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Why edtech investment isn’t enough

Promethean’s annual State of Technology in Education report has shown that more schools want to invest in edtech to maximise learning outcomes. But without more teacher training, these investments could fall short. Read why.

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Schools’ confidence in technology and digital resources to deliver better learning outcomes is growing every year.

That’s according to our State of Technology in Education Report 2018/19; this year, over 50% of educators believe that technology should be present in education because it’s so prolific in students’ everyday lives.

What’s more, almost all our survey respondents (94%) recognise that edtech can improve engagement levels whilst 72% think that behaviour can potentially be improved with technology.

 

So, whilst a growing number of schools want to tap technology to achieve their strategic goals, it has unearthed two more challenges present in our schools — a lack of IT investment and a large gap in teacher training.

Tech investment is desperately called for

The quality of technology in schools is still low, according to the report. Last year, we discovered that over 83% of teachers struggle with failing tech. According to our 2018 survey, the situation is slowly worsening; this year, the number has increased to over 86%.

This goes hand in hand with an increase in the number of respondents stating there is too little budget allocated to updating and maintaining school technology.

Of those teachers who don’t use tech in lessons, over a quarter blame faulty equipment, as well as a lack of time to learn how to use it (23%).

Teachers need more training, not just tech investment

Whilst there’s clearly a need for greater school investment in edtech, our survey also revealed that as little as 5% of teachers believe that they receive full training and support when it comes to the educational technologies at their schools; down from 25% in 2016.

Despite this, teacher training is classed a lower priority this year; selected by 7% fewer survey respondents than last year.

“Technologies will only benefit my future career if I am given appropriate training. That benefit is, therefore, a random factor.”
Teacher, further education provider, South West England

And it’s not just teachers that share that opinion. Only 16% of school leaders believe their school offers full edtech training and support to their staff and teachers — but that’s still 11% more than teachers who share that opinion.

We asked senior leaders about their specific priorities for teacher training; edtech training was considered the lowest training priority, selected by under 30% of heads and deputy head teachers.

“There are many staff members who would benefit from basic IT instruction. I tried this once, but the equipment available was old, slow and had different versions of Office, depending on its age.” IT manager, additional learning needs school (3-19 years), Wales

So, according to the report, there is a widening gap in the call for new technology in schools and the training provided to maximise it. So, despite the poor quality currently present, there’s little point investing vastly in new tech if the support to help teachers get the most of it is lacking.

Schools could, therefore, consider developing more robust internal training schemes, potentially making more use of IT managers as a resource. Schools should also look for an edtech manufacturer, like Promethean, that offers full tech training and support to ensure schools maximise their existing tech and ongoing edtech budgets. It’s not the investment that counts, it’s the way technologies are used to support learning.