Category: Technology Enhanced Learning

Speaking at #EduTech17 #EduTechScot @futurescot_news

I will be presenting at EduTech 2017 this coming May, discussing the role of digital technologies in learning, with a specific focus on the Digital Schools Awards, accredited by Education Scotland and supported by HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft and Intel. This is a full-day conference on STEM learning through digital technology and how it can be harnessed by educators to equip themselves and children with the tools to succeed.

Aimed at teachers and education professionals, the delegate-focused event features 9 interactive workshops and keynotes from some of the foremost international digital learning experts. The intensive sessions will help teachers address key gaps in their knowledge, and provide useful advice on how to get the most out of digital for their own development and of learners. The conference will be an opportunity for leaders to reflect on what can be done to help Scotland address its attainment gap and how digital can be used as part of a STEM learning toolkit. You will also be able to network with fellow educators, exhibitors and sponsors during breaks between the packed agenda of seminars and plenary sessions. A bit like teachers, EduTech 2017 is focused on results so the conference will be given national visibility through a full report featured in The Times Scotland.

Join in the discussion online: #EduTechScot


The Scottish Government’s STEM Education and Training strategy points to the important role STEM Education & Training has to play if we are to fully realise aspirations for all children and young people to have the skills and confidence needed to work, contribute and live in a technologically-advanced and digitally-inclusive society.

Why attend:

With the continued integration of technology into the school curriculum, EduTech 2017 will, through a range of plenary sessions and workshops, explore and debate the developments surrounding the use of technology in the classroom, including:

  • how to improve the skills and confidence of teachers using digital tools;
  • latest developments in classroom resources and assessment tools;
  • how we widen access to technology, address the attainment gap and more effectively position digital   tools at the centre of the STEM curriculum, empowering learners and creating tomorrow’s leaders of change.

Who should attend:

  • Head Teachers and Deputy Head Teachers
  • Teachers and Curriculum Managers
  • School Business Managers
  • Heads of eLearning
  • School Heads of IT
  • Local Authority Education Managers
  • Further and Higher Education Representatives
  • Librarians
  • Union representatives

As a speaker, I am able to offer you a 20% discount on attendance. Please email me or DM me via Twitter @leeandrewdunn for details.

Book now to secure your place at EduTech 2017.


Government and industry recognise and celebrate #DigitalSchools

Today (22nd February), 21 primary schools in Scotland have gained national ‘Digital School’ status for excellence in digital technology in teaching and learning. I had the pleasure of attending this event as a Programme Validator for the Digital Schools Awards. The schools were officially awarded the honour of being recognised as the first digital schools in Scotland by the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, at a ceremony held at Wormit Primary School.

Recognised by Education Scotland, the Digital Schools Award is designed to promote, encourage and reward schools that make the best use of digital technology in the classroom.   HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel are providing support to the programme, including a financial commitment of £110,000 in the first year as well as the provision of practical support and resources.

Schools that receive ‘Digital School’ status will demonstrate, among other things, the presence of a whole school digital strategy, evidence of how digital technology is being used to enhance learning and a commitment to ongoing professional learning for teachers. The programme has already highlighted some very innovative and collaborative approaches from schools and teachers regarding the integration of digital technology in teaching and learning, which will be an inspiration to other schools.

One in nine primary schools in Scotland, some 195 schools, have signed up to become a Digital School since the launch of the programme in September 2016. The programme aims to sign up 400 primary schools in Scotland to participate in its first full year.


Speaking about the awards programme Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, said: ‘Digital skills are an integral part of our everyday lives, and as such it is absolutely essential that we give young people the opportunities to understand and use them properly. The Digital Schools Awards Programme is a fantastic example of industry supporting education in Scotland and helping ensure our young people develop the skills and opportunities to flourish.

Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director at Education Scotland said, ‘The Digital Schools Awards Programme is a very valuable approach to embedding digital learning in primary schools. It fully supports and promotes the vision set out in the Government’s Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland. I am delighted to see these first set of awards being presented and the number of schools registering for the programme continuing to grow. I encourage all primary schools in Scotland who have not yet done so, to sign up to the programme.’

