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Attitudes towards technology in education – Promethean Report 2016

Promethean asked educators what they thought about the use of technology in education for The Promethean State of Technology in Education Report 2016.

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“Any teacher that can be replaced with a computer, deserves to be.” David Thornburg

We asked educators what they thought about the use of technology in education. The majority of educators believe that technology:

  • Is a necessary part of everyday life and should be reflected in lessons (55%)
  • Is a great way to engage students using a medium familiar to them (67%)
  • Is best used where it can be appropriately adapted to the learning situation (62%) Less than 1% of teachers believe that there is no place for technology in the classroom.

“Lessons can become very innovative and children see technology as the future.” IT Coordinator, Chesterfield

Head teachers, in particular, are massive supporters of edtech, with over 80% finding that using technology in the classroom helps to engage students.

However, with almost 70% of educators stating that schools are either not allocating enough budget to technology, or are investing in the wrong things, is there a disconnect between what head teachers say about the benefits of technology, and what they are able to put into practice?

“I can’t predict the future, but I think as the older generation of teachers retire, there will be more and more teachers and headteachers more au-fait with technology and be eager to implement it.” Teacher, London

100% of headteachers believe that technology has a part to play in the modern classroom – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016

Which two statements best describe your opinions towards the use of technology in education?

  • 11% – “It creates more issues than it resolves”
  • 55% – “It is a necessary part of everyday life, therefore this should be reflected in lessons”
  • 67% – “Using technology in the classroom is a great way to engage students using a medium familiar to them”
  • <1% – “There is no place for technology in the classroom”
  • 1% – “Technology is best used for teaching academic areas”
  • <1% – “Technology is best used for teaching non-academic areas (e.g. soft skills)”
  • 3% – “Technology enables students to better learn soft skills”
  • 62% – “Technology is best used where it can be appropriately adapted to the learning situation”

While 0% of head teachers believe that too much budget is allocated to technology, almost 70% of educators believe schools are either not allocating enough budget to technology, or are investing in the wrong things.

Schools cannot keep up with trends and innovations due to budget constraints.” Teacher, Glasgow

These figures highlight a disparity between what head teachers think they are delivering in the way of educational tech, and what teachers on the front line believe they need to do their jobs.

A lack of funds is cited as one of the main reasons for insufficient technology in school. So, do schools need to adopt an innovative approach to meet this challenge head on?

Free to use cloud-based learning technology can be used in conjunction with existing tech, with no need to pay for new equipment. By combining such free educational software (such as ActivInspire and ClassFlow), with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives, schools could maximise their existing IT infrastructure.

Likewise, while educators raised concerns over out-of-date and faulty equipment, free to use cloud-based technology is regularly maintained, updated, and improved, by tech providers; meaning schools don’t have to fork out for costly upgrades or maintenance.

However, central to this is ensuring that modern schools have an internet connection that meets the needs of the digital world, and that help is on hand to resolve any issues as they arise.

“Systems are not set up to make the user experience easy. There are insufficient funds to have IT technician available to resolve issues. This job is usually the ICT Subject Leader’s burden which is ridiculous as he is a full-time teacher!” Teacher, St Albans

“There is not enough money to keep up to date with the outside progress in technology. By the time schools have bought new equipment it is out of date. We are always playing catch up.” Teacher, London

How do you feel about your school’s allocation of budget to technology?

Table showing show educators feel about their school’s allocation of budget to education technology

Table showing show educators feel about their school’s allocation of budget to education technology

Staff training

While 0% of head teachers believe that too much budget is allocated to technology, almost 70% of educators believe schools are either not allocating enough budget to technology, or are investing in the wrong things.

Staff training is vital when it comes to using educational technology. However, in 2016, only 8.3% of educators receive full training and support when it comes to the educational technologies available at their schools.

While just over half of teachers believe that the level of training they receive is adequate or good, over 70% of head teachers think they provide sufficient training to staff when it comes to educational technology. This highlights, yet again, a difference of opinion between teachers and head teachers when it comes to the way technology is being implemented in schools.

Investing in the technology is, of course, necessary, but without allocating training time to help staff learn to use it, this could be a waste of valuable budget.

To combat this problem, do edtech providers need to work harder to help head teachers provide more practical training to teaching staff; with easy-to-use training resources, such as videos and community forums? Likewise, do schools need to do more to help teachers find the time to train, as expecting them to do so in their own time is not only highly inefficient but also unlikely to prove successful?

