EdTech In Schools: What’s Stopping It?
The DfE has a bigger focus on putting more edtech in schools. A new survey has revealed that the number of secondary schools saying money is the biggest barrier has trebled.
The survey was carried out on behalf of the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa). It also found that teachers’ unwillingness to use technology is another obstacle to more edtech being used in the classroom. A sample of 710 schools across England were used for the survey.
The report describes a “sharp increase” in secondary schools saying funding is a key barrier to using edtech. This is up from 14 per cent in 2017 to 40 per cent this year. As far as primary schools are concerned, 35 per cent chose lack of budget – up 6 per cent from last year.
Besa’s director Patrick Hayes told TES that schools may have more use for edtech after the launch of the DfE’s edtech strategy in January. He added:
Certainly at a time when we know there is a huge amount of pressure on school budgets and that in per-pupil terms there is certainly a decline in what schools have to spend, that does mean that very few schools have the budget to realise that edtech ambition that they may have gained over the past couple of years.
Are Teachers Willing To Use EdTech In Schools?
In primary schools, “teacher unwillingness” was the biggest barrier to edtech. It was chosen by 39 per cent of schools, up six per cent from last year. This was also the second biggest obstacle chosen by secondaries, at 33 per cent. This was up nine per cent from 2018.
Mr Hayes went on to say:
Certainly there’s a cultural perception at the moment that artificial intelligence and the rise of technologies may in some ways replace jobs and I think that could speak to a certain reluctance to use it. But also I think if you don’t have the right training, if you don’t have enough time in order to do the training and really experiment with which products are right for you, then there will be a reluctance to use new technology because it’s important that kids aren’t guinea pigs.
Director general of Besa, Caroline Wright, spoke about the free teacher-led edtech CPD conferences LearnED. Besa are delivering these across England with support from the DfE. She talked about LendED.org.uk, a BESA initiative supported by the DfE. This is a free-to-use online portal enabling teachers to source and trial edtech products before committing to buy.
What The DfE Say
A DfE spokesperson said:
We recognise the budgeting challenges schools face but we know there is potential for technology to be a force for good for schools.
To make sure every pound is spent as effectively as possible to give children and young adults a great education, the edtech strategy supports schools, colleges and universities to spend this money on solutions that will make a big difference to them, at the best price.
We are also creating more opportunities for teachers and school leaders to improve their digital skills and knowledge, including the launch of a network of demonstrator schools and colleges across the country which will help provide peer-to-peer support and training.
How does your school do with edtech? Do you need more, and is budget a concern? Perhaps you have the budget but you or your colleagues are unwilling to give it a shot? Whatever your opinions, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!
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