Neil Sawyer, Education Director at HP commented: ‘HP believes that the technology sector has a responsibility to support schools and ensure that the next generation is equipped with the knowledge needed to close the STEM and creative skills gap, and drive the economy of tomorrow. Being recognised as a Digital School is a great achievement and an important milestone. We congratulate the 21 schools receiving awards today.’

 Scotland performs very well in terms of integrating technology in the curriculum’, said Jane Grey, Sales Leader at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Scotland. We are proud to be part of the Digital Schools Awards initiative which is making a practical contribution to helping schools make the most of their digital capabilities. I would encourage more schools to sign up to the programme to take advantage of the comprehensive supports and expertise on offer.’

The newly awarded ‘Digital Schools’ are:

  • Bathgate Early Years Centre
  • Beith Primary School
  • Blackfriars Primary School
  • Bonhill Primary School
  • Calside Primary School
  • Dalry Primary School
  • Echt School
  • Kelvinside Academy
  • Kildrum Primary School
  • Kingswells Primary School
  • Kinlochleven Primary School
  • Kirkton Of Largo Primary School
  • Lundavra Primary School
  • Mearns Primary School
  • Netherlee Primary School
  • Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary School
  • Rosebank Primary School
  • The Compass School
  • The Edinburgh Academy Junior School
  • Whitehirst Primary School
  • Wormit Primary School

Speaking at #BETT2017 (and first impressions!)


Well! What can I say? BETT 2017 has turned out to be a wonderful experience, but then I expected nothing less. Rarely do I have the opportunity to see such an amazing assortment of technological wonders and rarely do I have the chance to mix with a diverse group of enthusiastic educators, industry representatives and entrepreneurs. Bett 2017 has a lot to offer and it makes one realise that education is only just scraping the tip of that proverbial iceberg.

My day started early. I had an exhibitors badge as a HP Partner, as well as a HE Leaders badge, so I was able to get into the hall before the doors opened at 10am. This provided the ideal opportunity to look around and to play with some of the technology before the mass of people arrived. Immersive technologies are the obvious theme this year. There was a range of virtual reality and augmented reality headsets on offer. I’ll be blogging about those in due course, so watch this space. I could not escape the abundance of screens, both projected and otherwise, on offer. Some of these were interactive and others were not, yet I could see an educational application for them all. The price (of course) remains the barrier to integration within the classroom and not the enthusiasm of teachers.

From a futurist perspective, there is an obvious instructional trend apparent in every aisle. 3D printing and maker spaces, blended learning, personalised learning, project based learning and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) / vocational \ technical and modular learning are the key areas on which educational technology seems to be focused today, with immersive technologies and mixed reality around the corner. I have accepted an invitation to do some work on VR and Mixed Reality over the coming months, so I’m quite excited about that.

I was delighted to present at the HP and Intel stand, talking about the Digital Schools Awards and primary education. My session was recorded and I’ll share it once it’s available from the media team. Following this, I spent a few hours in the Higher Education Summit, listening to a number of speakers. I was particularly impressed with Matt Zellor, a Product Manager for Microsoft Hololens. He delivered a great presentation and I have a few follow up activities to attend to on the back of his input. The rest of my afternoon was spent in conversation with people around the hall, sampling the exhibits (I have discovered that most of the technology is bolted down) and meeting with a few friends and colleagues. Networking with others is probably the best thing about these events. In reality, we are a small community and one tends to see the same names appear time and again.

I’ll be back tomorrow, so if you missed my session, I’ll be speaking again at stand D200 from 11am, before catching a flight back to Glasgow. Sadly, I won’t be around on Friday or Saturday, but my colleague Dr Victor McNair, a fellow DSAS Programme Validator, will be presenting at 11am for the second half of BETT.

I’ve taken a few photos and I’ll share them on my BETT 2017 page once I get back home.


Connect with me at #BETT2017 (Digital Schools Awards) @HP Stand (D200)



On 25th and 26th January, I will be speaking at BETT in London, about the Digital Schools Awards. BETT is the world’s leading education technology event celebrated in the UK every year and attended by over 45,000 people.

The Award is an industry leading award and public private partnership programme, supported by HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft and Intel. Schools that successfully complete the programme receive a nationally recognised digital schools award. Here in Scotland, this is accredited by Education Scotland.

If you would like to know more about the Award, register your interest in attending my presentation through the DSA website; also speaking on 27th and 28th will be my colleague and fellow Programme Validator, Dr Victor McNair. You will find us around the event, but based from stand D200 (with HP) by appointment.

