Many thanks to Matt Bayley, Director of Sixth Form at Radyr Comprehensive School for his thoughts on EdTech and its implementation and use.
Working as a sixth form leader, Matt is always keen to utilise technology to enhance teaching and learning. Over the last few years at Radyr Comprehensive, EdTech products have been used successfully to support collaboration, improve communication, enhance data analysis and to make learning more engaging, interactive and accessible. In this interview, Matt shares his tips for schools and colleges looking to enhance their EdTech portfolio along with his EdTech toolkit.
With budgets often tight in schools and colleges and a plethora of EdTech tools available, it is important that institutions carry out thorough research before purchasing products. Reflecting carefully on what you want to achieve with the technology and a consideration of the needs of both staff and students is essential to avoid costly mistakes. Reading product reviews, consulting EdTech publications and talking to other providers who already use a particular product can be extremely beneficial.
Attending conferences, webinars and workshops, can also enhance your knowledge of potential products and how they are being used within educational settings. Don’t be afraid to ask companies to give you a demonstration of a product and even trial access if you feel this would be useful. Getting to try out a product before purchasing can be extremely beneficial in helping you make decisions on whether a particular product is a good fit for your institution.
When purchasing EdTech products, they must be user-friendly. When choosing products, it is important to consider the amount of training that will be required to ensure both staff and students can use them effectively. If product tools are intuitive and therefore minimal training is required, this is a huge plus point.
It is also important to consider what support is available from the company in terms of customer support and training. If issues do arise with a particular product, if these can be resolved quickly, the product is more likely to be adopted successfully by staff and students in your institution. Many companies now offer training webinars and resources as part of a subscription cost and if these are included it not only helps to ensure a smooth adoption of product, it also can make it much more cost effective.
When choosing EdTech products, the level of privacy and security are key considerations. It is vital to ensure that any companies you purchase products from are compliant with regulations such as GDPR and adhere to clear policies on how they handle data, what data they collect and how long data is retained. Most platforms should allow institutions to define user roles and permissions which is crucial to ensure that only key members of staff have access to sensitive data.
When purchasing EdTech products, it is also important to consider how they might integrate with other products and systems you have within your setting and whether this might affect the level of their security. Protecting staff and students’ personal information is essential and therefore don’t be afraid to ask companies to see policies, to clarify who owns the data collected and if data is shared with third parties.
Alps – Alps data is easy to interpret and enables us to quickly identify priorities at a strategic, subject and student level. Alps Connect is simple to use, intuitive and incredibly powerful as a school improvement tool. It supports us in setting aspirational targets for our students and enables us to evaluate outcomes and track student progress at both KS4 and KS5. We find it invaluable for both self-evaluation and improvement planning.
Unifrog– A fantastic online careers platform which students can use to explore university courses, apprenticeships, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) etc. Students can evidence key activities and competencies within the platform and have access to a wealth of helpful careers resources. We particularly love the fantastic Oxbridge tool and personal statement builder.
Class Charts – Although a recent addition to our EdTech portfolio at Radyr, we have been very impressed by this powerful classroom management platform. Class charts makes it easy to track and analyse homework and attendance data and generates seating plans to support teaching and learning. It also enhances our communication with students, parents and guardians.
Provision Map – This makes it easy for round robins to be shared amongst staff to request or provide information. Meetings and files are logged and downloaded here also. This has made administration more efficient, orderly and presentable.
SchoolCloud– Like many schools we switched to online parents’ consultation evenings during the pandemic. This platform integrates seamlessly with our school management information system and the ease of use together with the positive feedback we have received from parents and staff has led to online consultation evenings becoming a permanent fixture in our school calendar.
Updated on: 21 November 2023