The essence of transformed education

When England had a government that was actively promoting the use of digital in schools, in the early 1990s, there was much talk of 'transformed education'. Though it was also clear that policy makers had no clear idea what this meant in practice.

Transformed education - getting much higher achievement for the same teaching input (or maybe even a little less teaching) - is really very simple. It happens when schools get pupils to engage much more strongly in learning, using time in a more concentrated way in class and committing more of their own time to things that support their learning.
How schools get this to happen is a little more complicated and highly individual. Schools have to tailor their approach to their students, community and educational philosophy. Whatever the specific approaches are at their heart will be a ‘virtuous spiral of improvement’. This was seen in all the more than 100 very different approaches adopted by schools that gained the Naace Third Millennium Learning Award. The school generates amongst all the pupils a much more positive attitude to school and learning. Technology is the key enabler but the change in attitude comes about because of how pupils view their learning capabilities and achievements.

This 'virtuous spiral' involves:
Capture evidence of progression - so pupils can clearly see and be proud of their successes. Make progress much more important than achievement. Achievement will eventually happen if there is progress, without progress achievement will not happen.
Share data on achievement - make the inability to do something YET a reason for help from others, not an embarrassment. Make it acceptable not to be able to do something yet, not a cause of shame. Make it clear to the whole class which students to go to for help. And find something that each pupil can feel they are achieving, if not academic then sporting, creative or personal.
Pupils leading learning - teaching others is the surest way to reinforce your own learning. Create opportunities for pupils to teach each other. Often pupils can explain something to a colleague better than the teacher, as they themselves have had to recently gain understanding of the topic.
Collaboration and shared work - this hugely increases the airing and discussion of current understanding. Establish ground rules for constructive criticism of each other's work, such as 'find two things you like and one thing you would change'.
Digitise pupils' work - make it easy to share and discuss. Have a class area on the school's online platform that can be shared with the class and parents. Have areas where the school publicly celebrates pupils' work.
Create audiences for pupils' work - in-school and out of school, which becomes easy once work is digitised. There is no limit to how wide these audiences can be. A school radio or TV station may celebrate the work of only some pupils, but will act as an incentive for all to strive to achieve better work.
Increase feedback to pupils on their work, giving them a clearer understanding of their progression and delight in successes. Clear feedback on work and how to improve it has been shown to be a critical factor in raising pupils' achievement. The feedback of course also identifies the evidence of progress that needs to be captured.