“Technology can become the “wings” that will allow the educational world to fly farther and faster than ever before — if we will allow it.” Jenny Arledge
How educators are using technology in the modern classroom
To assess the impact technology is having on education in 2016, we asked educators how they are using technology in the classroom.
The results revealed that 54% of teachers and 57% of promoted teachers are constantly striving to innovate, using technology as a tool for education. Only 4% of teachers don’t use technology very much and don’t feel that it is necessary to.
Only 22% of teachers lack confidence when it comes to integrating technology into the classroom and only a fifth of teachers struggle with using technology to the level required in education today.
Over half of all teachers are constantly striving to innovate, using technology as a tool for education.
These findings demonstrate that teachers do see the value of using technology in the classroom. However, comparisons need to be drawn between this apparent confidence, and how technology is actually being implemented (see How schools are benefiting from education technology) in education today.
If it’s not a scarcity of confidence that is preventing the uptake of newer technologies, could a lack of awareness as to the educational benefits of specific technologies be stopping teachers from reaping the benefits of modern edtech?
“I am using more and more technology as this session has progressed and my confidence is growing slowly.” Deputy Head Teacher, Fraserburgh
“I often feel the pupils can innovate much more successfully than I can.” IT Coordinator, Leicester
“Being the computing coordinator I regularly attend courses and webinars to try and stay up to date.” Teacher, Surrey
Leadership and management
Leadership and management are, of course, central to educational success, with standards, attainment, policies, SATS, and Ofsted at the top of any head teacher’s agenda.
Technology provides school leadership teams with a strategic way to improve results and deliver the collaborative, relevant, and engaging educational experiences they seek to provide in their schools.
In 2016, educational leaders are acutely aware of the benefits technology can bring to education, with 66% of head teachers and 62% of deputy head teachers currently using edtech to help them achieve their student attainment and reputational objectives.
“Our leadership recognises the need for greater investment in ICT, but is unable to allocate this due to budget.” Teacher, Powys
“Things change rapidly – we have to keep ahead.” Head Teacher, Plymouth
Which statement describes you best?
Graph showing the statement that best describes the teachers, head teachers and deputy head teachers interviewed for The Promethean State of Technology in Education Report 2016
Graph showing the statement that best describes the promoted teachers, IT coordinators and network managers interviewed for The Promethean State of Technology in Education Report 2016
How technology is helping educators to solve problems
Teachers are under more pressure than ever before. Increased benchmarking, Ofsted inspections, budget cuts, and the burden of governmental reforms are exacerbating the day-to-day challenges of juggling marking, lesson planning, and teaching.
In response, in 2016, educators have the opportunity to turn to technology to help them solve their teaching problems.
72% of teachers and 74% of head teachers would consider a technology-based solution when tackling a teaching issue, with only 4% of educators stating that they would never turn to technology.
However, while teachers are interested in using technology to solve common teaching problems, a lack of time and faulty equipment are referred to as reasons for teachers not using technology in this way.
Spotlight on cloud-based platforms
With readily collated content available at the touch of a button, cloud-based technology provides teachers with real time- saving benefits. For example, with ClassFlow, teachers can incorporate existing content such as videos, PDFs, images, etc. into digital lessons. Helping teachers to save valuable time when creating and supplementing their lessons, ClassFlow also provides access to a plethora of additional teaching resources, and the latest web content – without having to leave the platform.
“Research is always carried out using the internet. I also use it for surveys, charts of results, written work and designing in a variety of ways.” Promoted Teacher, Felling
“I frequently use the‘let’s find out together and Google it’ solution to questions the children have which are off topic to my planning.” Teacher, Cheshire
“There are some great things out there to use but you have to have the time to find them.” Promoted Teacher, Surrey
“I find the technology I wish to use either doesn’t work or I spend so much time setting it up I often don’t have the time.” Teacher, Gosport
How often do you consider a technology-based solution when tackling a teaching issue?
Diagram showing how often educators consider a technology-based solution when tackling a teaching issue
Which technology is being used in schools?
Printers, photocopiers, projectors, and desktop computers remain the most commonly used ICT equipment in schools. However, while older generation equipment is being extensively used, newer technology – while widely available – is not always being put to good use.
For example, despite the reported benefits, while over 70% of schools have access to a 3D printer, only 9% of teachers use this technology frequently.
Interactive whiteboards are playing a vital role in the modern classroom, with 73% of teachers using them frequently.