I hope to see some of you there and I’m looking forward to writing up some thoughts about BETT, over the course of the event.


National Digital Learning Week #NDLW17 #DigitalDifference


Education Scotland has announced that National Digital Learning Week 2017 (#NDLW 17) will take place from 15-19 May 2017. This year the theme of the week will be ‘Digital Difference’ and throughout the week they’ll be asking us to share and celebrate the digital approaches which make a positive impact on classroom practice. The week will be packed with inspiring case studies from Early Learning and Childcare through to Senior Phase and beyond showcasing how digital makes a difference throughout the entire learner journey equipping young people for work. There will be online events and activities giving everyone the opportunity to get involved whether you’re a digital leader or simply just starting out and looking for some digital inspiration.

On the run up to the week there will be more details about how you can get involved. Meantime, they would ask that you put the dates in your diary and start to think about what you might do as a class or whole school to celebrate National Digital Learning Week 2017.


Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and Teaching #digilearnscot

This literature review was commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore how the use of digital technology for learning and teaching can support teachers, parents, children and young people in improving outcomes and achieving these ambitions.

This study is designed to help inform the development of a strategy for digital learning and teaching by providing evidence of how and why digital learning and teaching can benefit learners, teachers and schools. It also aims to identify the conditions that lead to its successful implementation and any differences between primary and secondary settings. In particular it focuses on how digital technologies can support and contribute to five specific educational priorities: raising attainment, tackling inequalities and promoting inclusion, improving transitions into employment, enhancing parental engagement, and improving the efficiency of the education system.

A literature search was undertaken, collecting nearly 1,000 items from academic, governmental and professional sources. These were reviewed to determine their thematic relevance and the strength of the evidence they presented. The most useful were then collated and assessed to:

  • Identify evidence of relationships between digital learning and teaching activities and the expected outputs, outcomes and impacts;
  • Show the relationships that exist between the digital learning and teaching activities and the outputs, outcomes and impacts for different beneficiaries (learners, parents, teachers, and the school); and
  • Identify which outcomes are immediate, medium-term and long-term.The key findings of the research are presented below, separated into the key thematic areas which were examined during the review. In the cases where studies of similar digital equipment, tools and resources have been systematically reviewed or where there is a large body of evidence from different studies which have measured change (from quantitative studies using counterfactuals and testing learners before and after), it is possible to state there is conclusive evidence. In other cases where the evidence base is weaker (mainly qualitative studies drawing on relatively small samples of learners and schools), it is only possible to state that there is indicative evidence or (where few cases) promising evidence.

More effective use of digital teaching to raise attainment happens when teachers are able to identify how digital tools and resources can be used to achieve improved learning outcomes, as well as having knowledge and understanding of the technology. This applies in all schools.

Where learners use digital learning at home as well as school for formal and non-formal learning activities these have positive effects on their attainment. This is due to the extension of their learning time. This is particularly important for secondary age learners.

There is indicative evidence that the use of digital tools and resources can help to reduce gaps in subject attainment when they are effectively implemented. There is promising evidence that the use of digital equipment and resources can help learners with additional support needs to improve their skills and competences in literacy and numeracy.

Teachers’ skills and competences in recognising how to use digital tools and resources and applying them effectively are critical to achieving positive results for learners with additional support needs or who are disdvantaged in other ways.

There is promising evidence that digital tools can, where effectively used, build skills in interactivity and collaboration, critical thinking and leadership for secondary age learners. These are considered to be vital skills by employers. There is promising evidence too that for secondary age learners, digital resources coupled with digital tools can increase knowledge and understanding of career pathways, applying for work, and working environments. These resources can make it easier for employers to provide help and support to learners.

In addition to the skills that teachers require to harness digital tools and resources to build learners’ employability skills, it is evident that they need to be prepared to develop learner-centred learning approaches. Support for learners to access digital equipment outside the classroom is also important.

There is promising evidence that using digital equipment and tools for direct communication with parents can improve learners’ and parents’ cooperation with requests from teachers about attendance, behaviour and support for learning.

Teachers are more likely to do this once they are more competent in using digital equipment and tools, and once schools use digital tools such as virtual learning environments to facilitate communication with parents.

