In September 2019, we carried out our fourth independent Annual Trends Survey, with over 1,000 UK business professionals having their say on key topics affecting British businesses. Within this survey we asked a number of education professionals what they thought of various trends in technology, and how their education organisation views these trends.
The education sector doesn’t consider themselves innovators?
Technology is having a growing influence in all business sectors and the education industry is no exception. However, it was surprising to see that only 7 per cent of education professionals see their organisation as technology innovators. This is slightly below the overall Trends Survey result across all sectors, which saw 12 per cent of respondents classing themselves as innovators.
However, looking further into the data, we can see that 47 per cent of education respondents are open to adopting new technologies, so perhaps when the survey is taken again next year we’ll see a large shift in these people becoming innovators.
Acting with pace more important in education?
Responding quickly to changes in the market is extremely important in the education industry - more so than in other sectors according to the data. 81 per cent of education respondents believe that the single most important attribute in an education leader is the ability to react quickly to change. This is in contrast to the rest of the survey, where only 47 per cent believe this to be the most important attribute.
While on the subject of leaders in the age of technology; 79 per cent of replies from those working in education stated that they are confident that their leaders are able to create and run a modern digital institution. Julian Drinkall, CEO of Academies Enterprise Trust, stated the importance of this, saying “Organisations have to have a digital vision. The CEO needs to set this vision but they must take into consideration the needs and desires of their staff and customers.”
Results are the most important thing when adopting new technology
When we embrace new innovations, we always want to see how they’ve improved our working lives. But what is the most important thing to consider as a measure of success when adopting new technology? This once again varies in the results from different sectors. When we ran our Trends Survey, we found that 49 per cent of education professionals see the ability to measure performance and ROI as the most important thing when adopting innovative new technologies. This is in comparison to just 37 per cent among the other sectors.
So why is this more important with education? The ability to view data with ease via dashboards, and report on that data, leads to increased visibility which can help drive efficiencies throughout the organisation, and highlight trends across demographics, year groups or even over different education sites.
So what does this mean?
Ultimately, investing in technology for educators is a balancing act, where there is a need to enhance their platforms to further improve their ability to cater for students, but budgets are already stretched year on year. Therefore, it is essential that the education organisation is careful when weighing up the option to innovate and invest in their technology stack.
Cost is a mindset but the reality is that few education professionals considered themselves as technology innovators for the simple reason that they just don’t have the resources to be so. It is, however, encouraging to see that many in the sector are open to the possibility of new technology in their organisation. So who knows, by next year’s results we may see big changes, and education falling more in line with other sectors when it comes to technology adoption.