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School edtech benefits – Promethean Report 2016

The Promethean State of Technology in Education Report 2016 shows that despite being available, newer technology is not being put to good use in schools,

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How schools are benefiting from educational technology

The areas benefiting from technology in schools

Despite being available, newer technology is not being put to good use in schools.

STEM classes such as Maths, Science, and Computing are utilising technology more than any other subjects. However, there has yet to be significant adoption of technology across ‘softer’ classes such as History (7.5%), RE (1.3%), and Art & Design (10%).

These findings support concerns ([LINK] see Section 2: Educators and education technology) that technology is being used as a lesson based tool, rather than a way to deliver a modern learning experience across all disciplines in many schools.

“Integrating technology with face-to-face teacher time generally produces better academic outcomes than employing either technique alone.”


“As a primary school teacher I find I use technology in all areas, to help enhance learning and locating innovative and exciting resources. Access to video type clips for science and art/design are a Godsend”

Teacher, Glasgow

51% of maths classes and 80% of computing classes are utilising technology in the classroom

Spotlight on RE

Technology can be used to access source materials that may not otherwise be available, for example, images of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Likewise working in small groups, pupils could consider how websites can be used to recreate the experience of a place of worship, using 21st-century technology such as web-based virtual tours and videos.

Spotlight on History

Students can use technology to interact with museum exhibits, and access videos, news articles and other historical resources through online documents, apps, and immersive 3D experiences. Some apps provide pupils with the chance to visit famous places from history such as Ancient Egypt and Rome. Pupils can then use these apps to take a tour of ancient sites, see high-res images of real places, and examine rotatable 3D objects.

Spotlight on Art & Design

For students hoping to work in an art-related field, technological know-how is a must. At the very least being able to use graphics software such as Photoshop and digital cameras is essential for any budding creative. Art and Design teachers can use technology in the classroom to help prepare older students, with the creation of online portfolios to show university admission officers and future employers. Likewise, video production and social media apps such as Instagram can be integrated into art classes, helping pupils to keep students engaged while they learn.

“As a head of drama, I am aware that technology is a fast-growing integral part to modern performance…. and I feel that I would like to reflect this within the classroom. But without technicians to help create this, this becomes a challenge.” Promoted Teacher, Warrington

Unsurprisingly, the feedback indicates that there is a lack of transparency and cooperation between subject areas when it comes to sharing best practice on how to use technology in the classroom, with many teachers unsure about how other teachers or departments use ICT.

“I have no idea {what other departments do} – I only teach my own subject.” Teacher, Kingston upon Hull

“I don’t know what goes on in other departments. I think it depends on individual teachers.” Teacher, Didcot

Which areas do you feel currently utilise technology equipment, either cloud based or physical, the most in education?

Graph showing the subject areas that educators feel currently utilise edtech the most

Graph showing the subject areas that educators feel currently utilise edtech the most

How online technology is enabling learning & teaching strategies

Once upon a time, books were the only way to get your hands on valuable teaching material, however in 2016, educational tools provide teachers with access to a plethora of online educational resources and the latest web content; ensuring lessons are up-to-date and relevant. Today, over 60% of teachers are using online technology to access centrally available lesson content.

With technology available at home as well as in school, the teacher-pupil relationship is no longer confined to lesson times alone. Online technology delivers content that students can access anytime, anywhere. As such, more than half of all educators are using technology to learn and work remotely.

With the increased popularity of chat and messaging platforms, and such technology accessible in and out of the classroom, feedback can be given immediately, regardless of location, meaning both parties can get more out of the learning process. However, understandably there is a reluctance by some teachers to be available for discussions outside of teaching hours, with only 27% of teachers using online technology to do this.

“I have sometimes used web chats with experts on the Into Film / Film Club website and in the past have used Twitter for my class to contact the relevant people.” Teacher, London

With teachers already working full days, the last thing they want is the suggestion that they need to be available outside these hours. However technology can be used to facilitate flipped learning, with teachers sharing lessons via podcasts, videos, etc. in traditional homework time, and pupils asking questions and undertaking assignments in the classroom, with the teacher on hand.

