Edtech 50 Awards: Meet the schools leading the way in the 21st century classroom

By Ballyclare High School on 13 May, 2019

Gareth Shaw - ICT - Edtech 50 Judge

Gareth Shaw – ICT – Edtech 50 Judge – House of Lords 2019


Edtech 50 Awards: Meet the schools leading the way in the 21st century classroom

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family”– it’s difficult to argue with this famous quote from Kofi Annan but in 2019 it’s clear that if we are to maximise the impact of education, then technology has a huge role to play. And if you’re looking for evidence, look no further than the results of the recent Edtech 50 Schools initiative in the UK.


The awards are supported by Intel, Jisc, NetSupport and in partnership with the Chartered College of Teaching, Independent Schools Council and TES. The ambition is to shine a light on this work in order to drive digital transformation and innovation across the entire school sector.


The Edtech 50 Schools are making the sensible case that education technology, if used well and coherently, can be of real benefit to education, pupils and teachers. The winners of Edtech 50 Schools were recently announced and the results showcased some of the brilliant work going on in many of the 30,000 schools across the UK with entries representing every corner of the nation and schools of all sizes and budgets.


The list of 50 institutions highlights digital flagship schools that demonstrate a focused sense of what is useful to them in terms of technology – whether it be in supporting teaching, cutting teacher workload, collaboration across staff teams or consolidating knowledge, enhancing creativity and broadening experiences across the curriculum. Sharing these teacher-led strategies and techniques can help to inspire and inform teachers and leaders at other schools and empower them to develop digital strategies of their own.


A snap shot of the winners include;

Alsager School in Cheshire chose to highlight a community art and technology project its students are working on Sway Life Stories. This involves students working with people with dementia, their families, friends and carers in the local community to create personalised “Life Stories” using Microsoft Sway. It’s linked to the town’s bid to become a dementia friendly town. The judges love the idea of making Life Stories books and see a potential to introduce the concept into other schools. Or as another judge puts it: “What a fantastic way to improve learners’ digital literacy whilst also engaging with the community.”


Olive Tree Primary School in Bolton recorded voice feedback which has significantly improved students’ understanding of teachers’ feedback and their ability to progress more quickly compared to traditional handwritten marking. Teacher workload, too, has been significantly reduced by using digitised voice feedback. There’s a reduction in teacher workload of around 4.5 hours per week.


Hove Park School in Brighton and Hove, introduced 1:1 iPads in 2013 with an emphasis on digital fluency across 
its work and as a senior leader says; “We believe 
we have a duty to provide our students with an education for the 21st century where effective 
and innovative use of technology is important to 
the demands of the modern world.” It is important for the school that much of this work is also led by student Digital Leaders – this includes hosting many international visitors to the school; accessing a range of learning activities off site and then sharing their experiences with students back at school.


“The quality of the approximately 200 entries was simply outstanding. The diversity in these entries was startling in the different hardware and software solutions each school was employing, but paradoxically, all the entries were in one sense analogous in that the technology was there as a vehicle to take each learner into deeper learning that would otherwise been impossible without its use.” – Gareth Shaw, EDTech 50 Judge


By Gareth Shaw, Edtech 50 Judge & ICT Strategy Leader Ballyclare High School

@MrShawBHS      BLOG https://goo.gl/pJU3Qz


A full list of the Edtech 50 winners is available here