“Teachers are not consulted about technology, it is just brought in. We are also often not trained for it.” Teacher, Bristol

77% of headteachers believe the level of training provided to be adequate or better – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016

What level of training is provided to staff for the educational technologies available at your school?

  • 8% – “We receive full training and support”
  • 49% – “We receive adequate training”
  • 28% – “Resources are available but we aren’t trained/don’t use them”
  • 14% – “We are not trained or provided with learning material”

Technology drivers in schools

Curriculum and assessment changes are arguably one of the biggest challenges facing teachers today. With the level of change requiring schools to make substantial and sustained investments, it comes as no surprise that educators believe that curriculum requirements are the top driver of their school’s approach to educational technology in 2016.

“Government curriculum and new SATS are the key drivers of change.” Promoted Teacher, Essex

School leadership teams and head teachers are also thought to be key drivers when it comes to edtech. This ties in with findings concerning the benefits technology can bring to education, and the role educational leaders think it plays in modern schools.

Pupils themselves are also considered to be digital champions within schools. Of course, neo-millennials, are the most tech-savvy generation yet, spending hours every day online and regularly communicating via social networks. With technology playing such a huge part in pupils’ everyday lives, it makes sense, therefore, that they would want to bring this into the classroom.

The trick for teachers is to take the time to understand how today’s younger generation learn – both in and out of the classroom – making technology a core part of the learning experience – and giving tried and trusted learning practices a new lease of life.

“Nearly all jobs include elements of technology and this is driving teaching forward.” Teacher, Southport

“One question asked about who were the biggest drivers of technology in schools – I would say the teaching staff would be top but this was not an option.” IT Coordinator, Durham

Who are the top three drivers of your school’s approach to educational technology?

Table showing the top three drivers of your school’s approach to education technology

Table showing the top three drivers of your school’s approach to education technology

The impact of technology in education

Over 35% of educators believe that the use of technology in school is making a difference to education in 2016. Similarly, 26% of educators believe that the use of technology outside of school is a key driver.

“I think that it is an interesting time for children growing up with the Internet fully implemented in every aspect of their lives, and some children growing up straight away with a digital footprint, thanks to parents on Facebook etc. I think their first area to learn things outside of school is on the Internet and that we are doing children a disservice if they aren’t taught, through modern teaching methods, how to deal with an online world.” Teacher, London

However, when it comes to what is making the most difference, 44% of educators referenced modern teaching methods.

“Improved awareness and research into pedagogy are driving the improvement.” Teacher, Crawley

Technology cannot, of course, replace teachers or recreate the teacher-student bond. Instead, advancements in educational technology are designed to enhance and support modern teaching methods.

Technology introduces a plethora of tools to help stimulate real-time teacher interaction with students. For example, as everyone learns a little differently, teachers have long strived to meet the needs of all their pupils – painstakingly setting and photocopying different assignments or assessments for different students depending on their abilities. Technology designed for the classroom, such as ClassFlow, makes this process a whole lot easier.

“The new national strategies, coupled with budget cuts, are making the most difference (and that is a negative way) to student education in 2016.” Teacher, Bedford

“I believe that assessment for learning strategies are primarily the way to drive up standards, not technology. However, technology can be used to implement these strategies effectively. And reduce workload.” Teacher, Haddington

“Technology has its place but tech for tech’s sake is not helpful. Tech to support modern teaching methods is making most difference.” Teacher, Rickmansworth

Likewise, while homework has long been used by teachers to help maximise learning, today some schools are flipping the script, with pupils using technology to watch lectures outside the classroom, and complete corresponding tasks in school hours; with teachers on hand to answer any questions.

Helping to inspire pupil confidence, for years, teachers have been asking pupils questions in a bid to stimulate discussion and feedback, with eager students sticking their hands in the air. Today, technology lets students send answers directly from their device – promoting real-time learning and engagement – while increasing the participation of all pupils.

However, while technology has the potential to provide significant educational benefits, it doesn’t come without its share of risks, with many teachers raising concerns over the threat of social media, cyber-bullying, and issues around e-safety.

“Cyber-bullying & e-safety are paramount as technology is advancing faster than the social & emotional ability of children to use appropriately.” Teacher, Essex

To protect the safety of pupils and the credibility of educators, it’s vital that teachers use technology designed with education in mind, and that technology providers do everything they can to ensure they create a safe learning environment for children.

Continue reading… How schools are benefiting from education technology or return to contents page.