As part of our annual State of technology in Education 2018/19 report, we ask teachers and other school staff about their tech preferences, then assess how these trends are evolving year on year. Our survey indicates that teachers across the UK and Ireland are increasingly motivated to use edtech in their learning practices.
Gradually, more teachers are striving to innovate by using technology, according to our survey. But the bigger question is why. Here are three reasons, according to our respondents:
1. More confidence in tech
Your pupils are digital natives, most are very comfortable with technology. One of the reasons other teachers have been reluctant to use edtech in the past, therefore, was a lack of tech confidence compared to their students.
This year, teachers claim to be more tech-savvy; over 83% state they know the same or more about edtech than their students.
“We should be investing in pupils’ understanding and application of technology and tapping into the most valid medium of our time.”
Senior teacher, academy primary school, East England
Encouragingly, almost 20% of teachers now believe they know a lot more about education technologies than their students, up from 10% in 2016. With growing confidence in their inherent tech capabilities, we are seeing increased use of online tools in classrooms by teachers.
2. Greater student engagement
A clear development this year is the common recognition by teachers that technology can boost engagement and behaviour in schools.
Almost all teachers (94.2%) agree that edtech can improve engagement levels to some degree, and the majority (72.3%) think that behaviour can also potentially be improved.
“Technology is changing the way we live so it should change the way we learn.”
Head of department, independent senior school, South East England
One of the highest priorities for schools is raising attainment, according to our survey. If more teachers now recognise that technologies boost engagement levels, they are both improving the learning experiences for their pupils whilst contributing to higher-level school objectives.
3. Focus on GDPR
In May 2018, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, albeit under a cloud of marginal ambiguity. This renewed focus on data protection has put digital tools and the use of online resources at the forefront of many educators’ minds.
“In the short-term GDPR has created uncertainty but long term it is useful to protect everyone’s data.”
Head teacher, academy secondary school, East England tweet
There are mixed feelings about the value of GDPR in schools. Yet (of those survey respondents who know what GDPR is) over 15% think it will contribute towards a digital-first future in schools.
At the same time, however, almost a third (31.5%) of respondents worry it will add to their workload.
Overall, schools are becoming increasingly digital-first, largely thanks to teachers’ improved confidence in their digital abilities, and a widespread appreciation for tech’s potential to boost engagement. GDPR, meanwhile, has put more focus on online data protection, yet recognition for its ability to prepare schools for the future is still somewhat limited.
To read more about these tech developments, and many more, download this year’s State of Technology in Education Report. It’s packed full of first-hand insights from real teachers, heads and other school staff in the UK and Ireland.