How Edtech can bring the digital consumer experience to schools and MATs

When you log onto Uber, the tiniest detail is mapped out; from the font that receives the most attention, to the best time of day to run a commercial promotion and which payment options are available. Yet while the big tech giants have made this superior user experience the standard we expect in our daily lives, it is far from the reality experienced by teachers and schools when it comes to Edtech.

Across education, the pandemic saw technological advances that would have taken decades to come about be adopted in months. AI and the cloud significantly improved the way schools operate, for both students and staff. However, research has revealed that 44% of school leaders still do not have apps to capture work and assessments, and only 39% have the capacity for parents to view their child’s student data in 2021.

Over 200,000 students are still absent from school for COVID-related reasons every week in the UK; clearly, blended learning is here to stay. With recent figures revealing a minimum of £78 billion in lifetime earnings could be lost by children who missed out on education during the pandemic, schools need Edtech solutions that take a leaf out of the digital consumer experience book. Blended learning must be delivered in a way that won’t negatively impact any more students, no matter where they are learning.

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Bringing the consumer experience to education intelligence

Stretched-for-time teachers are still spending a significant proportion of their day and energy looking for and extracting vital information, such as academic results, attendance and safeguarding notes. Without easy user access to utilise insights from technology platforms, it’s difficult for teachers to step in at the point of need. Although many teachers have created their own workarounds during the last 18 months, this isn’t a sustainable long-term solution.

A staggering 90% of school leaders report data and analysis is a significant issue impacting their workload. With the 2022 GCSE and A-level exams expected to be significantly more difficult, there has never been a more critical time to provide teachers with the intelligence we see in consumer tech: that which we have come to expect outside the classroom and in our daily lives.

As with other industries, accelerated digital transformation is no silver bullet and a one-size-fits-all approach to Edtech simply won’t work. IT systems must be able to talk to each other within schools and trusts, and greater standardisation is needed across the whole country. We need a razor-sharp focus on implementing effective, user-friendly Edtech to help navigate changes today and tomorrow.

Empowering teachers

Teachers are crying out for modern, cloud-based infrastructure and tools. For long-term blended learning to be successful, they need the same real-time intelligence to monitor all activity across a Trust and each school. Most importantly and critically, this insight can be used to improve educational outcomes.

Harnessing a single, secure cloud-based platform streamlines teachers’ admin tasks, saving time and removing the pain of keeping on top of internal messages and term-end reporting; empowering them to step in at any point of need and focus their precious time on the job at hand – teaching.

This also creates integrated, community-wide comms, enabling teachers to have full visibility and a holistic view of each student. It also allows them to get the right information to the right people at the right time, making sure both staff and parents can work seamlessly to improve the chances of every pupil.

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Diversion of energy

Teachers’ focus has been delivering schooling in a rapidly changing 18 months. However, now, as things become more ‘normal’, people are starting to consider how to best make use of the new hybrid learning environment.

Through this diversion of energy, teachers and SLTs can adopt tools more quickly, enabling them to derive data better and have improved outcomes.

In my view, the case for brining all the incredible consumer experiences is clear. It’s being called for by schools and Trust leaders, and is one that mimics the incredible technology progression we’ve seen as consumers over last few decades. Daily innovations are falling into our hands designed to make technology seamless and easy to use — schools and MATs must have the same.

Done right, Edtech can set educators up with the next generation technology they need over the coming years. We can’t afford to let this opportunity to improve pass the sector by.

Written by Winston Poyton, senior product director for education at IRIS Software Group

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