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Exclusive: Money 'biggest barrier' to edtech use

Schools increasingly cite data protection rules such as GDPR and e-safety as obstacles in making use of edtech

edtech, ed tech, technology, education, funding, primary, secondary

Schools increasingly cite data protection rules such as GDPR and e-safety as obstacles in making use of edtech

A lack of money is the biggest barrier to secondary schools using edtech, according to a new survey.

The findings by the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa), released to coincide with London Edtech Week, also show growing concerns about data protection and e-safety.

Besa said a representative sample of 437 primary schools and 244 secondary schools participated in the survey, which took place in mid-April.

A significant proportion – 28 per cent of secondary schools and 29 per cent of primary schools – cited lack of budget as the biggest obstacle to using “edtech systems or content solutions”.

This represented a 14 percentage point rise on last year for secondaries, and a 11 percentage point rise among primaries.

However, primary schools said teacher unwillingness to use edtech (32 per cent – down 9 points from 2017) and understanding the benefits of edtech solutions (30 per cent – down 6 points) were bigger obstacles than a lack of money.

Fears about data regulations

Regarding secondary schools, the report says: “Since last year, significantly more have identified lack of budget as a barrier to further adoption of edtech systems and content solutions.

“In addition, there is increased emphasis on e-safety and data protection.

“On the positive side, there is a lower emphasis on teacher unwillingness to use edtech as a barrier.”

The increase in concerns about e-safety and data protection came ahead of the introduction of the new GDPR regulations, which took effect last month.

A quarter of primaries and secondaries named these as one of the main barriers to making use of edtech in schools – representing an 11-point rise in primaries and 15-point rise in secondaries.

The survey also pointed to differences in how schools use edtech.

In secondaries, CPD and training were the areas where edtech was in most demand (37 per cent), followed by classroom content (32 per cent) and safeguarding and e-safety (24 per cent).

In contrast, parental communication was the biggest use of edtech in primaries (29 per cent), followed by learning management (26 per cent) and CPD and training (25 per cent).

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