Promethean launches fifth annual State of Technology in Education report

The 2020/21 edition analysed responses from more than 2,000 educators, uncovering how COVID-19 could impact the future of the sector

Promethean has launched its fifth annual State of Technology in Education report, collating the insights and opinions of more than 2,000 educators in what has been one of the most transformative years the sector has seen so far.

As the last 12 months have been dominated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Promethean sought to uncover the various strategies and solutions that have steered the sector through this period of disruption, hoping to identify the ways in which the crisis will impact the future of education.

Here are some of the report’s most impactful findings:

Edtech strategy

The focus on boosting student engagement with technology has soared by 29% in the last five years, now standing as a priority for 39% of schools. Sixty percent of respondents also listed results and attainment as their institution’s top priorities; while 57% of IT staff believe their school should prioritise software and hardware updates, and 28% of teachers feel more investments should be made in staff training.

In terms of digital objectives, 48% of schools place most focus on internet safety. Forty-three percent of SLT staff, however, believe tech should be prioritised as a tool for collaboration above everything else.

When it comes to mapping out strategy, 76% of educators claim that headteachers play the lead role. Surprisingly, however, less than 40% of respondents said they had an input in setting edtech strategy, with 44% of teachers saying they are unsure whether their school even has a strategic vision, compared to just 12% of institutional leaders, highlighting a lack of communication surrounding edtech planning.

Classroom use of tech

Of this year’s respondents, 86% firmly believed that tech should form a fundamental part of learning. However, a third admitted they avoid using edtech because their institution’s hardware is often unreliable.

On top of this, eight in 10 educators (79%) claim that classroom tech elevates their teaching performance.

According to the report, IT managers use interactive whiteboards – the most frequently used classroom device – the most out of all school staff. While 57% of teachers say they use interactive whiteboards ‘all the time’, they generally continue to favour more traditional hardware – such as printers and photocopiers.

Seventy-three percent of schools’ senior managers choose to invest in front-of-class technology over tools like laptops and desktop computers. When it comes to tech use breakdown, IT managers are the most regular users of apps (65%), as well as cloud-based homework tools (51%) and cloud-based lesson delivery software (41%).

The report confirms that confidence in edtech use is rising, with reports of teacher struggles falling by 5%. This is no surprise given the widespread implementation of technology which allowed learning to continue throughout the disruption caused by the national lockdown, enforced in March this year.

Promethean’s insights into staff training, school budgets and the future of the sector are yet to be released.

In the report’s foreword, Vin Riera, CEO of Promethean, commented: “It’s been an incredible year for education. COVID, unsurprisingly, has changed the perception of what’s most important. Not only are issues like safeguarding and security naturally higher priorities, but the approach to technology has shifted. Almost all educators say tech is a positive means to improving engagement. Yet keeping pupils motivated, despite huge reliance on tech, was a top challenge during lockdown. As such, educators have recognised where technology can genuinely enhance communication and collaboration, and where it falls short for education – outside of the classroom setting.

“So, there’s likely to be a refreshed, more pragmatic IT roadmap for the coming year. There’s a positive outlook that strategic investments are being made in upgradeable tools that support pedagogy and learning goals.”

In other news: 73% of Brits more inclined to believe STEM education is crucial post-COVID


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