In Promethean’s recent roundtable, ‘The State of Technology in Education – The Big Debate’, a group of experts from across Australia joined Education Futurist, Tony Ryan, to discuss all things edtech.
The roundtable explored a series of key topics within the education agenda, and the debate began with a key question on technology uptake: is training one of the biggest barriers to effective technology usage and adoption?
In this blog, we’ll take a look at what the panelists had to say and how their insights match up to the findings of Australia’s first State of Technology in Education Report.
Is staff training a barrier to edtech usage?
Moira Mackenzie, Principal of The Caves State School, opened the roundtable discussion by agreeing that staff training is certainly a barrier to edtech adoption, and her view was quickly echoed by her fellow panellists.
It’s not just our roundtable experts that believe this to be the case, though. The 2019 State of Technology in Education Report revealed that more than half of educators believe that while they receive some training and support, more could be done – and just 7% suggested that they receive full training and support when it comes to edtech.
Crucially, the report also discovered that where edtech is available but not being used, 21% of teachers cited lack of proper skills as the key reason.
How can schools address the teacher training deficit?
Although there are options for teachers looking to upskill when it comes to edtech, it’s important that schools support educators with effective training and support.
Drawing on her experience as IT Coordinator & Teacher at The Friends’ High School, Adele Harding highlighted that training must always be relevant on a school-by-school basis. Rather than offering general support for using tech in the classroom, school leaders should ensure that their teachers receive dedicated training for the edtech solutions that they have access to. In this way, teachers can build capability and confidence and translate those experiences directly to the classroom.
Peter Kent, Principal of Birrigai Outdoor School, furthered Adele’s comments by stressing the importance of a positive culture around education technology. When teachers feel supported and recognise that they have the space to experiment and try new things with technology, edtech uptake is a much better experience.
Staff training is undoubtedly a barrier to technology adoption of interactive displays and usage but by no means an insurmountable one. It’s important to recognise that the responsibility for ensuring access to training and support doesn’t rest with school leaders alone – whilst school management teams should endeavour to provide effective training and support, edtech manufacturers can also make resources freely available which will help teachers to upskill.
To learn about what Promethean is doing to address the teacher training deficit, please read our teacher training blog article.