Research on Implementing EdTech in Schools

How do school leaders successfully implement education technology, manage the costs, and evaluate the impact?

“If school and college leaders are looking for the latest research on implementing edtech, here it is. There’s no need for schools to follow a ‘PC World’ approach …”

The Department for Education has published research and analysis on the Implementation of Education Technology in Schools and Colleges (Sept. 2022).

The report is 114 pages long!

I’ve had a skim through some of the in-depth interviews with tech experts, teachers and head teachers and share a summary here of how schools and colleges implement new edtech, discover potential opportunities and gaps in the market.

Interviews with teachers were conducted in February and March 2022 across 16 schools and 5 colleges. In light of the pandemic, the key to successful implementation is informed decision-making.

There is evidence in this report that schools and colleges are using multiple sources of information.

Research areas

The report is broken down into key sections:

  1. Research objectives
  2. Identify needs
  3. Informed decision-making
  4. Piloting or trialling edtech
  5. Edtech implementation process
  6. Training and support
  7. Monitoring use and effectiveness
  8. Challenges
  9. Benefits and impact of technology use, and
  10. Conclusions.

Rather than summarise the entire document, I’ve gone straight to where the issues I believe school leaders need help with the most.

Identify needs

For most schools, improving teaching and learning must be the key reason behind introducing all types of technology, whether this is “directly or indirectly, alongside reducing workload or increasing efficiency.”

Having “a digital strategy that aligned with curriculum goals” and improvement plans insured technology implement was relevant and helped the school to achieve its goals.

Informed decision-making

Highlighted in the report, some of the decisions that school leaders need to make when identifying technological needs is whether the technology meets the needs of the staff and the students first and foremost.

Secondly, the technologies alignment or integration with the infrastructure already in place. This is sometimes an Achilles’ heel for some organisations because they may have historical contracts and legacy devices.

Thirdly and in my opinion critically, how easy it is to use and how accessible the technology is when considering staff confidence and skills, and whether the technology is suitable for different types of learners.

Finally, the cost of implementing the technology and the budget available.

I recently spoke with an edtech organisation who used the phrase, “We’re not PC World!” This summed up so many poor approaches across the system which simply deliver devices and services with no support in terms of implementation or long-term training. They simple give you the ‘tech’ over the counter and you never see them again.

Edtech implementation process

One of the biggest barriers I faced as a school leader leading whole school digital strategy, was often time, budget and training. These issues face all organizations, and the most important is time for training so that any technology can successfully be implemented.

Other than a ‘PC World approach’ to training, new software or hardware must be aligned with the whole school professional development. If it’s not, it’s unlikely to have any sustainable impact.

In the research report, the stages that schools and colleges went through to implement and embed technology were varied. I’ve included a simple graphic (page 70) from the report which highlights the process that should be followed.

Monitoring use and effectiveness

This is the key part for all school leaders. Monitoring not only the cost but the impact of the technology on standards. This includes the obvious quality assurance processes: learning walks, observations, and work scrutiny. At a technical level, this should also include school leaders asking their IT support teams to monitor login data, analytics, and the number of users.

Most importantly, engagement from staff and students through feedback, training sessions in staff meetings, and in classrooms, including regular communications with parents who are on the receiving end of many technological tools.

The report also recognizes what I struggled to do too: “It was more challenging to quantitatively measure the impact of technology implementation on learner and staff outcomes.”

For anyone who does this well, I would be keen to learn how you achieve this.

There is so much more inside this report. I would encourage all school and college leaders who have an ed tech lead to use this research to guide their decision-making – and their budgets.

Don’t settle for a ‘PC World’ approach …

Leave your thoughts


Schools Hiring is basically a job portal that deals with the job openings in the standard formal Schools and Preschools of India.

Contact Us

Schools Hiring