Darlington College Awarded Funding to Become a ‘Demonstrator of Technology’

GENERAL Further Education College lecturers in the North-East have been given the go-ahead to train colleagues in schools as the Government ramps up the home-schooling programme which relies on technology.

Darlington College is one of only two further education establishments in the country to secure funding as part of a ground-breaking partnership between schools and tech giants.

Renowned for being in the top five percent of education establishments using technology in the delivery of learning, Darlington College has been awarded £150,000 to become a ‘demonstrator of technology’.

Lockdown, forced by the current Covid-19 pandemic, is forcing thousands of schools to develop a host of remote learning platforms to help children continue their school work.

As part of the EdTech Demonstrators programme, Darlington College lecturers will be at the forefront of moves to train teachers how to access and use efficiently Google and Microsoft’s education platforms so students can be taught effectively in their own homes.

They will be part of a network of schools and colleges sharing best practice on remote education ensuring a generation doesn’t miss out on the latest online resources, support, webinars and peer to peer help.

The Government has committed over £100m to boost remote education by providing devices, internet access for those most in need and free, expert technical advice on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “As schools, parents and children adapt to the changing environment we are all faced with, it is vital that we provide them with the right support so young people are able to continue their education.

“Through close partnership with the education sector and two of the world’s biggest tech companies, we are working to ensure that children can continue their studies while they are at home.”

Darlington College’s Deputy Principal Carole Todd said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be selected to be in the vanguard of this revolution in education.

“We decided some years ago to invest in the latest technology and this is now paying dividends with the successful delivery of our own remote learning practices and in helping schools and businesses across the country.

“Our staff are completely comfortable using the latest technology, which is proving to be exceptionally engaging with students, with many lecturers reporting 100 per cent attendances for online sessions.

“I believe the pandemic has pushed us beyond the watershed and that learning in this country will never be the same, it will involve the latest technology and the ability to teach remotely. So we are delighted to be chosen to lead this sea-change in learning and offer our expertise to help get remote learning up to full speed.”

Microsoft UK CEO Cindy Rose added: “Schools across the UK are facing unprecedented challenges as their staff demonstrate incredible resilience, imagination and passion to ensure children are safe and able to keep learning while at home. We are proudly working to support the roll out of remote learning technology to those who need it and to support the education community with the latest technology during this difficult time.”

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