In early 2016, we surveyed 1,546 educators across the UK to identify current attitudes and trends with regard to edtech. In this first ‘The State of Technology in Education Report’, we wanted to learn more about how educators are using technology in 2016.
We sought to establish how pupils are benefiting from the use of technology in education – both in and out of the classroom – and how it is helping teachers to meet their goals. We also invited opinions to help identify where it is not delivering, and if there are opportunities to better implement educational technology in schools.
Finally, we hoped to gain an insight into what the future of edtech might look like, and provide a benchmark that would allow us to track these developments, and gauge trends in educational technology, over the next few years.
This report offers a data-centric look at the current edtech landscape while addressing the successes and failures of technology in education that we are expecting to see this academic year.
“Technologies are just another tool in the teacher’s box, but one that can be used in very innovative ways to inspire and educate children.” IT Co-ordinator, Sheffield
“The lack of equipment and the unreliability of it mean that I rarely consider it as a viable alternative, unfortunately. Not because I don’t believe in it, but because the technical support is lacking.” Teacher, Oxford
“I don’t actually know enough about technology to keep ahead of even primary aged children any more – their needs are more than I feel I can provide.” Teacher, Kendal
Who we interviewed
Of those surveyed [place of work]:
- 49.5% work in secondary schools
- 41.5% work in junior schools
- 6% work in full age range schools
- 1.5% work in pre-preparatory schools
- 1.5% work in 6th form colleges
Of those surveyed [job role]:
- 58% are Teachers
- 26% are Promoted Teachers
- 2% are Head Teachers
- 7% are Deputy Head Teachers
- 3% are Network Managers
- 4% are IT Coordinators
Summary of key findings
Educators and technology
Teachers can, of course, innovate using traditional teaching methods, however in 2016, over half of teachers are using technology as the catalyst for such innovation. Over half of all teachers are constantly striving to innovate, using technology as a tool for education. However, while older generation tech is being used extensively in schools, newer technology – while widely available – is not being put to good use.
Less than a quarter of all teachers surveyed lack confidence when it comes to integrating tech into the classroom. A lack of time and faulty or out of date equipment are commonly cited as reasons for teachers not using technology in schools.
72% of teachers would consider a technology-based solution when tackling a teaching issue and 66% of head teachers are using Edtech to achieve their student attainment and reputational objectives
“Our IT provisions are SO behind what almost all children are regularly using at home that it makes the school look outdated and old-fashioned.” Teacher, Forres
“I work in primary and secondary schools, where the technological gap is huge! The secondary children definitely have more idea about certain forms of technology than me.” Teacher, Rothwell
Attitudes towards technology in education
Over half of all educators believe that technology is a necessary part of everyday life and should be reflected in lessons. Likewise, 67% of educators and over 80% of head teachers believe that technology is a great way to engage students using a medium familiar to them.
100% of head teachers believe that technology has a role to play in the modern classroom. However, almost 70% of educators believe that schools are either not allocating enough budget to technology, or are investing in the wrong things; and, only 8.3% of educators believe that they receive full training and support when it comes to the educational technologies available at their schools
Less than 1% of educators believe there is no place for technology in the classroom – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016
“I feel technology is largely used in my school and it is vital in every area of the curriculum. However, the personal presence of a teacher to instil enthusiasm and direct students will always be central to learning.” Teacher, Cambridge
35% of educators believe that technology in the classroom is making a difference to student education in 2016, with 44% of educators referencing modern teaching methods as a key driver.
“With such a tight budget, we are fortunate that the Head Teacher sees the importance of technology with teaching.” Teacher, Crewe
How schools are benefiting from educational technology
STEM subjects are such as Maths and Computing are utilising technology in the classroom more than any other subjects. However, there has yet to be significant adoption of technology across classes such as history, RE, and Art & Design.
It appears that technology is commonly being used as a lesson based tool, rather than a way to deliver a modern learning experience across all disciplines.
However, over 60% of teachers are using online technology to access centrally available lesson content online. What’s more, more than half of the educators surveyed are using online technology to learn and work remotely; as well as to track pupil attendance and performance.
So, the benefits of technology as a teaching device are recognised by educators, even if has not yet been fully realised as a tool for learning.
22% of educators are using online technology for discussions with students outside of teaching hours – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016
“We need to take industrial and creative based subjects seriously, i.e. design and technology, engineering, etc., not just core subjects! Students/pupils need to know how to apply technologies in industry; this is the only way to grow our economy in the long run.” Teacher, Hemel Hempstead
Over 80% of educators are using online technology to track pupil attendance, with over 70% of educators using online technology to track formal assessments.
“Would love to have remote access to school resources to aid planning and tracking.” Teacher, Reading
32% of educators are using technology to bring experts or experiences into the classroom virtually – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016
How pupils are benefiting from technology in education
Edtech can be used to help create a more positive learning environment, with 52% of teachers and 61% of head teachers stating that technology improves pupil behaviour and engagement levels.
However, there appears to be an issue with how technology is being implemented in some schools, with the feedback indicating that many teachers believe that using technology results in a solitary, passive approach to learning. These findings raise questions about how technology is being put to use in the classroom.
Less than 8% of all educators believe that technology has a negative impact on student behaviour – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016
“There is a massive divide across schools with haves and have not’s. What would make the greatest improvement in teaching and the use of technology is making sure all teachers are properly trained to use technology in the classroom. At present most teachers are very, very poor.” IT Coordinator, Weymouth
93% of educators believe that technology helps to improve pupils’ research skills.
“Students see technologies as communication devices and entertainment. They do not have the opportunity to engage in technology for learning except as a passive audience. Given the opportunity, they would work well with educational technologies.” Promoted Teacher, Shrewsbury
85% of educators believe that technology helps to improve pupils’ technical literacy – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016
The future of edtech
When it comes to the future of educational technology, less than 6% of educators believe that growth will slow and the use of technology in education will start to decline.
However, while edtech presents teachers with new and exciting ways to implement modern teaching methods, the majority of teachers believe that educational technology will become just one of many interrelated resources and teaching methods.
Ultimately – educators see edtech as an enablement tool – not a substitute for teachers and other teaching methods.
“Technology used for education can have a beneficial effect. Social media however is one of the biggest issues to behaviour and engagement in schools today.” Deputy Head Teacher, Hartlepool
68% of educators believe that technology use will plateau at a level where it is shared with other resources and teaching methods – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016
2The future is through technology and teaching needs to evolve with this.” Teacher, Southport
Only 27% of educators believe that technology-aided teaching will become the only way in which lessons are taught – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016