Shauna Hanna

Our BETT 2020 Highlights

What a week that was! That’s a wrap for the BETT show for another year and at Texthelp we’d like to share our reflections from what we’re sure was the busiest and biggest BETT yet!

7 members of the Texthelp team giving a thumbs up to BETT 2020

Feedback from our visitors

As we highlighted in our pre-show blog, it’s impossible to ignore the pressure on teachers. The long hours, the marking, the paperwork - and that’s before you get to the actual job of teaching. It’s no secret and no surprise because by simply asking any teacher what their biggest challenge is, you will hear the same answer again and again: TIME.  

So it’s refreshing to hear that teacher workload and retention is receiving much needed recognition, and has been called out in the Department for Education's Edtech strategy as one of their top priorities - to reduce workload and improve the damning picture of the UK’s teaching staff situation.  

We surveyed some of the visitors to our stand around their key challenges at this year’s BETT and you can see the results below:
  • 1/3 of teachers said their greatest challenge is not having enough time to teach 
  • 92% of school leaders and teachers think that technology can help reduce teacher workload
  • 97% of school leaders and teachers believe that technology has the power to improve student outcomes

BETT Awards Success!

We were absolutely thrilled to have won best 'International Digital Education Resource' in the BETT Awards 2020 for our flagship Read&Write product! The competition was tough, we were amidst some really high-quality entries and we had a fabulous evening at the awards ceremony.

Rick Bell & Lynsey Redpath from texthelp picking up Texthelp's first ever BETT Award

To have won best International Digital Education Resource is an important milestone for Texthelp. It's an accolade that we have been working towards for several years, and it's really exciting to receive the recognition for the impact Read&Write has on learning outcomes. The anecdotal feedback received from users, and the findings from an independent study into the efficacy of our products, shows Read&Write has a significant impact on learning outcomes. 

Key themes

We attended a number of sessions across the three days at BETT and for us, two of the stand out themes emerging were:

What’s a Tech Integration strategy?

New friend of Texthelp, Mark Anderson, says that ‘every school identifies that it has a need for technology. And technology used in the right way can have a positive impact. But at the same time, with financial budgets and pressures on schools, it’s difficult to know - and choose - where those precious pennies are best spent....the best starting point is to have a digital (or tech integration) strategy; a plan of what you want to achieve and why. First and foremost, it should be led by teachers and senior leaders in terms of outcomes, and secondly, should tally with the finance and budgetary opportunities of the school.

Our own efficacy study backs up this thinking demonstrating better results in terms of learner progress when our software was integrated as part of a wider technology strategy.

Careful thinking needs to go into what approach you will take at your school, MAT or local authority, some frameworks you can follow are:
  • SAMR
  • TIM
  • Triple E 
Stay tuned on our blog in the coming weeks and months to hear more on each one in depth.

Evidence in EdTech - EdTech needs to prove it works to win the confidence of teachers and school leaders

Research published at BETT last week by learning technology company Sparx has revealed that three quarters of teachers and school leaders (79%) would like to see clear, tangible proof of edtech’s effectiveness in the classroom. On top of this, more than 50% do not trust the majority of claims made by edtech companies regarding their products and services.

UK schools spend about £900m on education technology with the UK EdTech market set to be worth £3.4bn in 2021 so it’s important to ensure that investment is attributed in the right way, backed up by proof of impact.

EdTech has great potential to have an impact on both teacher workload and learner outcomes but in some cases, doesn’t live up to expectations. Through the NESTA EdTech Innovation testbeds schools and colleges will get help to try out promising technology products that are suited to their needs for free, whilst an independent evaluation team find out what works for students and teachers. The overall goal?  To make more effective use of technology in education.

Texthelp’s is part of NESTA's Innovation Fund - through this funding, we will develop and scale our WriQ product in order to tackle and reduce teacher workload with a particular focus on automating essay marking - we look forward to sharing more on that very soon!

What kind of evidence do you look for when you're evaluating EdTech?  We'd love to hear more in the comments below...



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