EdTech: Improving student outcomes with technology. Is it possible? T

here is no shortage of discussion around the world about education and how to achieve the best environment for pupils and teachers. Arguably one of the most debated topics is the effect and expense of education technology to help this endeavor. Over the last several years, we have been told that education technology had little measurable impact on education outcomes. Yet school executives and leaders are still purchasing it. Why?

We live in unprecedented times where collaboration and connection is just a keystroke away through devices or computers. Pupils are utilising technology in their everyday lives and the rapid development and availability of information supplied at faster speeds requires that schools provide a learning environment that keeps pace.

Pedagogical and Technical Priorities Many technological elements are necessary for a school environment’s health and effectiveness. These include mobile devices, management software, large interactive displays, sound, networking and cloud. School executives are also

required to think about pedagogical considerations including assessment, open education resources and communication tools in addition to the foundational technology needs of the school.

As we continue to drive education towards useable lifetime skills and preparing students for viable futures in a technology-based society, group learning, collaboration and the more social aspects of education are gaining importance and are beginning to be measured.

To this end, the need for strategic technology plans has never been greater. In BESA’s annual ‘ICT in UK State Schools’ survey, findings show that on average, primary school pupils spend 53.7 percent of their time engaging with ICT and on average secondary pupils spend 55.5 percent. With over 50 percent of learning time being spent on technology, school leaders need to ensure the right technology is paired with the right teaching strategies to achieve the best outcomes. Earlier this year, SMART Technologies commissioned a global study from Filigree Consulting, titled Teaching, Technology and

32 Impact on student outcomes

The impact of collaborative teaching combined with technology is overwhelmingly positive: 76 percent of survey respondents reported that their efforts in technology and collaborative learning pedagogy strongly or very strongly improved their student's skill development.

Social and emotional skill development was chosen as a metric for the study, because fostering collaboration and communications skills in students is a consistent theme from business

September 2017

Learning: Understanding the Interconnection. Several sources and their own research, indicate that technology alone has little impact, but a broad implementation addressing people, pedagogy and technology can have significant impact. Filligree found that large interactive displays are integral to the classroom ecosystem and are pivotal in effective group and whole class pedagogy and student driven learning. The interconnections of pedagogy, technology and teaching practices are important in improving student outcomes.

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