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EdTech Voice Notes with Vikki Liogier

Welcome to the first episode of EdTech Voice Notes, the podcast of the EdTech Summit.

The guest of this episode is Vikki Liogier, National Head of EdTech and Digital Skills at the Education and Training Foundation. With Vikki we discuss digital skills, the impact of the pandemic on the Further Education sector and the importance of an effective digital strategy.

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To hear more from Vikki Liogier, alongside others leading in delivering effective digital and technology-focused solutions for education, secure your free pass here to the EdTech Summit, taking place online on the 18-19th November 2020.


Alessandro Bilotta 0:50
Welcome to the EdTech voice notes, the podcast of the EdTech Summit. For each episode, we will interview leaders and experts on EdTech and digital strategies across the educational sector. The main question we'll try to answer each week is how can we bridge the gap between education and technology? Let's start with the first episode. Vicki, would you like to introduce yourself?

Vikki Liogier 1:13
Hi everyone. My name is Vicki Liogier, national head of EdTech and digital skills, actually Education and Training Foundation. What is ETF? Well, we are grant funded and sector owned and we are the national support body for the further education and training sector. And our mission is to support teachers, trainers, leaders, governors and employers in helping them in delivering excellent education and training services.

Alessandro Bilotta 1:47
I would say that at this point in time, the work you do with the Training and Education Foundation is even more important for the community. Would you like to tell us more about the projects you are currently working on?

Vikki Liogier 2:01
Yes, I am currently working on four main projects in England. The first one is the EdTech program on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform. The Enhanced Digital Taching Platform is the professional interface or educators and host hundred micro learning modules which are mapped on the digital teaching professional framework and we are currently developing an additional 50 micro learning modules, 10 have been launched last week, and 40 will be launched by January 21. Last week, we also released a CPD guide for educators to give them a way to find how best to approach the material that we have made available on the EdTech program, as well as a 60 minutes EdTech Teacher Starter Guide. We are currently also working on their work accessibility statement which should be released by the end of the week, on our essential digital skills program also hosted on the Enhanced EdTech platform. We are working on a series of webinars to support teachers in delivering the new essential digital skills entitlement to adults with no or low digital skills. We've integrated the essential digital skills program to the management dashboard on the enhanced platform so that it can support organizations in accelerating their digital learning strategies. And finally, across the platform, both the EdTech and GDS program, we are really focusing on fostering communities of practice. I'm also very much involved with colleagues actually ETF on the T levels development programs, YouTube, so I'm leading the digital route programs which has full courses. I'm also contributing to the strategy feeder program, the new to teaching and the construction programs. Finally, I am working in collaboration with DFE, Jisc, the Association of Colleges on the college collaboration fund or CCF projects, which are a national series of projects.

Alessandro Bilotta 4:34
I'm aware that you were delivering your work online even before locked down when this pandemic happened. But I believe that now more than ever, teachers will benefit from having access to these resources and they will value even more the work of the education and training foundation. Speaking from direct experience, how has lockdown affected your work?

Vikki Liogier 4:55
Well, the lockdown has been quite overwhelming to say the least, overwhelming in in a range of ways. First of all, obviously, we moved into a coordination of crisis management activities. And we released the first of a series of webinars on accessibility and inclusion on March 20th, so very soon after the start of the lockdown, and I will enhance a writing team Bob Powell and Jeff Rebec, also developed a guide to remote working to support the sector educators in delivering remote teaching and learning. The full lockdown has been really intensive, with a heavy and demanding workload to support the sector. But at the same time, I'm sad it was overwhelming because it was just remarkable how the sector came together. And how collaborative everyone was. So we also work collaboratively with the Association of Colleges, the SQFI and DFE to coordinate and join up our activities. And within GTF, we launched she hashtag ETF support Effie in order to be responsive to the needs of the sector.

Alessandro Bilotta 6:22
No, I agree with you. During these uncertain times, definitely teachers have done their best to support all learners across the education sector. So definitely something that they really need to commend them for. And in your opinion, what will be the consequences for colleges in the short and medium long term of this lockdown?

Vikki Liogier 6:47
It is clear that lockdown triggered challenge and it is important for the further education sector to really build from the momentum. Colleges and of course FE sector should now have realized that digital capability and harnessing new technologies is no longer a good to have, but to must to have. In a short term. It's important for us to really strengthen the digital capability support framework within our organizations, but also look at the long term in terms of investing in strategic skills and a strategic development plan that gives a clear vision and roadmap for the organization. So that it is fully joined up. We should be teaching learning and assessment strategy, and this includes, of course, professional development of teachers, trainers, as well as a support staff within the organization. Now, we conducted in 2018, a barriers and enablers research project looking at the barriers to embedding new technologies within the education sector and the further education sector, essentially. And one of the clear, the main barriers we identified was the lack of vision from a senior management teams and the need to support the senior management team with their adoption of new technologies and building their own digital capabilities.

Alessandro Bilotta 8:38
Do you think that in the past few months, there's been a shift in the attitude towards EdTech?

