The impact of COVID-19 on edtech in schools

Technology played a vital role in supporting the continuation of student learning in schools during covid-19. A new report from ISC Research looks at the use of technology during campus closures and its impact on international schools. School leaders and technology directors at a range of international schools were invited to participate in research into:

  • learning platform access and effectiveness
  • the most significant challenges, solutions and support teachers experienced during distance learning
  • communicating with parents
  • assessing student progress during distance learning
  • the impact on future plans for the school.

The research was carried out in June 2020 and survey responses were received from 82 international schools located in 41 countries.

Learning platforms and their effectiveness

99% of all international schools in the survey already had a learning platform in place that they were able to use to support distance learning during COVID-19. 80% of those surveyed said their learning platform(s) functioned reliably throughout the period of distance learning.

Google Classroom was the learning platform most used. It is being used by 80% of the international schools that responded to the survey. Several schools use a combination of platforms.

Guided learning and assessment solutions during campus closures

The majority of international schools did utilise live online lessons and video instructions from teachers. Only 10% of the schools said they experienced no challenges with assessment during distance learning. The most common challenge for schools was teachers having insufficient time to support students with their distance learning and also review and assess the learning evidence that was submitted.

Benefits to teachers during distance learning

Colleague support was the most valued benefit for teachers during distance learning. All international schools in the survey said they benefited from this. 82% of schools said the support from colleagues was extremely beneficial. 41% of schools said teachers considered parents to be extremely beneficial during distance learning.
Support from other teachers outside the school community was found to be extremely beneficial by 23% of international schools. Other external support solutions that were highly valued were resources from other schools, resources from external suppliers, and support from experts outside the school community.

A change to future plans?

84% of the schools responding to the survey said their plans regarding the use of learning technologies have changed as a result of adapting to distance learning caused by COVID-19 campus closures. Some examples:

Sandra Ospina, STEAM coordinator at Misk Schools in Saudi Arabia said:

“We are moving to a more blended learning approach to make sure we are ready in case closures occur again, but also to help with personalisation of learning.”

Mark Steed, Principal and CEO of Kellett School, the British International School in Hong Kong said the school is introducing

“educational continuity plans and scheduled annual distance learning days (like fire drills).”

Ben Morgan, Director of IT at United World College South East Asia in Singapore said:

“Having seen how successful asynchronous learning can be for older students we are accelerating plans for changing how older students access the timetable/courses.”

Overall, the message from the report is optimistic. International schools generally feel positive about the learning they have been able to deliver during campus closures, many have identified new opportunities, and are changing their plans regarding the use of learning technologies as a result of their experiences over recent months.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Education Technology in International Schools report is available free from ISC Research at www.iscresearch.com

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