2020 was a year that few school staff will forget. There were unforeseen challenges, fast-tracked technologies and new pressures to contend with. Now we’ve finally said farewell to such a complex year, it’s the right time for teachers and educators to consider their professional goals and personal habits.
Whilst every teacher and educator will feel differently at the start of a new year, there are some common themes that have emerged from our annual State of Technology in Education report.
Did any of these trends appear on your list of New Year’s resolutions?
1. Audit your admin processes
One of the biggest challenges raised in our 2019 survey was workload. This year, however, 90% educators say their work/life balance has changed since schools closed — some for the better, some for the worse.
Priorities and pressures may have shifted, but it’s hard to change the amount of work that needs doing. There are, however, tricks for streamlining your admin, planning and assessment processes.
Tip: Check which tasks are taking up the bulk of your time and decide whether they warrant it. Next, check if there are any free online tools, apps or platforms that can shortcut these processes so you can dedicate more time to higher priority items, or yourself. Or check if your latest classroom technologies have this facility already, such as digital lesson planning or online assessments.
2. Take an interest in strategic goals
Do you wish you were more involved and on board with your school’s strategic goals and ongoing improvement objectives?
Our research highlighted that goal setting often remains an SLT project, while fewer teachers and IT managers are consulted year-on-year. That could mean key challenges are being neglected when it comes to budgeting, goal setting and forecasting. You may have to offer your opinions proactively if your school isn’t naturally collaborative.
Tip: Suggest ways the school could overcome problems you’re facing—whether it’s to do with training, online tools or processes. Consolidate them into a format that’s easy to discuss verbally or digitally with senior leaders.
3. Bring back collaboration
Essential practices like teamwork and collaboration got lost last year, with school closures and social distancing requirements. There’s a chance that tasks are being duplicated across different departments. For example, do you and your colleagues still share lesson planning ideas, assessment practices and resources?
If not, why not catch up with your colleagues — in person or online — about their projects and tasks, and look for ways you could work together? By sharing ideas you could potentially half the time it takes. Even if the subject matter is different, the methodologies and pedagogical techniques could be similar.
Tip: Check your classroom edtech. Are there tools like a Promethean ActivPanel that you and your colleagues could work on to create resources together? There’s probably a wealth of knowledge in your school that could be shared, too.
4. Put training back on your personal agenda
Training is a tricky objective for teachers; you probably wish you had better training on various subjects like new technologies, modern learning techniques and personal development. Problem is, you’re also incredibly stretched for time. Finding the space in your schedule for training can be challenging, and perhaps the courses put forward aren’t always relevant to your job.
If your training was targeted to your needs, however, you may see a better time to value ratio. Why not make a note of what training would benefit you most, and put the idea forward?
Tip: Suggest a collaborative approach to staff training — for example, if there are technologies in your school you’d like training on, check if someone internally has that knowledge. If a colleague is confident, they may feel happy sharing their knowledge with other teachers.
5. Become a tech-champion
Are you passionate about interactive teaching methods or digital pedagogy? Is there a tool, platform or device that you can’t do your job without? Share your ideas with your colleagues.
Often, the most inspiring educators have a true passion for something on top of their subject expertise. They are tech-champions, delivering a teaching experience above and beyond the majority, and their pupils are motivated, engaged and excited to learn.
Tip: Think of ways to inspire your colleagues with lesson ideas or practices with technologies. Could your school benefit from a wider approach to technology or interactive learning? Get everyone excited about it; your school and your pupils will thank you for it.
The State of Technology in Education Report 2020/21
Our latest and greatest report is here! 5 years of edtech trends, surprising stats and candid insights from over 2,000 educators.View the report