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Introducing Techknowledge for Schools

Education research charity rebrands as Techknowledge for Schools and unveils latest research

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | July 14, 2015 | Technology

A new website packed with research on the impact of mobile technology and the use of 1:1 devices in schools is now available for teachers and school leaders.

www.techknowledge.org.uk is part of the rebranding of the educational charity Tablets For Schools, which has relaunched under the name Techknowledge For Schools.

The independent research has been carried out across 40 schools and 11,000 pupils by market and social research agency Family, Kids & Youth, and represents the largest evidence-base in the UK. 

The research explores the impact of the use of 1:1 mobile devices on pupil engagement, motivation and behaviour, teacher training and support as well as persistent barriers to progress, such as lack of wi-fi, pupil distraction, addiction, e-safety and lack of ongoing CPD for teachers. Particular attention is paid to personalisation and pupils’ sense of ownership of their mobile-learning content.

The charity has also released new research - Transforming learning - which explores in detail how 1:1 mobile devices are used in teaching and learning, and how changes to pedagogy can be sustained in schools. For full findings see here: https://techknowledge.org.uk/research/research-reports/transforming-learning/

The charity began commissioning research in 2011 in three pioneering secondary schools that were using 1:1 tablets, to identify the benefits, challenges and the impact on learning and to establish ground rules and advice for teaching with these devices. The new name reflects a broader remit, and represents how the use of technology has evolved in the past four years. 

Director Mary Palmer said: “We work closely with secondary and primary schools across the UK. We’re now very active beyond researching the use of tablets within education. We help interested schools develop robust mobile learning strategies and we help curious but hesitant schools make plans to embrace technology and educate their teachers and pupils.”

www.techknowledge.org.uk provides a user-friendly experience where extensive teacher and pupil research findings can be easily accessed and shared among peers. The charity has built strong relationships with school leaders and industry leaders, established an independent pedagogy group of academics and school leaders to peer review its research and briefed the Department for Education on its findings.

“We’re using our research and case studies to create resources for schools to help plan for and make the most out of mobile devices in schools,” said Mary. 

“Eventually we will turn our resources into a practical accreditation programme for schools to follow. We need to put our children on a level playing field internationally with the skills employers are expecting in our digital age and ultimately, we want all children to have these opportunities wherever they live and whatever their background. Six years ago you couldn’t buy a tablet. Today, children leave school facing a working world so removed from a generation ago that their learning methods need a radical rethink, but it’s a daunting task for most school leaders and teachers.” 

The charity’s partner schools typically use 1:1 devices in the classroom (they’re integral to how material is taught, not viewed as replacements for textbooks), with most children taking them home to continue projects and to share their work with their parents.

Researchers for Techknowledge for Schools are currently asking hundreds of teachers how they feel about using mobile technology to teach and what impact they think it has had on their pupils’ level of attainment, engagement, confidence, their ability to work collaboratively and their sense of autonomy.  Detailed results will be announced in the Autumn.

Visitors to www.techknowledge.org.uk will find detailed case studies and study reports. By sharing best practice through the website, Techknowledge For Schools is also looking to grow peer-to-peer advice and provide further resources.

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