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What are the most future-proof school educational technology investments?

Technology is becoming increasingly important in teaching. But with school budgets an ongoing issue, it’s important to know which edtech will remain relevant. Here’s which technologies schools should invest in for the future.

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It’s clear that today, more educators are relying on educational technology (edtech) to supplement teaching methods in UK classrooms.

According to our 2018/19 State of Technology in Education report, over 50% of educators believe that technology is now integral to everyday life, so they believe it should be more of a priority in education. A similar number confirm that edtech is a great way to engage their pupils, so it seems like a natural progression in schools, according to the research.

But, with so many edtech options available (and schools budgets an ongoing issue) which technologies offer the most future-proof investments?

Which tech will see the biggest growth?

Recent research conducted by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) found the demand for edtech in secondary schools is higher than in primary schools. The biggest requirements are tech training (35%), digital classroom content (39%) and online assessment (28%)

This demand was corroborated by the majority of our survey respondents — they say that online assessments, as well as online content and resources, are likely to see the biggest growth over the next few years.

At the same time, over a quarter more respondents identified front-of-class technology as a key growth area, and 16% more respondents selected tablets this year.

What do IT staff think?

As you know, your IT managers are a highly knowledgeable resource in schools when it comes to edtech and IT investments. To get their perspective, we questioned them separately on which technologies they believe would be the most future-proof for schools.

Most IT managers (70%) believe cloud-based tools will see the biggest growth in the next three years. What’s more, 42.5% of IT managers believe robotics and coding will feature highly in tomorrow’s edtech landscape, compared to just 22% of other staff.

By incorporating these technologies into your school’s tech strategy, you will ensure you’re protecting your investments and preparing your pupils for tomorrow, as well as today.

How does tech already play a role?

Technology is already key when it comes to formal school assessment practices — 52% of teachers track summative assessment purely online, and over 71% track it partly online.

At the same time, there are ongoing opportunities for your staff to make use of tech for assessment; only 31% of teachers track formative assessment online.

“Being able to access advancements in technology will keep me up to date and relevant for pupils and allow them to see that what we are teaching applies to them. For me, relevance equals more engagement in lessons, which equals less discipline issues.” Senior Teacher, Local Authority Primary, North West England

Tech will never replace traditional teaching

Despite the move towards a more digital pedagogical landscape, almost 80% of our educators believe that edtech will only be combined with traditional teaching resources over the next decade, rather than replacing it.

Technology is increasingly important for meeting schools’ goals like raising attainment, boosting engagement and improving schools’ profiles. But at the same time, we’re unlikely to ever see edtech taking a higher priority than quality teaching staff, and tried and tested learning practices.

The future, therefore, is more likely to feature a blend of interactive front-of-class technologies like Promethean’s ActivPanels and handheld devices like tablets, used by highly skilled teaching staff in a collaborative and inclusive educational setting. Online resources, digital tools and traditional resources will be used in harmony to teach arts, sciences and future-proof skills like coding.

To more stats on the future of edtech, download this year’s State of Technology in Education Report. It’s our most insightful report to date, packed full of candid insights from real educators in the UK and Ireland.