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Schools turn to teachers and snub DfE for education technology advice, survey finds

Primaries want education technology to help with parental communications, while secondaries want it for classroom content

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Primaries want education technology to help with parental communications, while secondaries want it for classroom content

Teachers are seen as the most valuable source of advice about education technology for schools, while the Department for Education is the least influential, new research has found.

A National Education Research Panel (Nerp) survey of ICT leaders and decision makers in schools found that only a third of schools feel there is sufficient information to assess the effectiveness of ed tech.

Of those who took part, 44 per cent of those in primary schools and 36 per cent in secondary schools said they most value recommendations from teachers in their schools.

The DfE came bottom of the list, chosen by just 7 per cent of primary respondents and 4 per cent of secondary respondents.

The findings, outlined in a report by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), revealed the ed tech priorities of different types of schools.

Primary schools most wanted ed tech to help with communication with parents, chosen by 27 per cent of respondents, with 18 per cent choosing learning management solutions.

In secondary schools, the priorities were classroom content (39 per cent), training (35 per cent) and assessment (28 per cent).

'Strong evidence base' is needed

Caroline Wright, director general of BESA, said it was natural that teachers highly value the recommendations of colleagues, who had first-hand experience of what was working in their classrooms.

She added: “It is important that the wide range of ed tech solutions are fully considered, and information needs to be available to make an evidence-based decision.

“I would advise firstly enquiring whether the ed tech 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 ed tech offerings work, and what doesn’t.”

The search found no appetitite for a new government body to offer advice in this area, following the closure of the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency in 2011.

Among secondary schools, 85 per cent strongly disagreed that there was a need for a such a body. The figure was 62 per cent for primaries.

Respondents from 454 primary schools and 252 secondary schools took part in the survey.

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