“Cameras on mobile phones are used by students to record their work in progress and sometimes to access research material as can be quicker than waiting for network.” Teacher, Leicester
“(With VR) Kids can go on trips/experiences around the world in a single lesson. Massive impact on arts, science and humanities.” Promoted Teacher, Cyprus (BFPO School)
Could it be that these cutting-edge technologies are only being used in STEM classes by STEM teachers, and that schools have not yet caught on to the benefits of using technology as a core part of the learning experience, across all subjects? The findings later in this report (see How schools are benefiting from education technology) do appear to support this theory.
In 2016, classroom technology shouldn’t be about a solitary individual on a computer screen. Instead, technology should be being used to deliver multi-sensory learning experiences which develop communication and collaboration skills. The fact that newer tech is not being widely used, highlights that schools across the UK could be missing out on the real educational benefits edtech provides.
Educational robotics such as Bee-Bots are proving popular with digitally savvy teachers.
Spotlight on Virtual Reality
Helping pupils to understand complex subjects and theories, used correctly, VR has the potential to create immersive experiences with the potential to change the world of learning forever. Just imagine, for example, the impact of being able to see the battle of Waterloo taking place from the comfort of the classroom!
Cloud-based technology in education
In the modern classroom, less than a quarter of teachers are currently making use of cloud-based lesson delivery software, with 53% of teachers stating that while it is available, they do not use it.
Feedback also suggests a disconnect between what schools encourage teachers to do when it comes to technology, and what school networks/hardware can cope with. A lack of reliable internet access is an ongoing problem for teachers, and could explain the lack of adoption when it comes to cloud-based tech.
“We don’t use any cloud-based apps etc. that would allow for teamwork online. Just got fast enough broadband for all computers in the school work at once!.” Teacher, Sutton
However, leading cloud-based platforms can be used, not only in conjunction with all of the most commonly used tech, but also to increase the uptake of less popular technology. Therefore, this lack of IT infrastructure must be addressed if schools want to do more than pay lip service to the benefits of educational technology.
“Cloud based learning. I think this is the way forward. The accessibility and flexibility make it so useful.” Teacher, Billingshurst
A lack of investment was also stated as a reason for not using cloud-based edtech. However, free to use cloud-based learning technology can be used in conjunction with existing tech, with no need to pay for new equipment, updates, or maintenance. Clearly more needs to be done by providers of such technology to educate schools about the possibilities and costs.
Almost 80% of educators have access to virtual reality (VR) devices, but these are regularly used by only 7% of teachers and only 24% of teachers are currently making use of cloud-based lesson delivery software – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016
How comfortable are teachers using technology in the classroom?
While today’s children have grown up surrounded by technology, at home and in the classroom, 75% of respondents believe they know the same or more about educational technology than their pupils. There was, however, a recognition that pupils may know more about technology in general.
“Children are more adept at certain applications but possibly less so for many educational technologies.” Deputy Head Teacher, Sutton
So, if a lack of expertise isn’t the issue, with just over half of all teachers striving to use technology as a tool for education, what is holding educators back when it comes to implementing technology in the modern classroom?
Here again, a lack of budget and insufficient or failing equipment are given as reasons why some teachers are not using edtech in the classroom.
“Students know more about some areas e.g. tablets, apps, and YouTube. I know more about software like Word, Excel, and Publisher.” Teacher, Essex
“Students are great at the social media side but lack understanding of technical value or how technology can advance their studies.” Teacher, London
Only 15% of educators believe they know a lot more about educational technologies than their students and 25% of educators know less or a lot less about educational technologies than their students – The State of Technology in Education Report 2016
“My students are reception class! Age 4. But I feel their home experiences of tablets and phones are beyond our school computers.” Teacher, Kendal
“I am confident to teach computing, however the availability and reliability of technologies totally undermines confidence. It can take 20 mins for pupils to login, only to find that the battery dies or the internet won’t connect. So you begin to think ‘Why bother?’. We do not have adequate budget to put this right!” Promoted Teacher, Suffolk
“All technology is good, if it works and you are not standing in front of the children with an IWB choosing not to work. Having to spend 5 minutes saving work, shutting everything down to reboot it. That is 5 minutes I will never get back!” Teacher, Blackpool
When it comes to educational technologies, do you feel you know more or less than your students?
Graph showing whether educators feel they know more or less than their students about edtech