“Tutorials on YouTube are useful, sometimes specifications and textbooks do not give relevant information on the latest discoveries and technologies.” Promoted Teacher, Harrow

“I use iPad and Apple TV almost every lesson to either deliver the content for pupils to access teaching materials or use a presentation or research tool, including apps.” Teacher, Isle of Man

“Flipped learning allows students to come to class better prepared.” Teacher, Brighton

“Teachers already work at least 10 hours a day. Please don’t start suggesting that they need to be available outside that time as well.” Teacher, Bristol

In 2016, 31.7% of educators are using technology to bring experts/experiences into the classroom virtually. With technology perfectly placed to bridge the gap between industry experts and schools, can tools like video chats be put to better use?

For example, a lack of expertise in science, technology, engineering, and maths is one of the biggest threats facing UK business today, with girls, in particular, failing to take on STEM subjects.

“72% of large companies and 49% of SMEs are suffering tech skill gaps.” UK Government, Digital skills for the UK economy, 2016

Technology could facilitate regular interaction between students and real-life scientists and engineers. These industry experts could bring relevance to lessons, explaining concepts via the day-to-day realities of their jobs.

Helping pupils to get to grips with complex subjects and theories, as well as enriching and complementing current teaching methods, it’s vital that head teachers and digital champions understand the full educational potential of tech, so that they can share and promote this knowledge within their schools.

Which of the following learning and teaching strategies enabled by online technology have you used?

Table showing which learning and teaching strategies enabled by online tech

Table showing which learning and teaching strategies enabled by online tech

Attendance targets

Ensuring that all pupils attend school and are engaged and involved in education is the best way to raise educational standards for all. While most students go to school regularly, attendance must be managed and tracked carefully.

Schools which successfully tackle poor attendance monitor data closely, and take swift action to address any potential concerns. As such, in 2016, over 80% of educators are using online technology to track pupil attendance.

“Attendance filled in offline but I believe (although not 100% sure) that the office staff track attendance online.” Teacher, Bristol

“We track attendance online but report via printing off documents at the moment.” IT Coordinator, Norwich

However, in many cases, teachers are taking registers offline, and then passing this to back- office staff to import into online systems – resulting in a duplication of effort.

73% of educators are using online methods to track formal assessments

“Too much tracking, not enough planning and innovation. If something was done with the tracked data I probably wouldn’t mind as much.” Teacher, Burgess Hill

Assessment targets

UK school teachers spend a whole day marking each week, ranking higher than their counterparts in Europe, the US, and Australia when it comes to time dedicated to admin tasks.

While teachers are under more pressure than ever before to continually monitor the performance of their pupils, schools have been tasked with finding ways to make marking quicker. In response, teachers are increasingly turning to technology to help them tackle this challenge head on.

“Definitely {tracking} assessments, which has results collated by computer generated programmes/ technology. Teacher marking time is currently creating a work/life imbalance, with too much expected from staff, which technology could come some way to amend.” Teacher, Bristol

Given the complexity and debate on educational assessments, schools must monitor assessments carefully and methodically. Today, while over seven out of ten educators are using online technology to track formal assessment, only one in three use it to track informal assessments.

“Informal assessment is usually kept by teachers in their own way, but we do add the results to our online software tracking system.” IT Coordinator, Norwich

However, with regular, informal assessment a core part of the learning experience, online technology can be used to help teachers to reduce the assessment burden. Rather than spending endless hours marking, online platforms such as ClassFlow, lets teachers create and run assessments, and export results, quickly and easily; with the ability to mark and collate responses at the moment of learning, in real-time. By immediately identifying and addressing any gaps in knowledge, educators can then tailor their lessons to the real needs of each pupil.

“The use of technology has helped me to work more closely with individual students. It is easier to differentiate and give personal feedback without dragging large piles of books around. Students getting feedback on work they have just done allows them to continue straight away and this makes them more focused and engaged in their learning.” Teacher, Abingdon

Likewise, online portfolios can be used as a reliable assessment tool in the classroom, or as a way to support course assignments. Collecting coursework and other achievements online, students can build collections to demonstrate what they’ve learned, and   teachers can monitors this learning on an ongoing basis. However, on 2016, only a quarter of teachers are currently tracking portfolios of learning online.

How do you track and report on the following?

Chart showing how UK schools track and report on planning, attendance, formal assessment, informal assessment and portfolio of learning

Chart showing how UK educators track and report on planning, attendance, formal assessment, informal assessment and portfolio of learning

Continue reading… How pupils are benefiting from educational technology or return to contents page.