08 Mar

EdTech: Harnessing the power of tech to promote education.

For over a hundred years International Women’s Day has been celebrated to mark the achievements of women, and to call for gender parity around the world. So, on March 8th, members of the Company and their guests came together to observe this important occasion with a panel discussion on Education Technology (EdTech).

But why EdTech on International Women’s Day?  Although we have seen some  progress in the last decade with more and more women occupying roles in STEM, far more needs to be done to encourage women and girls into technology. Out of the people working in Tech roles, only 17% are women with only 5% of leadership positions being held by women. So a panel was put together to address several interesting and highly relevant topics such the role of technology in education, empowering women in STEM and closing the digital divide gap.

The panel consisted of Meena Wood, a former HMI (Ofsted) who works across the British and International Education sectors, accompanied by Furnaz Ahmad, Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning at London Design Engineering Universal Technical Colleges, Parveen Dhanda,  Head of Programmes at Tech Nation and Steve Dineen  Founder of Fuse Universal, the enterprise learning platform and Fuse School. It was skilfully  moderated by Dr Terri Simpkin, MBA Director, University of Nottingham and Founder of Braver.Stronger.Smarter.

The debate opened with discussion about the significance of EdTech. Steve spoke about the power of EdTech to make learning accessible, especially to those in Africa who find it difficult to access education by traditional routes. Meena demonstrated how EdTech can make education more relevant to students and Furnaz stressed the importance of bringing employers into schools which can be done more easily virtually. Parveen highlighted the opportunity EdTech gives to personalise learning. All agreed that work needs to be done on the curriculum so that education keeps pace with the technology we now have. The importance of self-regulation, creative thinking skills, and the need to be aware of mental health issues and wellbeing were also raised. On the digital divide, concern was raised about all underrepresented groups, not just women, and was it suggested that the lack of diversity and inclusion in this area could be addressed at least partially by having more role models in the sector.

There were many questions and not time to answer them all. (For Meena Wood’s written responses please click here). Huge thanks go to Liveryman Oana Lazar for putting together such a distinguished panel of speakers and for organising such an interesting and uplifting event.  

Sue Algeo