Further education leaders must be at the forefront of improving technology use in the sector and implementing the recommendations of the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (Feltag), the government has said.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published an update on progress made by the sector in the six months since it published its response to the Feltag report, which came out in February last year.
The update, published on February 13, said: “The level of engagement by providers and individuals has been very encouraging and shows no signs of abating.”
It added: “Many colleges and providers are realigning their teaching and learning strategies accordingly, but there is more to do and it will be the leadership in the sector that will make it happen.”
The update pointed to the learning futures programme from the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), and delivered by Gazelle, and its work with technology charity Jisc as an example of FE leaders and managers developing capabilities.
One of the key recommendations in the Feltag report was that all courses should include 10 per cent online delivery to receive funding by 2015/16. However, the update echoed Skills Minister Nick Boles’s comments at the BETT conference last month that the recommendation was “more of a vague target” than a requirement, saying the government had reviewed the recommendation “in the light of concerns raised about setting a target without first testing the impact”.
It added it was carrying out a “temperature check” on current online delivery levels which, along with the 2014/15 ILR data returns, it would use to make future funding policy.
Introducing the update, Mr Boles said government would remain “engaged” with the process. But, he added: “It is for the FE sector to shape how technology is best used to deliver the most efficient and effective learning outcomes.”
The report also called for investment in technological infrastructure said almost 100 colleges had taken up the offer of BIS funding to upgrade their systems.
Feltag also recommended Ofsted scrutinise providers’ use of technology in the classroom as part of its inspections. However, the update said Ofsted was “agnostic” about specific methods of teaching, but it had “accepted the recommendation that it should increase its training and guidance for inspectors around education”.
In the future, the report concluded, the ETF and Jisc would be “helping providers and practitioners to create better digital content” and engaging employers to improve access to industry-standard technologies, as well as planning how to develop Feltag over the next year.
Main pic: Nick Boles