Educational technology (edtech) has the power to improve learning and retention. But, how soon you can expect to see results will depend on a whole range of factors. This includes your objectives, technology choices, the socioeconomic demographics of your school and its pupils, and how well any investment in new equipment is rolled out.
Schools are discovering how they can use the tools available to them to do things smarter. But, to assess the impact of technology in the classroom, you first need to know what you want to achieve. So, before looking at specific tools and product features, teachers must start by establishing their educational goals.
For example, teachers are increasingly expected to do more in less time. So saving time by reducing manual ‘box-ticking exercises’ is likely to be high on their list of priorities. Especially when you consider the impact that excessive administrative duties can have on health, productivity, and time spent in the classroom.
According to research commissioned by the charity Education Support Partnership, three-quarters of UK teaching staff have experienced a physical or mental health condition as a result of their long hours. This is supported by the State of Technology in Education (2018/19) report which found that while 62% of educators believe workload is contributing to high levels of stress in schools, under 20% of schools are addressing the problem.
Likewise, improving pupil success rates and boosting results are critical goals for most educators. So much so that attainment was referenced in the top two goals in the latest The State of Technology in Education report.
In addition to specific objectives, educators should also consider broader ambitions such as what type of learning environment they would like to see within their school in 2-3 years, how teaching methods are changing, how and where learning will take place, and what role will students play.
Only by understanding what you want to achieve can you track and establish how quickly you get there.
Your technology choices
Technology can help to achieve a huge range of educational objectives. It can drive pupil engagement, raise attainment levels and increase the profile of your school, all while saving valuable teacher time. But to see measurable results as quickly as possible, rather than investing in the latest technology just for the sake of it, it’s vital that schools choose products that can support pedagogical approaches.
As such, once you have established your educational objectives, the next step is to look at the technology available to educators to assess what would help you to meet these. Quite often this means using technology that is specifically designed for an educational environment.
For example, when it comes to reducing the admin burden, combining real-time assessment tools with front-of-class displays allows teachers to score, review progress and analyse results quickly and easily.
What’s more, tools such as the Promethean ActivPanel are designed to foster collaboration and active learning by transforming traditional, lecture-based classrooms into environments infused with imaginative, interactive experiences that captivate students’ attention. This helps to inspire student collaboration, creativity, engagement and critical thinking, and ultimately boosts those all-important results in your classroom.
Educational technology roll-out
Once you have established what you want to achieve, and have identified the tools to help you to do this, it’s vital that your rollout is a success if you’re going to ensure results. This includes things such as:
- Ensuring the compatibility of all your educational technology
- Creating classroom spaces that work as a catalyst for engagement, collaboration, personalisation and feedback (e.g. a mobile stand allows for the sharing of devices such as an ActivPanel and its adaptation to suit different classroom layouts)
- Making sure that anything you invest in will last (e.g. regular free updates, less need to invest in new hardware, etc.)
- Training teachers on how to use the technology and making sure that they understand the educational benefits of using it
- Maximising online safety and minimising the risk of cyber-attacks in your school.
Without a well-planned roll-out, it is unlikely that schools will see the results that they hope for from their IT investment.
The socio-economic demographics of your school and its pupils
There’s no doubt that schools in some areas of the country can provide better IT access than others. So, while technology can level the playing field for students across the socioeconomic spectrum and help close the attainment gap, how quickly you will see results can differ significantly depending on what resources are available.
Even where you can give pupils a high level of access to digital resources in the classroom, the speed of success can be hampered if they are not able to use such tools at home.
How quickly does technology deliver results in the classroom?
There is no simple answer to this question. However, given that digital tools in all walks of life are known to save time, simplify processes and spark innovation, their potential to positively impact learning experiences is clear.
A strategic long-term approach to educational technology is a must if we’re to leverage this potential and deliver the results educators need.