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Microsoft believes the tide is turning

Last updated:
23rd January 2020

Giant charts growing importance of tech in education.

There’s rising interest in how technology can help solve some of the challenges in education, according to Chris Rothwell, director of education, Microsoft UK.

Speaking at Bett 2020, Chris observed that while technology has been used in education for some time, products such as cloud services and devices have become much more affordable. At the same time, digital skills have become a much more important topic in education and so the role that technology can play in education “has broadened out”. Chris said: “Technology is now being looked in the same way it is in other industries, with people asking how can we become more efficient, how do we save time, effort and money, is this a process we can automate to carry weight and workload?”

He added: “Probably, education is a little bit behind other industries in terms of adopting some of that thinking but I definitely see much more appetite, particularly from the multi-academy trusts – they’re typically larger organisations to do those things. We’re starting to have some pretty sophisticated conversations with customers about those sorts of topics.” According to Chris, the biggest conversations at the moment are about data.

“Customers are at different stages,” he said. “Some people are doing great things with their data and starting to get some good insight that’s helping them to identify students who are at risk or areas they need to focus on from an academic perspective but every school is starting to ask, I’ve got this data so how do I use it more effectively?”

As Chris pointed out, there’s so much more that’s possible once you start to digitise and automate.