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UK schools are leading the way in embracing technology

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UK schools top of the global classroom for embracing technology, with majority of parents supportive of remote/hybrid learning

  • 64% of UK schools use technology in everyday teaching and learning practices
  • 55% of parents are supportive of EdTech in the classroom and remote or hybrid learning
  • 57% of UK schools involve students in the planning of technology use in the classroom

The UK education system is a world leader in the adoption and use of technology in the classroom, with teachers, pupils and parents actively involved in the way devices are utilised at school, according to new research released today.

Almost three quarters (64%) of schools in the UK are now embedding technology in everyday teaching and learning practices, using it to transform teaching approaches and learning outcomes.

The findings come from the ‘Capabilities for Success: What’s Working in EdTech Todaywhitepaper from SMART Technologies. The research surveyed more than 3,300 global respondents, including more than 419 in the UK, made up of educational leaders, policy makers, administrators, ICT coordinators and teachers. Collected from SMART’s Edtech Assessment Tool between 2018 and 2022, it is one of the largest studies of education technology adoption available and is based on global frameworks and practices such as those from the OECD and ISTE. 

Parents support schools’ approach to remote/hybrid learning

The research found parents of children between the ages of 4-19 in the UK are actively engaged with how technology is used inside and outside of the classroom. More than half (55%) are supportive of remote or hybrid learning and have been given the training and tools to support their children. This is compared to an average of only 24% of parents who feel the same across the rest of the world. 

More than a quarter (26%) of parents of UK pupils also have significant involvement in technology planning in schools and their children’s digital competencies, which contrasts with a global average of just 16%. Since 2020, the importance of this type of family and community engagement has increased in importance, with schools doing this well reporting higher outcomes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted many schools into remote online learning in compliance with local safety guidelines, but despite the return to in-person teaching, the research found that more than a third (39%) continue to develop curriculum content that can be delivered remotely. Less than a quarter (24%) of schools globally, on average, are doing the same. 

Alongside parents’ involvement, the research found that UK schools are much more willing to involve students in the planning of technology use in schools too. More than half (57%) say their students are involved in decision-making groups and contribute towards the technologies, content and resources used in the classroom, compared to 40% globally. 

As a result of this increased adoption of classroom technology, UK schools are reporting better outcomes for their students and teachers. 84% of schools reported enhanced student preparation in the UK, compared with 78% on average globally. Meanwhile, 76% of UK schools report to have met their teaching and learning goals, compared to just 68% in the rest of the world. 

Those schools reporting high outcomes are using a variety of technology in the classroom, including significant increases in the use of collaborative software, assessment software and game-based software as well as pre-created content, in comparison to schools reporting lower overall outcomes. 

Jim Knight (Rt Hon Lord Knight), Director of Suklaa and former schools minister, said: “While the pandemic has changed the day-to-day execution of teaching and learning across the world, it also accelerated the evolution of technology adoption, curriculum, and other key elements of learning. The data here suggests that technology like collaborative software and game-based activity supports increased levels of student engagement and leads to improved outcomes holistically.

“The world of work is calling for students to finish their education more holistically prepared for the workplace, with many companies placing more focus on noncognitive skills like communication and collaboration over more traditionally academic skills. It is vital the policy changes accompany these needs, along with renewed support for teachers as they navigate new practice and tools.”

Commenting on the research findings, Giancarlo Brotto, Global Education Advisor at SMART, said: “We have been collecting this research for four years now, and the UK is showing itself to be a prominent leader in EdTech adoption.

“It’s clear from the data that technology use in the classroom is advocated not just by the schools themselves, but among parents and students too. At a time when education was pushed to its limits during the pandemic, it has allowed for new and engaging ways of learning to be introduced and enabled crucial connections that matter between teachers and students, especially during lockdowns when face-to-face learning was taken away from students and teachers alike.”

SMART Technologies’ EdTech Assessment Tool questions educational leaders, policy makers, administrators, ICT coordinators and teachers on their organisation’s technology use and teaching and learning outcomes, supporting a collaborative approach to assessing and prioritising digital strategy. 

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