There is promising evidence that teachers’ efficiency can be increased by using digital equipment and resources to prepare for teaching. There is similarly some qualitative evidence that digital tools and resources enable teachers to do their job better in relation to teaching, assessment and their own on-the-job learning and development.

While many studies clearly focus on specific learners in terms of age, settings (primary, secondary, special education) and domestic circumstances, none make any comparisons between the impact of digital technologies on educational priorities for different age groups. As a consequence, it has not been possible to identify any differences in the use and impact of digital technology in primary and secondary school settings. However, it is generally the case that the impacts found apply relatively equally to primary and secondary school learners.

Successful utilisation of digital technology depends not just upon sufficient access to equipment, tools and resources, but also on the availability of sufficient training, and knowledge and support networks for teachers. Providing teachers with this support will allow them to understand the benefits and applications of digital technologies and enable them to use digital technologies effectively.

Full text (sourced here): Scottish Government Publication

Analysis of Digital Media: Supporting University-Wide Online Learning

online learningThis report aims to provide an overview of a project which explores teaching and learning within a blended mode of study. Specifically, it looks to analyse the production of digital media and online social networking with a view to enhancing the learning experience. It was the overall aim of the project to contribute to the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy by developing media content; exploring the production process, analyse digital participation and explore the challenges and opportunities locally within schools. The project has placed emphasis on the production principles which enhance our online courses whilst providing a consistent quality of experience – recognising that our students often access course material produced by staff from across schools and colleges.

The project objectives where:

1. Use a variety of equipment and processes to create and edit media so that we may compare production processes, the cost of development and the end quality – to determine which offers the best value for money for teaching staff within schools.

2. Build capacity to deploy innovative pedagogy across a range of courses at undergraduate and taught postgraduate level.

3. Enhance our current suite of online media resources so that we may contribute to the development of the wider college strategy for e-learning and e-assessment.

4. Provide staff and students with a framework for local media production which can be used for career long professional learning e.g. media development, social networking skills, employability skills and developing graduate attributes.

The School of Education uses a range of digital and online technologies to support learning. It should be noted that transformational change does not necessarily occur within the technology itself, but resides in the agency from teachers to learners (Younie and Leask, 2013). Likewise, there is a fundamental difference in learning with technology and teaching with technology (Dunn, 2012). Indeed, to enable teaching staff to fully explore innovative pedagogical framing; resources and content must provide intellectual rigour, stimulate thinking and increase capacity for students to engage in contemporary forms of self-directed, autonomous learning. Duffy and Jonassen (1992) conclude that poorly structured learning environments are likely to create problems for the teacher and the student as a matter of course. The instructional design must allow the learner to fully interact with the intended cognitive nature of the course objectives. The experience and behaviour of the learner must be considered at all times. The composition of an online course demands a logical schema, which in itself mirrors the digital literacy practices and mastery of technologies which we (the teacher) expect from our students. There needs to be a strong catalyst for developing graduate attributes and to enhance learning.

This project has demonstrated that the premise is two-fold:

1. The teacher must consider the course holistically;

2. The teacher must consider the content specifically;

Further reading on this report:

Dunn, L., Dickson, B., Trinder, J., Kerr, J., and Andrews, M. (2015) Analysis of Digital Media: Supporting University-Wide Online Learning via Moodle. Project Report. University of Glasgow, Glasgow. (Unpublished)

Copyright © 2015 The Authors

A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge.

Content must not be changed in any way or reproduced in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holder(s).

When referring to this work, full bibliographic details must be given:

Some random thoughts on #edtech beyond 2020 – and why we need to think beyond ‘just’ tablets

spaces image

Technological change continues unabated, and with it societal and behavioural change. These factors directly impact how people and systems interact, how spaces are used, and how learning, research and support are delivered.

Today, I attended a presentation from Richard Marshall of Gartner Research. He provided an insight into the direction technology is heading and the changes we might expect to see in the future. My own interest in this is two-fold:

  • How might emerging technologies impact on learning and teaching and the pedagogy of instruction as a facilitated process;
  • How can we mesh the physical learning space with aspects of digital learning.

