Vodafone today announced it has launched a pilot of ‘Connected Education’ – a suite of digital services for teachers and pupils – at Bridge of Allan Primary School in Stirling, Scotland. Connected Education incorporates tablet devices for teachers and children, mobile Wi-Fi connectivity, advanced-grade security and specialist training to help teachers gain digital skills.
It also incorporates Microsoft Teams for Education, an online classroom environment whereby students can connect with teachers and classmates easily and safely. The pilot will run until March 2021 and follows the launch of a similar programme at St Joseph’s Primary School in Newbury in October.
With an estimated one million children and young people in the UK with inadequate access to technology at home, providing digital devices and connectivity can help bridge the digital divide. For children, access to education platforms at a young age will help them gain vital digital skills, essential for many jobs of the future.
Connected Education provides straightforward access to classwork, school materials and resources suited to a range of learning styles. It enables a teacher to provide an in-classroom and remote learning experience at the same time, using video and digital exercise books. This ensures children forced to miss school during the COVID-19 pandemic due to illness or quarantine can continue to join the class if they are well enough.
Time-consuming tasks – such as lesson preparation and analysis of data to monitor a child’s progress – can be partly automated via the Microsoft Education platform, giving teachers an estimated 30% more time for student-focused activities, such as developing relationships or supporting those who need more help.
The Connected Education package includes technology consultancy from independent provider Tablet Academy to help Heads understand how to digitise their schools and get the most from technology. Teachers also benefit from digital skills training to ensure they can get the best from the tools on offer. Vodafone provides telephone support so issues can be quickly resolved.
Lyndsay Macnair, Head Teacher at Bridge of Allan Primary School: “It is important that a digital educational platform provides an engaging and interactive teaching experience, while also being quick and easy to use. By working in partnership with Vodafone on the Connected Education project, we hope to showcase how the traditional classroom can be transformed into an environment where present and future generations of children can learn vital digital skills. I’m excited to see how this pilot will help transform the in-class experience for both pupils and teachers.”
Anne Sheehan, Director, Vodafone Business UK, said: “We are excited to be working with Bridge of Allan Primary School in Stirling to trial our Connected Education package. The recent months have highlighted the importance of digital education platforms that children can access whenever they need to. We hope this pilot will showcase the effectiveness of such provision. By incorporating devices, connectivity, specialist training and advanced security, we can help ensure no child is left behind, whatever their circumstances.”
Connected Education has been developed by Vodafone Business Ventures, which combines social purpose and technical expertise to change lives for the better. A full commercial proposition of Connected Education is due to be available to educators and councils across the UK during 2021.
Vodafone recently announced it is giving free connectivity to 250,000 schoolchildren this winter so they can keep connecting and learning at home. The programme, called schools.connected was extended to an additional 100,000 children and young people after astonishing demand bringing the total number of free data SIMs available to 350,000. For more information click here.