BETT 2016: Education minister Nicky Morgan to champion better use of pupil data

The government will champion better use of data in schools in order to track pupils' progress, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said today.

Such a move would also improve communication between schools and the Department for Education (DfE), she told delegates at the BETT show in London.

"It is too often difficult to get data out of education systems," Morgan said in her keynote speech. "Systems need to talk to each other."

To this end, the DfE plans to pilot common data standards for school data sharing, with Morgan saying these systems need to improve to support data collection and exchange.

While other speakers at the show promoted technology as a way to let children remember fewer facts, or recommended radical changes to traditional education in favour of a computer-centric curriculum, the Education Secretary took a differing view.

"We see technology as an aide and not a replacement for excellent teaching," she told delegates, adding that technology would need to be "evidence-based and outcome driven" in order to get government backing.

"Every young innovator should have access to the technology they need," Morgan continued. "All our children should learn the benefits of technology."

Contrary to others, Morgan saw "teachers as our most valuable resource for the highest quality education" and the government will focus on developing top talent to teach computer science. These teachers would need to work with employers to upskill people for the future.

While she said access to the internet and search engines were "no substitute for knowledge", Morgan did promote the use of technology to cut down on paperwork. "Online and computerised testing could minimise teacher workload," she said.

Picture courtesy of Number 10

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.