Educational organisation City & Guilds launched the Think Out Loud Club at the Science Museum in London, set up to enable further education professionals to support each other in using technology in vocational teaching and learning.
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Unveiled at the Big Think event, the technology community has been established in collaboration with the 157 Group, Toshiba, and the Ufi Trust.
The launch of the further education (FE) community was timed to coincide with the publication of research from City & Guilds.
The report from City & Guilds – Culture, Coaching and Collaboration: How to unlock the potential of digital technology in vocational teaching and learning – offers ideas on how and why the vocational teaching sector should invest in technologies to spread a culture of experimentation and collaboration.
The report recommends the use of technology in teaching and learning to support further education professionals and technology experts. It urges teachers and technologists to work together in new techniques and teaching methods that move beyond internet research, PowerPoint and computer assessments.
The report also suggests colleges pioneer the use of technology inside and outside the classroom.
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Kirstie Donnelly, UK managing director of City & Guilds, said: “It is impossible to ignore the fact that most learners have a supercomputer in their pocket today and this important research confirms what City & Guilds has known for a long time: technology has the ability to transform the way that vocational education is delivered.
“Further education, as a route into employment, has an opportunity to lead the way. We are committed to supporting the sector by ensuring that technology plays a central role in everything we create and enabling centres to share best practice through collaborations such as the Think Out Loud Club.”
The City & Guilds report gives examples from education institutions – such as Bridgend College in Wales and Reading College – to show how technology is being applied to enhance vocational education. The research highlights techniques such as quizzes on the go; practical teacher demonstrations captured on film; virtual monitoring of students’ progress using Google Docs; and the use of simulators.
Donnelly added: “The report concludes with a warning, that future success will depend on innovation in the sector, such as Reading College’s training kitchen where they film students as they work and use Google Docs for monitoring and assessment, rather than a top-down approach from policy-makers who often lack the technology or teaching experience.”
Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group, said: “The findings presented in this report are a welcome and timely contribution to the shaping of the vocational ‘digital classroom’ of tomorrow.
“Putting technology at the heart of vocational learning in the FE sector is vital for ensuring that we train tomorrow’s workforce to become the highly skilled and adaptable employees that British businesses need.”