Having just returned from BETT 2019, which once again provided many answers, but also raised equally as many questions, I’ve been reflecting on the past 12 months…

This time last year I went to BETT as digital leader for Harrogate Grammar School, representing The Red Kite Learning Trust with a few colleagues, eager to stay at the cutting edge of educational technology.  A few months later in 2018, I was working with Concept4 to develop a planner app for Harrogate Grammar School – this would lead to a complete change of direction career wise, but more of that later….

My South African Adventure

At the show last year I visited the ITSI stand who bridge the gap between traditional and technology-led teaching; simplifying and enhancing learning to make education visible and integrated. Through their partnership with publishers, educators, students and parents, their research-supported tools enable learning anywhere, anytime.

I left my details having been interested in a product ITSI were promoting and little did I know that 4 weeks later, in Pretoria, two students would pull my name out of the hat resulting in me winning a visit to South Africa, the country at heart of their business!

I set off in May 2018 half-term to visit ITSI. During my time in South Africa I met the founder of ITSI, Dr. J. Lieb Liebenberg. As their CEO since 2006, he’s been involved in learning research and development and has delivered academic papers on e-learning as well as being published on the subject in peer-reviewed journals.

It’s really worth visiting the ITSI website, they have fascinating blog articles which I find thought provoking as they often highlight the latest educational research. https://www.itsieducation.com/

When I visited South Africa, I went to Litha Primary School in Guguletu. The context of this school made their resilience and ambition absolutely humbling and was truly inspiring. With little to no funding, no school fees and children from very challenging backgrounds, the Principal, Dr Sedick du Toit, fights with such a passion and persuasive personality to ensure the education his students experiences is as good as it can possibly be. ITSI have contributed by helping with their miEbook digital text book app. Students were engaged, energised and full of questions with such confidence and respect, it was something to behold.

MY Edtech Adventure Continues…

After 28 years teaching in September 2018, I embarked on a new career challenge and started my new role with Concept4 as educational consultant for Homework4.

So, what is Homework4? Simply put, Homework4 replaces the traditional school paper planner as a homework setting, tracking and mentoring online tool. We’re extremely proud that it:

  • Enhances students’ learning and improves homework outcomes across the school
  • Save teachers’ time so they can achieve more with individual timetables and classes synced directly from your MIS
  • Helps students manage their time more effectively with 24/7 access to timetables, homework and resources
  • Simplifies homework setting, tracking and monitoring and includes attendance and behaviour information
  • Enables greater engagement for parents in helping them to support their child’s learning in school and at home
  • Is cost effective when compared to other planner solutionIs easily accessible via our IOS and Android apps or any web-connect device

Having been in my new post almost six months, I’m thoroughly enjoying the challenges it brings. Being able to combine my knowledge and experience of both the education and EdTech sectors has provided a broad range of new experiences. Visiting school with my new hat on is always a pleasure and working closely with schools looking to embrace technology is a journey I’m really privileged to be part of.

Stephen Woollard
Education Consultant