful Minecraft game which will be making its way to classrooms across the world this year. MinecraftEdu allows students and teachers to play together and helps foster collaboration and creativity whilst also helping to teach a range of subjects such as STEM, language, history and art.

3. Inspiring

Once students move into secondary school, subjects become more complex and the focus moves to inspiring them to become independent thinkers, something which is especially important for girls as this is traditionally the time when they start to drop out of STEM classes.

I've never been the biggest fan of maths, but one piece of software on display would certainly have made it more bearable at school. FluidMath from Fluidity Software is basically an interactive calculator that can be used on tablet PCs and interactive whiteboards.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCvxE7YgI6o

As the website says, FluidMath "enables teachers and students to easily create, solve, graph and animate math and physics problems all in their own hand-writing." The demo above shows just how easy it is to use and the dynamic nature provides an engaging and entertaining experience.

4. Ongoing

This final stage of education is all about keeping people interested in learning after they have left school and using technology to "enable learners of all ages to pursue their passion and develop expertise for continued personal and professional success."

Intel also spoke about the importance of utilising the cloud and managing privacy and security concerns, areas which are currently so prevalent in all aspects of business so can't be ignored by education organisations.

So, education is as easy as one, two, three, four. But are your children's schools making the most of the technology available to them?

Image source: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov