Usually disruption in the classroom has been down to wayward pupils, but perhaps the next generation of parents and potentially teachers are set to bring the biggest changes to education. What was thought of as the traditional classroom has long gone. Technology has transformed not only the look of the modern day classroom but also the tools within it. According to government statistics, UK schools spend more than £900m a year on education technology. Yet the latest British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) report, out earlier this year maintained that only 33% of secondary schools and 60% of primary schools felt they were adequately equipped with ICT infrastructure and devices. So, the fact that BESA maintains that spending on ICT is set to rise for the first time in three years should be good news for the technology sector. Primary schools are projected to spend more on ICT during 2018/19, with an increase equating to an average of £400 per primary school, extending spending by around £7m. The forecast for secondary schools during this period is also more positive, with spending increasing by £9m.
Alongside this good news, there is also a fast growing “edtech” sector estimated to be worth £3.4bn by 2021 in the UK with more than 1200 edtech companies operating here. Apps like the highly successful Kahoot, a game-based learning platform, now has a staggering 50m users every month worldwide. Moreover, it’s not just the pupils that benefit, products from Firefly are enabling teachers to spend more time teaching, automating some of the paperwork, and sharing resources that facilitate lesson planning and feedback.
However, perhaps the biggest disruption to the education market is about to become realised. Tech savvy millennials are increasingly an important part of the workforce and those that have also entered the teaching profession will soon be making decisions about the use of technology. Together with parental millennials, the expectation of how technology should be used in the classroom and the devices that should be deployed will be high on their agenda. Technology has made it possible to work anytime and from anywhere and that applies as much to the education sector as it does to business. Emerging technologies like VR/AR are already improving the learning experience and changing the style of teaching. AI will make a similar impact. Not replacing teachers but helping to improve the student learning experience and automating more of the tedious tasks that prevent teachers from teaching.
Resellers that can not only ensure the basic requirements of connectivity, security and devices in schools but also take on the opportunities afforded by emerging technologies and a millennial generation that will simply expect more, will be best placed to prosper in creating the next modern classroom.