Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Claire Lotriet's World of Ed Tech

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Claire Lotriet's World of Ed Tech

Article excerpt

A side show to the main stage extravaganza that has been life without levels in primary schools has been how ed tech companies now find it very hard to prove the worth of what they are selling. Sure, levels were not failsafe and claims such as "children made two levels of progress on average" never took context into account, but it was a starting point.

Some may celebrate this circumstance, claiming that it stops schools getting sucked into costly mistakes, but such a view would be short-sighted: there is lots out there that could make a real difference in schools, we just need to work out which products they are. Here's a brief guide to doing just that.

Demos

One obvious way is for companies to be proactive about demoing their stuff. For me, good demos aren't just to teachers in isolation, but are done with children so you can see how it works in practice. It means you can also get the kids' feedback, too.

My most recent experience of this was Now Press Play (nowpressplay.co.uk) coming in to do a demo with our two Year 6 classes. They make immersive education resources, where each child wears a set of distinctive pink wireless headphones to listen to a story, complete with sound effects, in which they become the main character. However, it's also very physical as they have to move about as instructed. It's one of those things that all sounds a bit strange, and it wasn't until I saw my Year 6s take part that I could see just how well it works - and how much they liked it. Without this, I wouldn't be as quick to consider purchasing it. …

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