We surveyed 533 educators about EdTech

Here are their fascinating, insightful answers…

The education technology sector is experiencing what could be the biggest period of change since desktop computers and internet access were introduced to schools.

Technologies such as AI, robotics and coding, online assessments and interactive touchscreens are at the forefront of discussions around digital learning and pedagogy.

This is supported by the DfE EdTech Strategy and its accompanying EdTech Challenges, showing the government has acknowledged the positive impact education technology has on educational outcomes.

With all this as a backdrop, it’s vital for education suppliers to understand how schools work. Only with this knowledge can they deliver the best service.

  • What challenges are schools facing?
  • What aspirations do schools have?
  • What do they need and value to support school improvement?

We all see headlines about teacher workload, Ofsted, budget pressures, staff wellbeing and recruitment problems. These are the tip of the iceberg as of course schools know! The result is many educators struggle to make the most the opportunities technology brings and to create digital strategies – let alone deliver them effectively.

Our survey aims to understand these challenges. Only by understanding them can a supplier help schools address them.

We are very grateful to the educators from around the UK we spoke to, and to those who took the time to complete the survey. It shows that in spite of the wide-ranging challenges EdTech brings to schools, that they are nevertheless engaged, interested and motivated to move forward. You are all helping us to help schools deliver better education.

After reviewing the data and reading hundreds of individual comments, what is clear in this research is the understandable anxiety schools have around technology. Given it’s so central to the results, we have summarised 5 key themes which mean schools can be cautious to make progress with technology.

Schools’ 5 EdTech Pain Points


Many schools understandably have a default position of being cautious with new suppliers. They fear they may be misled, that a company may just try and sell to them or that a supplier may not have the school’s best interests at heart.


Schools are concerned that in spite of big promises that technology improves outcomes, that this is not guaranteed; whether because initial claims are inaccurate or that the school will not be supported to ensure progress takes place.


Schools perceive Training as a vital factor and requirement when upgrading technology. However, they also sometimes doubt training provision will be either available, effective, good value or relevant.


The availability (or lack of) of budgets is the single biggest challenge schools say they face when upgrading education technology. This is true both in cash terms – where they simply do not have the money – and also in value. They may spend the money but it may be wasted if the technology doesn’t deliver.


‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a phrase many people tend to live by, even if it means not considering the benefits development brings. This caution around change, any additional workload it brings, the fear it won’t actually be any better or that people won’t understand how to use it very real. And understandably so.


Thanks to this research and our hard work listening and learning from the hundreds of schools we speak with each month, Elementary Technology understands more than ever the challenges and aspirations of schools when it comes to their technology. You are in good hands!

This is our fourth year of this research and we intend to carry out this research again in 2021. It’s fascinating to see attitudes changing and aspirations evolving. We’d love to work with even more schools next time so if you’d like to get involved, please get in touch.

Also, if you’d like to help raise awareness of these insights, please contact us and we’ll work together.

The EdTech Insights Survey 2020

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