What do you think will be the main things we'll be seeing in ed tech in 2018?

In 2018, technology will evolve according to the demands and needs of schools, teachers, pupils and their parents and carers.

We have already seen this with the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), championed for its efficiency and reduced pressure on schools’ budgets, as well as the continued success of online learning platforms as we increase our understanding of the value of alternatives to mainstream environments for monitoring attendance, attainment and behaviour.

On the other hand, is it possible that it expands too quickly? Some teachers may be apprehensive to change and using technology, and its potential is greater than what it is currently being used for. The way it can impact education this year is far-reaching.

This year, we’ll be entering the second year of the new GCSEs and we expect to hear more about the upcoming introduction of T levels. As such, edtech will reflect the demands for effective revision strategies and support in further education. There will no doubt be more innovations within the field of online learning platforms to accommodate these needs, allowing educators to set, assess and provide feedback for assignments and revision tasks through virtual classrooms and live streaming, for both for GCSE qualifications and those part of further education programmes.

Teachers could be using technology more effectively and shouldn’t be scared of it.  The students’ knowledge of technology will quickly become light years ahead of teacher understanding and knowledge of the same technology. So this, plus an unpredictable political landscape, means the needs of every player within the education sector are constantly evolving. That’s what is so exciting about Bett – it’s our chance to gather and share best practice for priorities of the upcoming year.

What do you think will be the main ed tech challenges in 2018?

The challenges in 2018 will undoubtedly include the impending GDPR changes, as suppliers and schools alike will need to remain compliant or risk a heavy fine. Not only this, but the safeguarding element is paramount to protect children and their data. With more resource dedicated to the implementation of changes aligned to GDPR, school business managers will be looking for technology that reduces time pressures on teachers to create a more efficient classroom.

As such, turning to platforms that offer a way to reduce time spent on marking, attendance monitoring and preparation for parents’ evenings will be key. On top of this, schools will be selecting solutions that are cost effective, with ever decreasing budgets to work with. Focusing on keeping information in one place, which can be easily accessed and updated, and encouraging a self-reflective assessment environment for pupils streamlines monitoring and attainment forecasting. Reducing paperwork for the teacher and empowering students to take responsibility for their learning and engage with their education are priorities for schools, and edtech will need to reflect this, offering schools the ability to see attendance and attainment pattern or behaviour reports at the click of a button to reduce time spent on administrative tasks. 

The challenge in edtech this year will therefore be to continue to find tools and strategies that allow us to work smarter, not harder.

Sam Warnes, founder and creator of EDLounge

Stand: D150