Vikki Liogier 8:45
Yes definitely, during the COVID-19 lockdown, the enhanced platform as witnessed a surge in usage with educators and not only from the FE sectors, but educators from different education sectors. And they are all eager to really explore new ways of teaching and supporting their learners remotely. So I don't know if you're familiar with Sherrington, but he wrote a blog recently, which was about the balance between curriculum and pedagogy. And now, there is really a third essential consideration, which is technology as a tool to communicate, collaborate, and make knowledge and skills stick.

Alessandro Bilotta 9:35
Why should training specifically on digital skills be a priority for educators and actually everyone working in education?

Vikki Liogier 9:43
To respond to your question, Alessandro, I think it's first of all important to define what digital skills are. So in my mind, I can organize them in three groups. First of all, we are essential digital skills, that we all we need for life and work. And then I would say that as educators, we also need she EdTech skills, which are the digital skills that will enhance teaching, learning and assessment. So they are really how do we use new technologies to redefine our pedagogical approaches. And then as a third group, I would say, we have industry related digital skills, which are effectively the dual professionalism that teachers in the further education sector are dealing with. So it's obviously the expertise in teaching, learning and assessment, but also she industry sector, digital skills, and both are changing fast, the world of work really is changing and no industry sector can avoid technology's transformative impact, and not least education. And therefore, I would say that our remit as educators is to inspire growth and prepare independent thinkers ready for a world of work. So we're remedies to help learners build understanding, using real world tools to do real world work in the real world way. Now, if the real world is moving then so should the education sector.

Alessandro Bilotta 11:37
You are also one of the members of the EdTech Summit steering committee, providing us guidance in shaping the agenda for the show. How's the experience been so far?

Vikki Liogier 11:48
It was a really stimulating and constructive experience, Alessandro. And it was great to exchange ideas with fellow committee members, it meant that we were able to reflect on edtech and digital capabilities from a different range of perspectives. And that's really important, so that we were able to shape fusion for the show with them, perhaps a more holistic coverage of education in the UK, not only in terms of sector representation, but also in terms of roles and stakeholders groups, and how these can collaborate to accelerate teach to learning within an organization.

Alessandro Bilotta 12:37
The show will focus on digital strategies. And in Europe what's the importance of our fully realized digital strategy for any educational organization?

Vikki Liogier 12:49
Well, I think that very few further education organizations have designed an effective EdTech strategy. And one of the issues that many Effie providers face today is that their governing bodies are not ready to challenge them, and then to support and encourage their digital transformation. Yet, the benefit of fully harnessing new technologies are gigantic for any organization. To name a few means that your organization is going to become far more a giant, more efficient in its resource management. It's going to help your organization streamline its processes, avoiding duplication of tasks, reducing teachers workload for automation, it's going to enable a better understanding of up to date data for centralization of data integration of systems. And, for instance, reviewing live data and identifying students at risk at a very, very early stage through effective data processing, and most importantly, analysis. It's also going to promote more effective marketing and communications. We should broadening access to new markets and building more effective partnership opportunities. It's going to empower staff and enhance the learning experience through personalization, differentiation and engagement and safeguarding of course, and also, very importantly, as I mentioned before, building learners employability skills and work experience. Finally, it's about building a learning and growth mindset culture within your organization, across all the different strata of the organization. More than ever, education institutions must rethink how they operate. The digital revolution is impacting every industry in new ways of engaging, interacting and operating. And the development of competent learners in the digital age is key feature.

Alessandro Bilotta 15:22
I do have one final question, what is the key to bridging the gap between education and technology?

Vikki Liogier 15:31
This is a tough question Alessandro. Well, I suppose to make digital transformation happen is really important to have a complete alignment from the board, meaning the governing bodies for GE executive team and for all organization. It is about integrating systems and processes so that they talk to one another. And they are streamlined, as well as empowering staff by investing in their digital capability development, and also investing in the digital capability development of the learners. Leading in the digital age is really about understanding how to take advantage of the opportunities brought by digital innovation. And it's also managing the consequences of digital meaning cyber security's and prevents and safeguarding and all those things. We are training students to become carriers surfers will ride the digital wave and embracing digital disruption with multitudes of jobs and a portfolio of carriers. Because it's no longer one job for life, we will change careers and jobs constantly. We don't know what the future looks like. So the one thing I would encourage any education institution to do is to build on a culture of growth mindset, and lifelong learning, while making sure that the processes within your organization support the delivery of the ethos.

Alessandro Bilotta 17:20
That was a tough question, but yours was a great answer. So thank you for your time and for answering my questions Vickki.

Vikki Liogier 17:27
Your welcome Alessandro, and thank you again for inviting me to take part in the steering committee and putting together the agenda for the EdTech summit show in November, and also inviting me for this podcast.

Alessandro Bilotta 17:46
Just a reminder to our listeners before we go. The EdTech summit will take place on 18th and 19th of November 2020. The full agenda of the show is live on Registration to attend the show is open and free. I'm Alessandra content lead of the EdTech Summit. Until next time, goodbye.