Given the impact of school funding cuts on ICT budgets over the past few years, school leaders who opt to invest in their ICT and EdTech provision have to show tangible results. There might not be a magic formula for ensuring a consistently outstanding return on your investment, but there are some key points you should keep in mind when looking to bring more EdTech into your school.
1. Train your people
One of the main reasons for EdTech not being as effective as it could be is when teachers don’t feel confident using it. Recent research by the British Educational Suppliers Association found that a signficant number school leaders identified a lack of willingness on the part of teachers to use EdTech, coupled with a poor understanding of the benefits that EdTech solutions can deliver, as key obstacles to making more extensive use of EdTech systems within their schools.
This is easily remedied via initial training on the new platform, product or system and regular refreshers. Appropriate training in the use of the relevant EdTech service or product would enable teachers to feel more in control and willing – even happy – to use EdTech in the classroom. CPD might be difficult to fit into existing teacher workloads, but it’s time spent today that will save additional time tomorrow.
2. Use edtech across the curriculum
EdTech isn’t solely effective at helping to teach STEM - it’s just the most obvious use. According to the latest State of Technology in Education report by BESA member Promethean (see tinyurl.com/sot-17-18), “The majority of teachers believe that computing (69%), design and technology (41%) and maths (39%) educators are effectively utilising technology in the classroom. There is minimal increase, however, in the use of technology across core subjects such as history (5%), English (5%), geography (4%) and art & design (12%).”
Yet there are many EdTech products that aim to boost literacy, teach history and even teach modern languages – such as VR headsets, which can help to foster children’s imagination and inspiration.
3. Be strategic
Lastly, but importantly, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what your school needs in terms of ICT and EdTech. Many of us might want the latest VR headsets so that the children can walk in the footsteps of Egyptian pharaohs or swim with whales, but it might not be what your school or pupils need most at the present time. Once you’ve identified that need, know where to go to find the best solution. BESA vets all of its members when they join the association and asks that they adhere to its strict Code of Practice. This assures teachers and heads of the high quality of BESA members’ products and services, their professionalism and dedication to helping schools enhance children’s performance.