19.May.2015

Schools Relying on Internet Search Engines for Education Spend

Research reveals increasing reliance on the Internet for education investment- (Blackburn– 19th May 2015) – According to a recent study, 68 per cent of schools rely solely on Internet search engines when investigating new technology products and services to enhance education. The new study, conducted by SchoolZone in partnership with Promethean, highlights a number of key educational technology product research and purchasing trends emerging in UK schools.

Ian Curtis, Promethean Head of Western Europe, Africa & ANZ, said: “While teachers are not solely reliant on Internet search engine responses, better guidance on where teachers can find the right advice is needed. We all know that teachers are time-pressured and often become responsible for technology investments without being offered any real research and evaluation support. This raises questions as to whether school investments are being made in technologies that are the best for improving teaching and learning.

“For example, reading a spec sheet for an interactive whiteboard or flat panel will not inform a teacher about how the equipment contributes to enhancing lesson delivery and collaborative learning in the classroom. Teachers deserve the best support in understanding the pedagogical value of a technology, which is difficult to learn when relying solely on Internet search engines or technical specs.” The study found that after initial Internet search engine research, one quarter (27 per cent) of schools turned to review forums or comparison websites for additional advice on what educational technology products to purchase. Gathering information online can be a great starting point, but Promethean recommends that teachers supplement Internet searches for new technologies with three additional approaches to increase the understanding of how new edtech products add value for teaching and learning, including:

1. Attend edtech industry events where products are demonstrated by current or former educators. For example, the annual BETT tradeshow is an excellent resource for teachers to explore emerging edtech products and to understand the educational purpose of new solutions.

2. Request on-site or virtual demonstrations. At-school demonstrations provide teachers across multiple subject areas the opportunity to collectively evaluate the education benefits of new technologies.

3. Solicit recommendations from other schools. The study showed that 67 per cent of schools already seek advice from colleagues ahead of buying new hardware and software. Other schools are seen as trustworthy resources for advice on the educational impact technology products may have to instruction and learning. Over half of schools (56 per cent) report that their school has purchased educational software based on the recommendation of another school or teacher colleague.

To see the full results of the recent education technology research completed by SchoolZone and Promethean, visit http://www.prometheanworld.com/us/english/education/research/research-papers/ .