Study reveals majority of school leaders and teachers lack confidence using technology in schools, despite understanding its benefits

With teachers under growing pressure to deliver results amid tightening Ofsted standards, RM Education’s first Teacher Effectiveness Review today (22 Jan) reveals that over half (53%) of teachers in the UK feel that technology has the potential to positively impact their effectiveness in the classroom, with a third (39%) of academic leaders also believing this.

The findings, based on a study of 575 classroom teachers and academic leaders, show that education professionals are concerned that their own effectiveness in the classroom needs to improve (41%). Teachers are increasingly turning to technology to help support them in this, as almost two thirds (61%) believe it has the potential to improve the state of education in the future.

Transforming tech in and out the classroom

Teachers anticipate that technology will help them to save time and effort on tasks outside the classroom. In particular, they’re looking for technology to improve:

  • Lesson preparation and marking time savings (68%)
  • Time saving during the day (39%)
  • Pupil engagement and behaviour improvements (20%)

To this end, the technologies education professionals want to introduce to help them achieve this are:

  • Formative and summative assessments (84%)
  • School management information systems (64%)
  • Parental engagement systems (30%)
  • Digital collaboration tools (28%)

Michael Oakes, Change Strategy Manager at RM Education said:

“For education professionals across the UK, interactive learning tools have promised significant improvements to the way students learn, helping to engage them in new and exciting ways. However, what’s clear is that for all the benefits these provide, there is still a significant amount of work to be done to ensure time consuming administration and processes, such as assessment and monitoring pupil attendance across a term, are as simple and streamlined as possible. Teachers want technologies that make meaningful improvements to their roles, and which free them up to focus on what they’re passionate about: teaching in the classroom.”

Confidence concerns

Despite the potential of technology to improve classroom learning and school processes, just over a quarter (27%) of teachers admit they’re confident in using the existing technology provided by their school. Almost half (42%) believe that their confidence in using the technology provided by their school won’t improve over the next few years.

And this lack of confidence is echoed by the administration and leadership of schools, too.  Only a quarter (25%) of academic leaders are confident in using technology. However, more than a third (44%) believe their confidence will improve over the next few years, highlighting the role that technology providers have to support senior leaders in their IT journey.

Oakes continued: “Schools have a serious job to do when it comes to introducing technologies. They must adopt effective change management strategies to ensure teachers and staff are trained in how to use new technologies, so that they understand how to not only make the most of it but are also confident in the results it produces. This is especially important as the next generation of teachers enter the workforce. Schools must now be able to cater for young professionals who are digital natives.

“From sufficient internet speeds to classroom technology and cloud management, these teachers have much higher expectations of the technologies that schools provide. This is putting pressure on schools to innovate faster, and the schools that are doing digital effectively are proving far more desirable places to work for younger teachers. Ultimately unless leaders and teachers are confident with the technologies being introduced, any innovation and investment will fall by the wayside and not make the improvements teachers are looking for; and students deserve.”

Methodology: The Teacher Effectiveness Study was compiled from data collected from 575 opted-in members of the National Education Research Panel (NERP) through an online survey in November 2019.

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