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Teachers are still the 'killer app' in the digital classroom

At a time when technology is said to be transforming education, the head of a leading ed-tech company has claimed teachers remain the “killer app” when it comes to improving standards.

Education technology has become a booming market in recent years, with some of the largest companies in the world turning their attentions to schools and universities as potentially profitable areas for business.

Apple, Google and Microsoft have for some time seen education as a major part of their business plans, flooding the market with hardware such as tablets.

The rise in mobile devices has seen an entirely new industry being created with a myriad of education apps developed in a bid to make education more fun and engaging.

But John Martin, chief executive of Sanoma Learning, a subsidiary of the Finnish media company Sanoma, which operates across Europe, believes the most important element in schools remains the teacher.

And he said there were a lot of parallels between how the media and education worlds have been affected by technology.

“When you look at the move from inputs to outcomes, there are real similarities between advertising and education, particularly when you talk about measurable outcomes. And for me, the killer app for education is the teacher,” Mr Martin said.

“It is the teacher who is the single most important factor in terms of improving learning outcomes and we must make sure we add value to the teacher and then evidence that.”

Mr Martin was speaking at the Ed Tech Europe event in London earlier this month, which heard from some of the leading businesses and investors involved in education today.

Earlier on, TES Global's chief executive Louise Rogers said that the rise of technology and the digital era meant that companies working in ed tech had to be prepared to "trash their own business models" if they wanted to succeed in the sector.

"If you don't someone else will do it for you," she added.  

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