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New Specialist Edtech Report - August 2020
New Specialist Edtech Report - August 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on education technology in international schools

Technology has played a crucial role in supporting the continuation of student learning in schools during COVID-19. Understanding the use of technology during campus closures and its impact on international schools is the focus of a new report from ISC Research, the leading provider of international school market data and intelligence.

Research was conducted with 82 international schools from around the world during June, at a time when many schools had been delivering online or distance learning for several weeks. The results show that almost all schools in the survey (99%) had a learning platform in place and were able to support children with their continued learning. However, many challenges and opportunities were faced during this time which are now influencing decisions on teaching and learning into the future.

For the international schools that were surveyed, their main challenge was lack of teacher skills; both in adapting to teaching remotely, and in technology use. Internet limitations were also a problem for 37% of international schools.

A wide range of edtech platforms and resources were put to the test as schools progressed through the period of distance learning. 90% of the schools surveyed said their teachers considered synchronous communication platforms, such as Skype, Zoom and Google Meet, extremely valuable for delivering distance learning to children. Most international schools used a combination of platforms to ensure learning was accessible to every child. These tended to vary depending on the age of students. The popularity of the main brands are identified in the report. In addition to relying heavily on technology, 51% of the schools said that posting learning instructions to some of their students was also considered extremely valuable.

In the research, international schools were asked to select the resources their teachers found most valuable for guiding children through their distance learning. Live online lessons proved to be most popular, followed by instructions that were videoed by teachers. 98% of the international schools surveyed used live online lessons at some point during campus closures.

Many schools highlighted the value of proactive support from parents. "The role of parents cannot be understated," said Ryan Persaud, Director of IT at International School of Curitiba in Brazil. "Our success with virtual learning would not have been possible without a strong partnership with them and our parent teacher organisation," he added. The school, like many international schools, has used a variety of tools to communicate with its parents including emails, webinars, school platforms, WhatsApp and social media.

Assessment proved to be challenging for 90% of schools and the report highlights the main hurdles for this. Overall, however, 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 84% of schools say they are changing their future plans regarding the use of learning technologies as a result of their experiences over recent months. Alan Morley, Head of the English Modern School Doha says his school plans to change its focus towards blended learning as a result of COVID-19. "A mind, once expanded, never returns to its original form. There has been so much growth by virtue of COVID-19, I don't think we will ever return to the traditional format exclusively," he said.

Thanks to Faria Education Group for supporting the production of the report, the Impact of COVID-19 on Education Technology in International Schools report is available free for all from ISC Research. Request your copy now

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