What are the EdTech trends we can expect in 2022?

Winston Poyton, Senior Product Director at IRIS Software Group, shares his predictions for the EdTech sector this year.

The pandemic caused the greatest upheaval this generation has seen. To combat the impact of long-term lockdowns, technology disrupted every sector with innovative products and solutions providing a lifeline for business continuity, and education was no exception.

Yet with the Education Policy Institute suggesting a minimum of £78bn in lifetime earnings will be lost by children who missed out on in-person education in England (£46,000 each), a major task lies ahead in dealing with our new reality. Now more than ever, we need enhanced teaching to prevent any further negative side effects of children’s increased time in the digital learning world.

Although 2021 was in many ways a milestone year in education, research revealed that 44% of teachers and school leaders did not have apps to capture work and assessments, and only 39% had the capacity for parents to view student data.

As students, parents and teachers continue to live with the risk of having to self-isolate at any given moment, 2022 will need to be the year when the disruption in education becomes the new normal. As we look ahead, there are three key trends we expect to see.

Adopting an automation-first mindset

Teachers’ focus has been on delivering schooling in a rapidly changing 18 months. However, with over 200,000 UK students still absent from school for Covid-related reasons every week, schools need to make the best of continued hybrid learning.

With this in mind, we will see a real drive from teachers and senior-leadership teams to adopt tools more quickly, so they can better access data and improve outcomes for themselves and students. Having highly automated processes is a risk minimised approach, but it needs to be easy and adoptable. So expect to see increased adoption of automated financial planning and management to reduce historic risks and make budgets smarter.

The driving factor behind this automation-first mindset is to make it easier for teachers to improve the life chances of every student. Keeping this front of mind will be key to ensuring teachers continue to push adoption forward.

A greater shift to cloud

Teachers and senior leaders are crying out for modern, cloud-based infrastructure and for some time now, it has been the Department of Education’s aim for all schools to access a modern broadband infrastructure to support schools’ much-needed move to the cloud.

The last two years have highlighted a one-size-fits-all approach to Education Technology (EdTech) simply won’t work though. Schools and Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) need to remain agile and be able to adapt to the ever changing circumstances in today’s turbulent world. As such, we can expect to see a further shift to cloud technology in education, where information can be accessed from anywhere in real-time.

Cloud-based solutions keep data safe and are easy for teachers to navigate and use. Embracing this in the way many businesses have during Covid could set schools and Trusts up to dramatically change for the better. Ultimately, migrating IT infrastructure to a cloud-based environment gives Trusts the peace of mind that their servers will be secure and easy to deploy and manage, data is easily accessible, and that they’ll always have the ability to scale up and down as their Trust requires.

While reducing the need to rely on on-premise infrastructure and moving to a more reliable cloud-management environment has long been on the agenda, it is now essential in order for schools and Trusts to plan for the long-term.

Greater use of data

Schools and MATs are constantly challenged to provide high quality learning, safeguarding and experiences across all schools. However, a staggering 90% of school leaders report data and analysis is a significant issue impacting their workload. The industry is only scratching the surface when it comes to using real-time data to inform decision making to drive educational or operational impact on scale; something that will need to advance in 2022, especially with GCSE and A-Level exams expected to be more difficult.

This will drive a big trend of more schools and Trusts adopting informative dashboards that present, at a glance, statistics to key trust level roles. Added to this, we’ll see more powerful reporting that provides a detailed view of critical data such as attendance, assessment, wellbeing, behavior at trust, school, class and pupil level with drill through capability.

We will further see a drive to use this easily manipulated data to make informed decisions and drive impactful interventions for Trusts, schools and students. Intuitive reporting, presentation and representation of the data will drive conversations with colleagues to understand the real life (human) stories behind the numbers and provide a holistic view of each teacher and pupil. With less effort expended in bringing data from individual, unconnected systems together, more time will be spent on delivering the best outcomes for students.

Educators care about one thing – improving the life chances of every student they teach. In 2022, Schools and MATs will increasingly adopt an EdTech ecosystem that drives engagement, not isolation. This will ensure no more students suffer negatively from blended learning.

EdTech can assist schools in moving to an agile way of working which can absorb the constantly changing situations and provide stability for teachers, school leaders, students and parents.