A brief history of Catalysed Ltd, accelerating learning through digital technologies

Many years ago now, when I first joined education after working in commerce, I struggled to understand all the fuss about technology and education. Many people seemed to believe that technology could somehow transform education, but for all my expertise in digital technologies I just couldn't see it. I figured it was because I didn't really understand education, even though I was a psychologist who understood the way humans learned. So I decided to study for a PhD in order to find out.

Wind forward a decade or two, and many people still think that technology will transform education. I disagree, and I now have the research evidence to back that thinking up. In practice many schools still struggle to effectively align their needs with the potential benefits that digital technologies might provide, but my doctoral research suggested there is a way around that problem; something I call the APT methodology. APT is shorthand for the Alignment of Pedagogy and Technology, it's a structured way of thinking about the differing components within an educational technology context, i.e. computers, networks, leaders, teachers, apps, students, safety, etc., ultimately designed to align the needs of teachers and learners with the specific affordances of individual digital technologies. It's all about getting the right technologies, in the right place, with the right people, at the right time - and through that process accelerating learning.

The word apt is generally accepted to mean something ‘that is appropriate or suitable’, but tellingly only ‘in specific circumstances’; it suggests a relational approach. Something that is apt is only apt within a context, an apt response to a suggestion, or an apt tie for a suit, or perhaps an apt wine for a meal. Similarly the APT methodology aims to find which digital technologies are most ‘apt’ within a specific pedagogic context.
“It is not whether technology is used (or not) which makes the difference, but how well the technology is used to support teaching and learning. This alignment of technology and learning is important.”
Higgins, Xiao and Katsipataki (2012, p. 15)†

Alignment is central to what Catalysed aims to do, but at the end of the day what I'm trying to achieve with the company is nothing more or less than what all good educators are trying to do - improve learning outcomes for students. I may not believe that technology can transform education, but I do believe that is has a role to play, and I know it can improve learning outcomes for students. Just as a catalyst can accelerate a chemical reaction, so digital technologies can catalyse education - and hence accelerate learning. Provided you use Catalysed of course, and the APT methodology!

S. Higgins, et al. (2012). `The Impact of Digital Technology on Learning: A Summary for the Education Endowment Foundation'. Tech. rep., Education Endowment Foundation. Retrieved from: http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/uploads/pdf/The_Impact_of_Digital_Technologies_on_Learning_FULL_REPORT_%282012%29.pdf.

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