A Major Problem – Not Enough Teacher Training on Technology
Teacher training is often neglected due to its relatively high cost, time commitment and hard-to-measure immediate impact.
Survey after survey shows educators’ deep dissatisfaction with the amount of support they receive, especially when it comes to integrating technologies into their classrooms. The Promethean State of Technology in Education UKI Report found that over 64 percent of U.K. educators were dissatisfied with the training they received; only 15 percent believed they had received satisfactory training in edtech.
Bart Epstein, CEO of the U.S.-based EdTech Evidence Exchange, sees it as a major problem, especially given that more schools are using technology following the pandemic. “Too many schools think the cost of training and professional development and support are optional,” Epstein has told EdSurge. He adds that schools might spend $125,000 for a license, but decline the $25,000 training package offered along with it.
Scaling and modernizing training schemes, when they are implemented, are also a challenge. “Legacy teacher training in the U.S. is outdated,” with little hands-on learning, says Taylor Chapman, partner at the higher education investment fund SEI Ventures. “This is a key area for innovation.” Some companies are beginning to emerge but many of them offer simple online certifications that are overall of low quality.
Edtech firms relying on teachers and tutors to support their business models often take a highly personalized approach to training. Startups like GoMyCode, out of Tunisia, or Kibo School, which works with learners in Africa, teach coding and tech skills, and source tutors directly from their own alumni pipelines. While this does not attempt to solve the broader problem, it does address the specific need for teacher training on a particular platform.
Other edtech firms target teachers directly by providing classroom analytics—and teaching them to use these tools. TeacherFX, a Brighteye Ventures portfolio company, hopes to improve teachers’ performance and the student experience by offering real time classroom analytics to help teachers curate their best teaching style. This helps teachers self-reflect and adapt to their students’ preferences, but only when educators know how to use the analytics. Used by over 2,000 teachers, Singaporean startup Doyobi offers video lessons, a custom-built virtual environment to use in class and content like quizzes to make teacher’s online sessions more interactive.
“Teachers are underpaid and overwhelmed,” explains Nader Shaterian, founder of the digital creation space School Fab Labs. Even if teachers have the tools available to improve their pedagogy, they are unlikely to be impactful in the long run unless they are easy to use.