The State of Technology in Education Report 2020/2021

The State of Technology in Education 2020/21

Every year for the last 5 years, the UK based interactive panel giants Promethean, have surveyed over 8000 educators across all UK education sectors to gauge the ‘State of Technology in Education’

The year's report is more important than ever, as it reports on how Covid-19 will have an impact on the future of learning in our schools. I would urge everyone to have a good read as you will see your school amongst the statistics and comments, and although it doesn’t offer an easy fix, highlighting any shortfalls in technology strategies is key in trying to rectify them.

The main findings in the report offer a stark reminder to education that key to an effective and engaging use of technology to support positive educational outcomes is an inclusive up to date strategy that involves all key stakeholders. The data paints a worrying picture; only 36% of schools have an ICT strategy, and of those, 70% are led by the headteacher, with nearly 60% of teachers having no involvement in any strategic planning. This is countered by the fact that almost 40% of schools see Education Technology for engagement as a strategic priority. So put the kettle on, gather your key staff and see where you want to be in the next 3-5 years; plan and budget how you’re going to get there. If you need help, ask for it. There are plenty of companies out there willing to sit at the table with you and offer impartial, vendor agnostic advice to help you attain your strategic goals.

Another aspect of the report worth highlighting is the decline in the importance of training in education technologies. Again, the data shows a worrying trend in this important area in any strategic planning with tech training for teachers dropping in priority by 23% over the past five years and only 1% of schools are prioritising tech training this year. Over 60% of SLT members say training is adequate, although only 19% of teachers agree, and 41% of respondents say staff have had to find time to train themselves. Only 11.5% of educators think full training is provided by their school and 41% of teachers disagree with their school's training priorities.

‘Of all the school objectives identified for the coming year, teacher training is third from the bottom, prioritised over soft skills and updating technology only.’

What is happening in our schools? Almost half of educators identify budgets as the main reason there's not more training provided at their school, followed by time restrictions. Divert hardware funds to training or staff cover, buy one laptop less, to allow for teachers to become proficient with this technology, it’ll be more effective in the long term.

‘issues like online security and safeguarding have become increasingly pressing with the widespread use of online tools, all the while teachers have become more and more confident with tech. At the same time the number of educators that simply don't know their school's priorities has also skyrocketed.’

The above is true, with most learning systems and resources online now, it is imperative that schools and teachers protect their children with robust tools and practices to shield them from the adult nature of the internet. There are more effective tools now to shield our children from harmful content and alert us on any safeguarding issues, this does need to be supported by rigorous training, but this may have become such a priority now that it is draining the training pot, diverting some of the focus away from upskilling staff on engagement methodologies.

‘But why has training plummeted? As teachers become more proficient with tech, seen in our survey, is the perceived need lower? Or have other goals simply taken priority?’

The new cohorts of teachers flowing into schools are deemed tech savvy, confident, understand apps, the internet and online tools and don’t appear to need any training. This might be a shortfall in any training strategy and could be addressed with a school-wide strategy that might have identified this.

Consider a school investing in Chromebooks, a fantastic managed resource that should be effective for 5 years, a great investment by the school. But how effective are they if no-one knows how to use them to properly support teaching and learning, or will they just be used to access the internet for research, we’ve all been there before.

‘Technologies and tools are constantly evolving. The more confident teachers become, the more they want to learn. Ongoing tech training is required to unite the tricks learnt during lockdown with long-term classroom learning goals.

The State of Technology in Education 2020/21 report, found here, is a must read by all educators. It will enlighten you as you pit your establishment against the statistics, finding your place is one thing, improving your position is another.

As always Computeam are here to help and we have a wealth of experience in delivering effective educational solutions into schools, so please do contact us if you need any further help or guidance.

Posted on December 11th 2020

Loading... Updating page...