EdTech for inclusion

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Technology supports a more inclusive education for students with SEND, says Jon Moore.

Inclusive education has not always been a default in the classroom, but we have grown more progressive, and so have our means of educating students. This new mindset, coupled with ongoing evolutions of education technology, has paved the way for great strides to improve SEN learning. Each child with SEN is entitled to receive up to £6,000 in funding from their school per year. With this level of funding, what sort of resources can and should schools be investing in? 

Since the Covid pandemic, teachers, students and schools have become more aware of the capabilities of modern EdTech. Breaking down the barriers that stopped students from being able to enter the physical classroom, they were transported to a virtual one where engagement was equally as personalised, and able to guarantee education continued irrespective of those students’ needs. 

One example of how technology can help inclusion is online learning, for example through  cloud-based lesson portals. While Zoom and Microsoft Teams do in theory have the capacity to host full remote learning, platforms like Lumio, specifically designed for such purposes, accommodate break-out rooms, annotation and teamwork to ensure that all students benefit from the lessons. These modern platforms also come with a wave of SEN-related accessibility features that help those differently-able students to engage with their studies in a way that accommodates their needs and preferences.

■ The SMART board in use.

Research what your school and students need. Identify technology gaps by asking students and teachers where improvements could be. Taking unresearched EdTech decisions is not a choice schools can afford to make. By looking at the full spectrum of needs from evaluation to implementation, it’s important to ensure that the voices of the whole school community are taken into consideration.  Implementing technology solutions in the classroom isn’t always as simple as flicking the on switch. School decision makers need to ensure that a holistic approach to training (school, student and teacher included) is built-in, so that there is confidence in how to use any new products and platforms. 

By the time you’ve finished reading this article, the education system is likely to have identified another student who will benefit from SEN support, and whose school and educators will be working to accommodate that student’s learning requirements. Technology both in-school and remotely is making it possible and easier than ever to implement a plan to help all students learn. The evaluation and commitment to a greater immersion of technology can be a daunting decision for schools to make, but the outcome can provide a positive focus that better accommodates some SEN students. Modern EdTech isn’t a ‘nice to have’ any more, it’s a necessity to provide quality, inclusive education for students. 

Jon Moore
Author: Jon Moore

Jon Moore
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Jon Moore is an Engagement Manager at SMART Technologies. Jon suffers from dyslexia himself and has spent his time working at SMART, helping schools grow and evolve their SEN strategies.

Website: smarttech.com/en/education
X: @SMART_Tech
Facebook: @SMARTTechnologies

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