4 Current Problems with the UK Edtech Market
Since September 2017, I’ve been travelling across the UK delivering Virtual Reality workshops in schools. I’ve now been into over 200 schools and there are 4 key problems I’ve noticed about technology in the education sector.
1. Budget cuts
Budgets are tight and new technology is a luxury schools can’t afford. I’m sure you’re not surprised to see this as a current problem facing the education sector, as there’s been widespread publicity around this problem for the past few years. Even if schools do have money available in their budgets they are being extremely cautious about what they spend their money on. Therefore, if a product doesn’t clearly prove a meaningful impact on results, schools won’t buy into it.
2. Short lived products
A lack of funding is not the only factor having an impact on purchasing confidence. Schools are reluctant to invest in new technology because of the fear of products becoming obsolete in a few years. Take VR as an example; this technology is developing rapidly and over the past few years we’ve seen the release of Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Oculus Go and ClassVR. If a school was interested in implementing VR, which headset should they go with to be certain it’s future proof?
3. Overwhelming choice
Despite funding shortages, there are more edtech products available to schools than ever before. For the past two years, I’ve visited BETT as both an exhibitor and as an attendee. The choice available to schools (over 800 companies exhibiting) is overwhelming and for a lot of schools, they simply don’t know where to start.
4. Commitment and ongoing costs
Another problem that schools associate with purchasing new technology for the classroom are the ongoing training and maintenance costs. Schools are filled with experts in teaching and learning, not technology gurus. A lot of teachers work 60+ hour weeks and finding the time to learn about new technology is not the highest thing on the to do list. A number of schools will opt for companies to come in and deliver CPD training and this can cost a lot of money. In addition to this, schools will often need to pay for maintenance and upgrades to the technology.
If you’re interested in joining a community of schools, visit www.edtechhub.co.uk to register your interest and we’ll let you know when we are ready to launch.
Stuart is a Teach First ambassador, former Google Expeditions associate and founder of PrimeVR and EdTech Hub. He is currently on a mission to provide schools with an alternative option for accessing technology in the classroom. EdTech Hub is a new online platform for schools to rent and share technology and is born out of the frustrations experienced by teachers when trying to find ways for their students to access the latest technology.