A new survey by Promethean brings together nearly 400 educators including teachers, school leaders and IT managers to share their thoughts and opinions on the use of technology in today’s classrooms.
Pioneered by Promethean, the State of Technology in Education Report is the first of its kind in Australia.
It delivered insights into five key areas of the education agenda – strategic goals, staff training, schools’ budgets, the use of technology and the future of technology.
Alistair Hayward, Head of UKI and APAC at Promethean, explores some of the report’s findings in more detail.
Australia’s education technology landscape
When it comes to strategic goals, staff should be aligned with their school’s priorities and engaged with the decision-making process if they are to feel valued – and reassuringly, this is broadly the case.
Over 70 per cent of teachers agree with their school’s strategic priorities, and 70 per cent of all respondents said they felt involved with the decision-making process. What’s more, two-thirds of respondents indicated that technology was a top priority at their school, highlighting a united front on ed-tech integration.
It goes without saying that staff – teachers especially – need training to use technology effectively, but this isn’t always delivered. Just 7 per cent of teachers felt they receive full training and support for ed-tech – and school leaders recognise the issue with just 36 per cent agreeing that training is a priority in their school.
It’s not simply a case of making training available though, as over a quarter of teachers said that they don’t have the time to learn how to make the most of their equipment. School leaders must make allowances by planning training sessions within school time, rather than adding to teachers’ already-inundated schedules.
Effective training for educators
Following the State of Technology in Education Report’s insights into training scarcity, Promethean has developed a multi-faceted approach to supporting schools with the challenges of providing suitable training.
In order to help teachers access training at a classroom level, Promethean is offering ‘Lunch and Learn’ professional development sessions. During these sessions, teachers can work with trained Promethean staff to further their understanding of education technologies and how best to use them in the classroom, with dedicated best practice advice for activities across the curriculum. Teachers are also welcome to bring specific concerns and challenges to these sessions, where they can be discussed in an open and productive environment.
The difficulty of delivering regular training also highlights the importance of easy to use ed-tech solutions. Training is imperative, but teachers’ lives can also be made easier by implementing intuitive equipment which enables them to upskill independently. Teachers’ preferences vary, and while some look for structured training sessions, others might benefit from time to explore the functionality of new technologies by themselves. If schools invest wisely and choose intuitive solutions, teachers will be able to build their confidence and develop effective teaching and learning experiences.
Budgetary barriers and impact on teaching
Unsurprisingly, budgets are a key concern for teachers and school leaders alike. Over 75 per cent of school leaders indicated that budgetary constraints will impact their ability to deliver school strategies. As well as finding financially viable solutions, school leaders must breed confidence in their staff, as many educators remain unsure of how their school’s money is being spent.
It’s not all negative though. Attitudes towards technology are remarkably positive, with 90 per cent of educators believing that it helps them to do their job better. Moreover, teachers are beginning to look beyond simply using technology and are starting to think about where it can make the biggest impact – 95 per cent said that technology is a great way to engage students, and 50 per cent believe it can improve behaviour in the classroom.
Across all respondents, technology tops the list when asked about the main factors that will impact education in the future. However, there remains an agreement that technology will enhance, rather than supplant, traditional teaching methods and resources.
When asked which technologies will see significant growth, respondents pointed towards online and cloud-based resources such as online planning and delivery, and online assessments.
Attending industry events is a practical way for teachers to keep up with developments in education technology, and share experiences and best practice advice with fellow education professionals. Smaller, local events as well as international education exhibitions like EduTECH, which takes places annually in Sydney, are all worth attending.
Technology will continue to be implemented within Australian education and will bring benefits to students and teachers alike.
In the words of one respondent (a classroom teacher at an independent primary school located in Western Australia), education technology will “allow us to develop more hands-on and engaging lessons where students can be in control of their own learning.”
For more insights and information on the ed-tech landscape in Australia, download the full State of Technology in Education Report online at www.PrometheanWorld.com/StateOfTechAU.