Once again, global education tech company Promethean has dropped its annual “The State of Technology in Education” report.
This meaty piece of research collates feedback from over 2,000 educators and school leaders across the UK, delivering insights at several touchpoints between technology and the learning environment.
We’ll be exploring one touchpoint a week translating insights into actionable advice for businesses that sell to schools.
This week we’re examining the intersection between tech and school strategy.
How does technology factor into schools’ strategic goals?
Schools have many stakeholders, and therefore their strategies are subject to many influences.
Unsurprisingly meeting pupils’ needs and the National Curriculum rank first amongst influences on schools’ strategies, followed by results and appeasing inspectors. (1)
These influences stem from the basic tenents of education, so there’s nothing revolutionary here.
More interesting is the number of educators that identify both changes in technology and the national curriculum as having an impact on student education have seen a sharp uptick of over 20% from the previous year.
Anecdotal evidence to support this suggests schools are increasingly eager to replace traditional methods of education with ones supported by technology, but old fashioned curriculum design is a hindrance to progress.
Trends and Opportunities identified:
- 81.2% of schools’ top priorities are meeting the needs of pupils, and 61.9% are concerned with meeting the National Curriculum
- The impact of technology and the National Curriculum on students’ education more than doubled since last year, with respondents citing over a 20% increase in both areas
Where does technology fit in with schools’ priorities?
As expected, 48.3% of schools identified attainment and achieving better results as a top priority. The second and third highest priorities for schools are providing more creative learning experiences (34.2%) and implementing new techniques and learning strategies (32.4%).
Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but I would hazard a guess that educators that cite changes in technology as impacting students’ education, partially attribute that change to the adoption of new learning experiences and techniques driven by technology.
When responding to technology in specific, schools’ top priorities are boosting engagement, maximising online safety, and using technology to enhance collaboration.
Terms like “engagement” and “collaboration” are nebulous and could describe a multitude of interactions. In this context, engagement refers to communicating with stakeholders, and collaboration is cooperation between teachers. For instance: Shared learning resources via cloud computing allow teachers to be collaborative and creative when meeting the needs of students.
Trends and Opportunites Identified:
- Delivering educational benefits through technology is a steadily growing priority from 9.1% in 2017 to 22.1% in 2019
- Nearly 40% of senior leaders are keen to use technology to enhance collaboration
- Just under half (49.7%) of senior management teams want to use tech to increase engagement
Technology-based learning solutions for schools are primed to boom:
This report confirms that schools are at the very beginning of a trend that will eventually see the widespread adoption of new teaching methods driven by and delivered through technology.
In the same way the use of digital computers and information sharing proliferated amongst schools in the last 30 years, the use of new technology-driven pedagogical techniques will permeate the learning environment in the next 30.
According to feedback from educators, despite the growing influence of technology many schools have yet to factor tech into their schools’ strategies where school leadership are “technophobes” and think of it as “the enemy”.
They may soon find themselves behind the curve as even the world’s largest education publisher, Pearson, has committed to phasing out print textbooks in favour of e-textbooks.
John Fallon, CEO of Pearson, was quoted by the BBC as saying “We are now over the digital tipping point,”. (2)
Consider also that nearly a quarter of households in the UK now own a voice-controlled digital home assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, double that of the previous year. (3)
If advanced technology can be found sitting on our kitchen counters, it’s only a matter of time before it’s sitting on every school desk.
All that being said, here’s what you need to do to align your strategy with schools’ strategies.
The top three things your education technology business needs to focus on for 2020:
- Focus your solutions on supporting pupils’ needs and meeting the curriculum requirements
- Promote solutions that help educators and leaders collaborate and communicate with one another
- Use your marketing to prove the efficacy of technology in education and enhance understanding – you need to win over members of school management that are technology averse