Despite increased efforts in recent years to level the playing field in education, the gulf in attainment between disadvantaged children and their more privileged peers continues to grow – with a devastating knock-on effect on students’ life skills and opportunities. According to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, there has been no improvement in attainment in schools during the past 20 years. This gap has further grown because of the disproportionate impact lost learning has had on more disadvantaged pupils, and catch-up support is now a priority in schools across the country.

As society continues to progress and improve with the aid of technology and advances, how can we support one of our most important sectors to progress and ensure no child is left behind in their learning? Now more than ever, it’s critical for the education sector to embrace new innovations and utilize digital technology for the benefit of students most in need of support. Intelligent Learning Platforms (ILPs) can be a fantastic tool in a teacher’s arsenal in the fight to ensure that no child is left behind. For learners, ILPs can be a reassurance that they are not falling behind and that they can learn at a pace that best suits them.

Inclusive learning spaces that help pupils thrive

In today’s classroom, teachers will typically have a range of students of all levels and abilities in one room to support. Digital technology has the potential to democratize learning and ensure each child gets the personalized support they need to thrive. By using data analytics, ILPs can identify how quickly a pupil is completing work and the accuracy of it. This allows pupils to work at their own pace and repeat work questions as many times as they need to understand the problem. For example, in a standard classroom setting, the teacher will often have to move on from explaining the problem if the majority of the class has understood. This can often mean a child will mentally tap out as they cannot keep up with the pace of work. However, if a pupil is struggling with a maths problem, an ILP will allow them to redo the question if they get the wrong answer, as many times as it takes for them to get the correct answer.

Alternatively, if the majority of the class does not understand, but a small number of pupils do, teachers often go through said equation multiple times to ensure that the whole class understands. This can result in some of the pupils feeling bored and disinterested and eventually, leave some pupils feeling resentful and held back. However, ILPs allow these pupils to move through work quickly so they can continue to challenge themselves and improve their knowledge and skills. This means teachers can get the very best out of them and get them to reach their fullest potential.

The powerful data analytics capabilities and the option to tailor and set work for individual students further make ILPs well-suited for children with SEND. They allow children with special educational needs to remain in the classroom as the technology means they can work at a pace that is appropriate to them.

Working environments that help get the best from teachers

For teachers, being able to identify the students in their classroom who are struggling is one of the most important elements of their job. However, with the current pressures facing teachers, this has become increasingly difficult for teachers to focus on and achieve. Frequently, schools and teachers are required to provide wrap-around care for their students, which can take energy and resources away from academic teaching and put towards pastoral care. Through recent innovative advancements in technology, such as the development of ILPs, teachers are now able to provide much more tailored work for their pupils. This can open up a lot of time, which for many working in the education sector, is an incredibly valuable resource that is difficult to come by.

One of the ILP’s innovative features is that by using data analytics it can monitor and tailor work for pupils, allowing more time to spend focusing on pupils who need additional support. Providing a monitoring system allows teachers more time to develop relationships with pupils in their classroom who may be struggling or may be quite challenging to teach. Helping with this can only act to improve the relationships between teachers and pupils, which itself will improve their well-being at work, which is critical to addressing the crisis of recruitment and retention in schools.

Better for teachers, better for pupils

Good teachers are the lifeblood of a good education. They inspire pupils, provide emotional support, and encourage young people to be the best versions of themselves. However, in a sector where teachers are being pushed to the brink with exorbitant workloads, real-term pay cuts, and poor school funding, it is increasingly difficult for them to perform to the best of their ability. Intelligent Learning Platforms can play a part in beginning to redress some of these issues, and in doing so, can ensure that children are given the very best education, with the work and attention they need as individuals to thrive.

As we continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic as a society, technology continues to be at the forefront of this recovery, assisting positive changes in society. And education is no different. The education sector and children’s development are at a critical inflection point where lost learning has had a huge impact and radical developments are needed. Embedding technology further into how we teach and learn will not resolve every single issue, however, it can be a positive step forward to addressing the learning gaps between children and ensuring that no child is left behind.

Graham Glass is the founder and CEO of CYPHER Learning, which offers game-changing training and learning solutions for businesses, educational institutions, and entrepreneurs around the world. I am passionate about leveraging better experience design in digital platforms that delight learners and make organizations more effective.

As a serial entrepreneur and innovator, I took my university lectures on training dynamics to high-technology organizations, then launched a series of companies culminating in CYPHER Learning, whose platforms are used today by more than 20,000 organizations. I’ve also written multiple books and spoken internationally on the case for better learning systems in the 21st century.

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