Major report reveals most valued source of edtech advice


BESA, the British Educational Suppliers Association, is the trade association representing over 300 educational suppliers in the UK, including manufacturers and distributors of equipment, materials, books, consumables, furniture, technology, ICT hardware and digital-content related services to the education market. With 81 years of experience, BESA offers unparalleled support, research, events and advice on both UK and International markets, and the future of the education supplies industry. BESA is focused on promoting and providing support and advice to their members, the industry and to schools. 

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Image courtesy of supplier. Image courtesy of supplier.

To mark London EdTech Week, the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) has published a report on how the impact of edtech is currently measured in the classroom. The report features survey work undertaken by the National Education Research Panel (NERP) on ICT leaders and decision-makers from 454 Primary schools and 252 Secondary schools in England.

The report finds that teachers are the most valued source when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of edtech. 44% of respondents from Primary schools said they most value recommendations from teachers in their school, as did 36% of Secondary school respondents. The least influential source across all schools was the Department for Education (DfE), with 7% in Primaries and 4% in Secondaries. Local Education Authorities – once an influential source of advice – also came close to the bottom of the list.

Key findings include:

  • The edtech solution most in demand in Primary schools is parental communications (27% of respondents), with demand for learning management solutions also relatively high (18%).
  • Overall demand for edtech solutions in Secondary schools is higher than identified in the Primary sector, with significantly more demand for classroom content (39%), training (35%) and assessment (28%).
  • There is insufficient information available for schools to assess the efficacy of edtech systems or content solutions.
  • Only 11% of Primary schools and 10% of Secondary schools said there is “definitely” enough information.
  • Schools strongly disagree with the idea that there needs to be a new government agency to offer advice, following the closure of BECTA in 2011: 85% of Secondary schools disagree with the idea, as do 62% of Primary schools.

Caroline Wright, director general of BESA, said: “Naturally, teachers highly value the recommendations of their colleagues when it comes to deciding what edtech product is best for them. It is only natural, given they have first-hand experience of what is working in their classrooms.

“However, it is important that the wide range of edtech solutions are fully considered, and information needs to be available to make an evidence-based decision. I would advise firstly enquiring whether the edtech provider signs up to the BESA Code of Practice, developed in consultation with teachers to ensure quality products being offered.

“It is also important that the industry works closely with both schools and academics alike to ensure that a strong evidence base is developed to show what edtech offerings work, and what doesn’t. This is why BESA is delighted to be working with the EDUCATE Programme at the UCL Institute of Education to catalyse the development of evidence-based edtech products and services, helping startups to use research evidence to improve and evaluate their products.”

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