How edtech can ease the burden for busy teachers and leaders

How edtech can ease the burden for busy teachers and leaders

by Al Kingsley

 As schools face increasing demand to stretch their budgets and timetables to support staff and students alike, technology continues to offer promising avenues of mitigating this pressure. With schools struggling to strike the balance between managing competing needs and finite resources available to meet them, it is unwise to dismiss technology offhand as an unnecessary and costly financial burden; instead, technology can be a helpful tool to make the most of limited resources.

Undertaking an audit of resources already held at your disposal is a worthwhile starting point, with a view to ensure that existing resources are meeting all your needs and are being used in the most efficient way possible. Whilst this initially presents itself as a rigorous and daunting task, digital guides, which aid understanding when it comes to the efficacy of software and hardware, can be invaluable in helping you through the process step by step, exploring what solutions are working for you and identifying where there is room for improvement.

A simple but significant factor that determines whether schools are getting the most out of their existing technology is ensuring devices and software remain up to date. Not only is it important for guaranteeing that the school has access to the latest features, but it also ensures optimal levels of functionality, so that staff and students can benefit as much as possible. These updates can be automated as well as scheduled, ensuring that valuable learning time is not disrupted, and essential updates are not missed. 

Once an audit has been completed, and all devices and solutions have been updated, schools have a clearer picture of their technology usage, facilitating informed decision-making about the best use of tight budgets. Armed with this knowledge, school leaders are empowered to make accurate assessments of whether their Edtech products are producing a satisfactory return on investment, whether there is an alternate package or solution that might meet more of their needs, or whether money spent on any specific solution may be better directed elsewhere.

Edtech solutions themselves also offer the possibility of cost savings. Certain solutions can help minimise energy wastage; for example, by allowing remote and automated control of devices to switch off those that have gone unused for a specified amount of time, or at certain times. Whilst the margins of savings on energy costs may appear narrow, considering the number of devices one singular school may have, these features can ultimately provide significant savings over time.

The ability of Edtech solutions to free up teacher time is also significant. They can ease the burden of lesson planning by automating plans and facilitating the sharing of resources between teachers around the world. Digital solutions can help provide more pictures of student progress and development, allowing teachers to focus attention where it most needed. At a very basic level, digital learning platforms can reduce the amount of time spent by teachers on repetitive administrative tasks such as copying and printing, with lesson resources shared easily to students’ devices.

Edtech can often be the first on the chopping block as schools face pressure to maintain education standards with increasingly under pressure budgets. Ditching digital solutions in an effort to cut costs without first considering the true benefits of the investment can be a hastily made mistake. Schools may instead be better off taking the time to explore and truly understand how technology can be a helpful aid to teachers and students even at a time of heightened pressure on budgets and resources.

Al Kingsley is the Group CEO of NetSupport. As well as his CEO and Multi-Academy Trust Chair roles Al is chair of his region’s Governors' Leadership Group and chairs the regional SEND Board. With 30+ years of Edtech and governance experience, Al also sits on the Regional Schools Director's Advisory Board for the East of England, is a member of the Forbes Technology Council and sits on the advisory council for the Foundation for Education Development.