@VodafoneUK today (20 Oct) announced trials of ‘Connected Education’, a new suite of digital services for teachers and pupils. It includes tablet devices for teachers and children, mobile Wi-Fi connectivity, advanced-grade security and technology consultancy for educators.

It also incorporates Microsoft Teams for Education, an online classroom environment where students can connect with teachers and classmates easily and safely.

The pilot will be running for six months at St Joseph’s primary school in Newbury.

  • Vodafone launches Connected Education: a suite of digital tools and services including tablet devices, connectivity and security.
  • Includes mobile Wi-Fi to boost school connectivity and specialist training to help teachers with digital skills.
  • Incorporates Microsoft Teams for Education.
  • Pilot will run for six months in Newbury, Berkshire.

With an estimated one million children and young people in the UK with inadequate access to technology at home[1], providing digital devices and connectivity can help bridge the digital divide. For children, access to education platforms at a young age will help them gain vital digital skills, essential for many jobs of the future[2].

Connected Education provides straightforward access to classwork, school materials and resources suited to a range of learning styles. It enables a teacher to provide an in-classroom and remote learning experience at the same time, using tools such as video and creating digital exercise books. This ensures children forced to miss school due to illness or quarantine can continue to join the class if they are well enough. 

Time-consuming tasks – such as lesson preparation and analysis of data to monitor a child’s progress – can be partly automated via the Microsoft Education platform, giving teachers an estimated 30% more time for student-focused activities such as developing relationships or supporting those who need more help[3]

The Connected Education package includes technology consultancy from independent provider Tablet Academy to help Heads understand how to digitise their school and get the most from technology.  Teachers also benefit from digital skills training to help ensure they can get the best from the solution.  Vodafone provides telephone support so issues can be quickly resolved. 

Michael Robinson, Deputy Head Teacher at St Joseph’s School said:

“We are delighted to be working with Vodafone and excited about the opportunities this pilot could present. We hope it will provide teachers with new and creative ways to deliver teaching; and enable Year Six children at our school to experience something they wouldn’t normally have access to. We recognise that using such tools as a part of their school day will help develop vital digital skills without them even realising.”

Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone UK, said:

“We are excited to be working with St Joseph’s in Newbury to trial our Connected Education solution. The recent months have highlighted the importance of digital education platforms that children can access whenever they need to.  We hope this pilot will showcase the effectiveness of such provision. By incorporating devices, connectivity, specialist training and advanced security, we can help increase vital digital skills and ensure no child is left behind, whatever their circumstances.”

Connected Education has been developed by Vodafone Business Ventures, which combines social purpose and technical expertise to change lives for the better. A full commercial proposition of Connected Education is due to be available to educators and councils across the UK during 2021.

Vodafone recently announced it is working with Coventry University to trial state-of-the-art virtual reality learning for student nurses and health professionals over the next phase of 5G technology.

[1] Nominet Trust 2019

[2] DCMS reported in 2019 that 82% of online job advertisements require digital skills.

[3] Microsoft and McKinsey & Company 2020.

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