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The State of Technology in Education, 2019/20: Amongst conflicting priorities and perspectives, a commitment to tech

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The State of Technology in Education is back! Now in its fourth iteration, the report highlights the complexities of the educational landscape in the UK and Ireland. While there are many reasons to be positive, there are plenty of challenges to overcome. As ever, conflicting priorities and budgetary pressures act as stressors on SMTs, while workload weary teachers are struggling to find time to complete extra-curricular tasks like training.

One clear positive from this year’s report, though, is the fact that technology is playing a bigger role than ever: edtech is mostly regarded as essential to giving students the tools they will need to thrive in this digital world

This year’s report examines the views of over 2,000 educators, including Head Teachers, Heads of Departments, Heads of Year, Teachers, IT and Network Managers, Business Managers and Teaching Assistants from across the UK and Ireland. We asked them about strategic goals, workload and well-being, staff training, budgets, schools’ use of tech and the future of tech in education.

Here are the headlines. 

School strategy

There is less confidence in schools’ strategic visions. Only 51.7% of respondents believe their school has a clear strategic vision, with 1 in 10 not actually knowing what their school’s key priorities are for the year ahead. This is despite more respondents than ever (19%) taking an active role in formulating school strategy. 

Workload and wellbeing

Workload is at a critical level for many, and represents the biggest threat to staff retention. 80% of teachers believe workload is contributing to high levels of stress in schools. While schools are doing more than ever to try and improve the situation, there remains a perception gap between SMT, IT managers and teachers. 

Staff training and budgets

Training has fallen down the priority list, perceived to be a priority by less than half of respondents that thought it was last year (31.3% → 12.8%). Edtech training is in high demand, but only 16.5% of teachers say they have adequate edtech training and support. 

At the same time, the number of senior leaders who will spend most of their budget on tech has more than tripled in the last year, from 3.9% in 2018/19 to 15.5% in 2018/19: making tech the fourth highest spending priority.

Use of technology

This reflects the fact that there has been a dramatic shift in the perception of the importance of technology in education. Educators (and especially IT managers) strongly believe it helps them to do their jobs better, engage students and improve behaviour. In fact, 9 in ten educators say tech is integral to everyday life and education. 

Against a backdrop of constantly evolving tech, consistent pressure and conflicting priorities, it’s a tough time to work in the world of education. Educators need to continually adapt and refine their approaches to keep up and give pupils the best chance to thrive.

But it’s not all bleak. Despite spinning so many plates, there is a consensus among educators that technology helps them to do their job better. With tech rising up the budget priority list, and the SMT doing more to mitigate heavy workloads, maybe next year will see tech based strategies taking some of the pressure off.

For more insights into exactly what your fellow educators think, explore the State of Technology in Education.