How well has EdTech helped counter pandemic learning loss?

December 19, 2020

How well has EdTech helped counter pandemic learning loss

The focus on the ways that education technology should be used to support learning has never been stronger than during the summer term Covid-19 lockdown. In this third report in a series, based on a survey with over 45,000 school staff, pupil, and parent respondents, Edurio examines what learning approaches and education technologies worked well, and not so well, in supporting learners who were for much of the time working from home.

In the first decade of the century, there had been significant investment in schools having learning platforms, in part to help counter potential pandemics, and to enable schools to support learners digitally whether working from home or in school. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a test of how well the schools were still prepared to use technology for supporting learning. A newly published report on the use of technology in schools during Covid-19 and the extent to which EdTech has countered pandemic learning loss shows that:

●      Schools used over 140 different education technology tools and providers to support remote learning last term.

●      8 out of 10 teachers tried out tools they had not used before, and three-quarters of them feel positive about using them after the disruption is over. However, one in five teachers reported that technology problems often disrupted their work.

●      Around half of families reported few or no technology issues disrupting the learning at home. However, one in eight experienced disruption often. While the majority of parents say it was easy for their children to learn using technology, around one in ten felt it had been quite difficult, and 4% of all parents report experiencing great difficulties.

●      Equity remains an issue with 40% of parents with primary school children and 32% with secondary school children mentioning the need to share devices across the family as their biggest challenge last term.

Ernest Jenavs, CEO of Edurio and Co-author of the report says: “During the summer term, schools across England were forced into countless experiments on how to provide learning remotely at scale. Technology was a key element of those, with 8 out of 10 teachers reporting they used tools they hadn’t used before. More importantly, out of those who used new tools, three quarters said they are likely to use them after the disruption is over. While technology hasn’t replaced the role of teachers, if used well, it has supported it and enabled a better learning experience through the disruption. Looking forward, it is critical we collate these lessons and consider how we can use them to provide a better education for our children.”

The Edurio Covid-19 Impact Review on pandemic learning loss was designed in collaboration with United Learning.

“The uses to which staff have put digital tools are both unsurprising and encouraging, as more than half of staff report using technology to support key processes underlying effective teaching. We shouldn’t brush past what an achievement this is, considering the starting point in March 2020. Yet, it is also clear from the responses of pupils that there are worrying equity gaps in provision that the country must address,” writes Dominic Norrish, COO of United Learning.

“This report sheds helpful light on the features of schools’ response to the pandemic and asks the sector to reflect on which aspects of remote education should be retained as we navigate ongoing uncertainty on the path back to stable classrooms.”

In England, the final term of the school year started with schools closing for most pupils or moving schoolwork online, and ended with attempts to reopen classrooms for wider attendance. Edurio, a leading stakeholder feedback provider for schools and multi-academy trusts, partnered with United Learning to design a Covid-19 Impact Review that was launched in June 2020. Between June and July 2020, over 45,000 parents, pupils, and staff from schools across England participated in the review.  The review covered the learning process, stakeholder well-being, school community, and leadership during disruption. The breadth of topics covered, including important elements like the use of technology, workload, and equity, together with the number of respondents made this the largest comprehensive multi-stakeholder review of the Covid-19 impact on schools in England to date.

You can download the report here: