Nov 12 2020

The State of Educational Technology in a Post-Pandemic World

Promethean’s latest report explores what technology use looks like in today’s K–12 schools and how it will impact learning for future students.

Some may say 2020 is the year of educational technology. When COVID-19 pushed schools to go remote, educators and students became more reliant on technology than ever before.

The transition to this learning environment also revealed new insights on the state of technology in education. The “education system is evolving at an unprecedented rate, and making effective edtech investments will be critical in the year ahead,” according to a recent report by Promethean.

Yet there are remaining challenges that need to be addressed. As the report notes:

“Roadblocks like lack of technologies, students without access to at-home internet connectivity and teachers desperately needing more professional training are widening the digital divide. Administrators have been hard-pressed to provide both short-term solutions and forward-thinking guidance.”

To get a clearer picture of what the state of ed tech will look like in a post-pandemic world and how schools can prepare for future obstacles, Promethean conducted a survey of nearly 1,200 U.S. school administrators and teachers. Here are key findings from their report.

Deep Disparities in Digital Access Persist

The digital divide is the top challenge school districts are facing, according to the report.

Thirty-one percent of survey respondents said it’s their biggest barrier to maximizing student success this school year, followed by the impact of the summer slide (26 percent), lack of technology training for teachers (13 percent) and lack of district-level technology resources (6 percent).

Although delivering education through technology is a top priority for many districts, they’ll need to ensure equity and accessibility are top of mind, according to the report.

DISCOVER: Find out how K–12 leaders are ensuring students in rural areas have Wi-Fi access and devices.

When Making Tech Investments, Districts Should Embrace Simplicity

Districts will also need to be intentional about their technology investments in a growing ed tech market, especially amid budget cuts, according to the report. To simplify that decision-making process, school and district leaders can take a look at the technologies educators already swear by.

Promethean found that 77 percent of survey respondents felt desktop computers and laptops were the most frequently used technology in their schools. Meanwhile, more than half (52 percent) chose interactive panels or whiteboards, followed by tablets (39 percent).

RELATED: How can interactive displays boost classroom collaboration?

Technology Training for Teachers Is a Must

Effective technology training will also be crucial moving forward. Forty-three percent of respondents said schools need to prioritize training teachers on technology to make remote and hybrid learning successful, according to the report. Meanwhile, 34 percent of educators said their school lacks a formal technology strategy.

“An effective implementation strategy begins with ensuring that all instructors are competent and confident with the solutions they are expected to utilize, from interactive displays and 1:1 devices to software that powers online learning,” the report notes. “Further, schools need to offer continued professional development opportunities with edtech to help educators master the evolutions in classroom technologies and their capabilities.”

READ MORE: How can schools improve teacher training for successful remote learning?

Educators Continue to Embrace Innovation

Promethean also found that educators welcome innovation. The majority (69 percent) said they are “constantly striving to innovate” with technology.

The pandemic has also accelerated digital transformation in schools, which is quickly shaping what education will look like and how it will be delivered in the coming years. Eighty-two percent said that combining technology use with traditional resources and teaching methods is the most likely trend they’ll see in the next ten years. More specifically, respondents expect to see the biggest growth in remote learning (63 percent), virtual learning (54 percent) and online content and resources (50 percent) in schools over the next three years.

“In a post-COVID world, the classroom is no longer contained within four walls,” according to the report. “Edtech will be the key to expanding beyond them.”

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