 Richard focussed on predicted changes and advances in end user technology such as mobile devices, collaboration, social networking, wireless, visualisation, plus many more topics which were intended to prompt discussion on how learning and teaching, research and service delivery might be influenced by predicted changes. The presentation explored how buildings and information services can be constructed to facilitate agility and ease of change while maximising learning and research.

Richard cemented my own stance – something that has frustrated me for some time now. There are many (not all, thankfully) educators who think on #edtech as the integration of tablet devices into the classroom. Yes, it is true this is where we are for the majority, and we still need to learn many lessons from this process. I can see, however, over the next few years, a dramatic shift away from this way of thinking in favour of a more aligned approach to interaction and collaboration which is promoted by improved learning spaces and the embodiment of new and emerging technologies. For example, the use of other portable and connected devices such as smart phones and augmented reality which can interface with tactile display walls and holographic projection systems. It has never been about the actual device used – it is about the agency of instruction and the interaction between learners and a mentor.

Below, I have concluded some (not so random) thoughts which occurred to me as Richard progressed through his seminar.

  • Predicting the future is difficult – but essential if education is to catch up with business and enterprise.
  • Current installation and technological instruction is out of date? What does this apply to and why?
  • Looking to 2018 is predictable – it will be much the same as it is now.
  • Looking to 2020 – we can make assumptions based on trends and advances in technology.
  • Looking beyond 2025 – imagination and realms of science fictions come to play as we see fully integrated ‘smart’ learning spaces.
  • Physical learning spaces and technological infrastructure must support new models of interaction. Do we all interact in the same way? Does this model change? If so , when, why and how?
  • Open access spaces are required, as are partitioned spaces – where does individual study and peer/tutor interaction start and stop?
  • What is the ‘agile’ minimum viable learning space that we require and what represents added value? What is the minimum practical refresh cycle – how can we create spaces, which can be reformed for other purposes in the future? These spaces need to promote learner-centred and teacher facilitated processes.
  • There is a huge diversity of portable devices – and the list is growing. They can’t do everything we want in work, home and play, so people often use more than one device e.g. phone, tablet, laptop. It’s important to consider the right technology at the right time. Throwing tablet computers into a classroom is not a solution to digital learning. It’s part of a bigger process.
  • In 2018, we’ll see similar devices in learning – hybrid devices will be the norm. We’ll start to see the integration of wearable devices like smart watches. Atomic interactions on small devices will allow us to manage ourselves and will mesh with building systems. This will continue into 2020 BUT we will start to see an increase in augmented reality. e.g. holo lens and electronic paper… and as we move into 2025 we’ll see smart paint and holographic interpretations e.g. creating tactile multi-touch surfaces in a variety of places. Smart pills and implanted technologies will become headline news.
  • Simultaneous collaboration spaces where multiple devices connect automatically to displays will become the ‘norm’.
  • Wireless infrastructure with cabled access points will remain – but grow. There are many exciting new wireless technologies due for release in the next few years which will benefit the use of technology for learning, for example, Galileo, 5G and advances in Bluetooth. All other devices connect to the wifi network. Local mesh technologies which interact with the building environment – smart intelligent buildings will emerge as we look to innovate.
  • Media streaming – increase on storage demand and network topology. Increase in internal and external bandwidth to allow 4k streaming in 2018 and 8k streaming in 2025.
  • Today we rely on projection systems which create dark spaces and this can lead to lack of interaction and a more didactic style of teaching. Smart displays and signage – video walls will start to take over and morph into active walls around 2025.
  • Technologies such as surface hubs and chromebox devices become the norm for meetings and collaboration where devices point to a URL without the need for a full operating system.
  • Connectivity and flexibility requires open access to cable trays and technological infrastructure for futureproofing.
  • Complex issues around the digital spaces and physical spaces. How can we manage the technology and provide support to building/technology users?
  • Digital collaboration technologies and the use of social media – we already share files, video/media and discussion.  Do we need to create spaces with no barriers? School policies often present a barrier to learning through online social technologies.
  • Flexible spaces must be self-service without the need for designated people to move furniture/walls etc. This may become automated by 2025 e.g. at the press of a button.
  • Issues around identity, location/presence, access, data, cohorts and activities will always need to be addressed.
  • There are risks – digital vandalism, impact of hacks, acceptable use of virtual and physical spaces.
  • We need to find the balance between all of these things which will happen as a matter of course – and what we actually need.