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How EdTech removes traditional barriers to learning

One of the greatest benefits of EdTech is how it can remove traditional barriers to learning with a suite of accessible resources that lead to better student engagement and motivation.

The education landscape has been irrevocably altered as a result of COVID-19, and educational technology (EdTech) has played more of a part in how students learn than it has ever done in its very short history (in comparison to the history of education). However, one could argue this alteration is merely an acceleration of what was to come: the use of technology to impact positively on students.

One of the greatest benefits of EdTech is how it can remove traditional barriers to learning with a suite of accessible resources that lead to better student engagement and motivation. Similarly, EdTech optimises online tutoring. From personalised learning tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) to alter a learning pathway that suits a student’s current needs, to communication tools that give students access to the very best tutors, regardless of location. Let’s look at these in greater detail.

As part of its provision, Cognita Tutoring provides students with access to one of the most powerful education tools in the world, CENTURY. CENTURY is a learning platform, developed by an award-winning team of experienced teachers, neuroscientists and technologists, that uses AI to improve student engagement and understanding. CENTURY creates learning paths of content, tuned perfectly to the individual needs of the student based on how they interact with it, picking up on mistakes and altering the learning path accordingly to reinforce knowledge and correct mistakes. Ultimately, students learn at their own pace and, in doing so, embed the learning more deeply. Cognita Tutoring’s team of tutors utilise this platform between sessions to reinforce learning. This builds student confidence and resilience as CENTURY can instantly address misconceptions and support progress without the student having to wait until the next tutoring session. It presents tutors – and parents – with a unique dashboard of each student’s progress to better inform what learning takes place each session. The tutoring team understand precisely what EdTech is required for students not only to learn, but to excel.

Virtual tutoring spaces can be easily initiated through software such as Microsoft Teams[1], creating a central hub used to engage with students and communicate with parents after each session. Teams was used by Cognita teachers during online learning so successfully through the pandemic, that it was singled out by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a recent broadcast. (Cognita’s approach to the use of technology is well documented online due to the large-scale acceleration of EdTech across their schools in the UK and Europe[2]). When qualified teachers act as online tutors for Cognita Tutoring, it means they are already experts at knowing how to harness the best of remote learning. They understand how Teams supports the delivery of lessons, and they know how to enhance the key aspects of learning online. The use of collaborative documents, informal assessment through conversation, and low-stakes questions using Microsoft tools, are powerful communication assets for sharing content with students and communicating with parents after each session.

Individually, these tools may appear either simple or obvious in terms of how EdTech can remove barriers to learning. Yet the greatest impact is achieved when qualified teachers take this and all the evidence gathered from online learning over the past 18 months, to crystalise the most important elements and utilise it together to deliver online tutoring sessions.

Andy Perryer

Andy Perryer is Digital Learning Advisor for Cognita Schools in the UK.

[1] As used by Cognita Tutoring

[2] Independent Schools Council, June 2020: https://www.isc.co.uk/media-enquiries/isc-blogs/no-more-snow-days/; Microsoft Customer Stories, March 2021: https://customers.microsoft.com/en-gb/story/1354208951863696894-cognita-schools-education-azure-en-united-kingdom