11 Jul 2019
How retailers can tap into Edtech
The UK is leading the adoption of digital technology in education with schools allocated an estimated £900 million in funding from the Department of Education for 2019-20 for Edtech, according of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
In physical terms this equates to 3,392,100 computers in classrooms across the UK with an average primary school having 70 computers and secondary school an average of 431.
There are currently 32,113 schools in the UK. Of these, 20,925 are primary schools and 4,168 are secondary schools. There are 2,381 independent schools, 1,256 special schools and 351 pupil referral units.
The opportunity to expand Edtech sales are obvious for those who know how to tap into this growing market that values accessible technology to equip young minds for a successful ‘digital’ future.
There are also benefits for already stretched schools to help bridge the gap through Edtech – as it’s proven to reduce teacher workload, boost student outcomes and help create a level playing field for those requiring learning support. So much so that the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, set out plans in April this year to support innovation and raise the bar in education establishments across England, backed by £10 million injection.
School funding per pupil is expected to be frozen in real terms between 2017-2018 and 2019-20 albeit at a level of above 4%, reports IFS.
Technology in education allows some students to open up channels of communication and makes learning accessible to all. The target audience is not exclusively schools that have the budget to grow Edtech, it’s also parents, as many public secondary schools employ a BYOD program, therefore parents are expected to buy their child a suitable device. However, this is becoming stricter as previously it was an “any device will do”, approach but due to different devices having different capacities and capabilities, this has changed. Today, school book lists stipulate the minimum requirements for a device to create a more uniform and compatible ecosystem that is hassle free for all.
The retail market for back-to-school is worth, in all categories, some £1.45bn in the UK and is an increasingly important fixture in the retail calendar, becoming competitive for both brands and retailers endeavouring to appeal, in particular, to those students heading off to university.
From PC to projection and display technology such as Jamboard from Google and BenQ, the classroom is a place where technology is the norm, and the standard for students as they transition through their education and eventually into the workplace.
It’s not just about the hardware and software solutions, it’s also about the teachers who need professional development and training to understand how each device could work and how they can add them into their lesson plans. Figures from BETT highlight that 74% (rising from 60% in 2018) of educators surveyed said that educational technology is often not sufficiently easy to use for ordinary teachers. Something that vendors need to be considering as part of their proposition.
The classroom of old is no longer the norm. Education, at all levels, relies heavily on technology and some brands recognise this. Those brands that offer the end-to-end solution that enables education access to the best technology with the easiest interface, least maintenance and highest reliability will capitalise on this growing market.
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