A survey of ICT stakeholders by the National Education Research Panel (NERP) on behalf of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) has revealed widely differing technology requirements between primary and secondary schools, as well as a reliance on teacher expertise and advice over resources provided by the Department for Education.
The survey, which included respondents from 454 primary schools and 252 secondary schools, also showed that only a third of schools were able to assess the effectiveness of technology use in the classroom based on the information made available to them.
Looking at the figures in more detail, 44 per cent of primary school ICT stakeholders said they most value tech recommendations from teachers in their schools, with the figure at 46 per cent in secondary schools.
Key findings include:
- The EdTech solution most in demand in primary schools is for parental communications (27% of respondents), with demand for learning management solutions also relatively high (18%).
- Overall demand for EdTech solutions in secondary schools is higher than identified in the primary sector, with significantly more demand for classroom content (39%), training (35%) and assessment (28%).
- There is insufficient information available for schools to assess the efficacy of EdTech systems or content solutions.
- Only 11% of primary schools and 10% of secondary schools said there is “definitely” enough information.
- Schools strongly disagree with the idea that there needs to be a new government agency to offer advice, following the closure of BECTA in 2011: 85% of secondary schools disagree with the idea, as do 62% of primary schools.
Caroline Wright, Director General, BESA said: “Naturally, teachers highly value the recommendations of their colleagues when it comes to deciding what EdTech product is best for them. It is only natural, given they have first-hand experience of what is working in their classrooms.
“However, it is important that the wide range of EdTech solutions are fully considered, and information needs to be available to make an evidence-based decision. I would advise firstly inquiring whether the EdTech provider signs up to the BESA Code of Practice, developed in consultation with teachers to ensure quality products being offered.
“It is also imphttps://www.besa.org.ukortant that the industry works closely with both schools and academics to ensure that a strong evidence base is developed to show what EdTech offerings work, and what doesn’t. This is why BESA is delighted to be working with the EDUCATE Programme at the UCL Institute of Education to catalyse the development of evidence-based EdTech products and services, helping start-ups to use research evidence to improve and evaluate their products.”