Pandemic pressures highlight areas for improvement in EdTech

More than a third (34%) of teachers found that gaining and holding the attention of learners was their biggest remote teaching challenge during the pandemic, reveals new research.

The forced pivot to education technology (EdTech) as a result of lockdown restrictions highlighted several areas for improvement that need to be addressed before EdTech can be widely and effectively integrated, according to the Mapping the Future of Education and Technology report by Nexer Digital.

The research highlights the differing challenges with EdTech experienced by teachers across all tiers of the education sector. Two in five (40%) higher education teachers struggled to maintain their learners’ attention, whereas only a quarter (25%) of early years teachers reported this as a key issue, highlighting that this isn’t just a juvenile attention span problem.

Giving each learner the necessary support and attention while teaching remotely was another common challenge during remote teaching experienced by a third of educators. Contrastingly, however, this was more predominantly an issue for those teaching primary (42%), secondary (34%) and early years (33%) learners, than for those working in further (19%) and higher (28%) education.

Shaun Gomm Commercial Director at Nexer Digital said: “The pandemic has undoubtedly fast-tracked the widespread implementation of EdTech in the UK, with it now being used in more than half (58%) of all lessons. As many had to swap to remote learning very quickly, the technology used has not always been fully considered, reducing its efficacy. Now, it is crucial to learn from the experiences of teaching professionals during the pandemic to ensure further roll out of tech in classrooms is beneficial to everyone using it.”

When asked about their biggest challenges while teaching in-person, teachers cited the same top three problems: gaining and holding the attention of learners (40%), giving each learner the required support (30%) and keeping in regular contact with each learner (30%).

“As we emerge from the pandemic and EdTech resumes its role as a feature of in-person education rather than just a facilitator of remote learning, educators should embrace digital transformation to address the challenges faced by teachers and support them in delivering better outcomes for learners.”

When asked what they would like to achieve by using more EdTech in the classroom, the most cited answers were improving blended learning opportunities, such as providing materials for self-paced learning (54%), enhancing existing lessons using resources including interactive games and videos (53%), and expanding teaching capacity through tailored learning materials and adaptive software that offers specific materials for each learner (52%).

While EdTech has the potential to be instrumental in improving the education experience for both teachers and learners, technologies must be carefully tested, taking on feedback from teachers and their experience with remote teaching, as well as gathering insight into what they hope to achieve so that the technology truly is a help, rather than a hindrance.

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