Why we have co-founded the EdTech Evidence Group

  • January 28, 2020

Whizz Education is proud to be a founding member of the EdTech Evidence Group, which was launched at BETT in January. The EEG “brings together leading UK EdTech companies who share a belief that there needs to be a step-change in the level of evidence about EdTech.”

The timing of this initiative could not be more appropriate. The EdTech market is projected to grow at 11% per annum, reaching a staggering $341 billion by 2025. The actual evidence base for EdTech remains mixed, however, and it is not clear how the appetite for investment will address the opportunity gap that has left over 600 million students worldwide unequipped with the skills they need.

As the marketplace of proposed solutions becomes more crowded, educators can find themselves paralysed by choice. The overwhelming scale of events like BETT, coupled with routine claims of efficacy among providers, leaves many educators unable to interrogate claims of evidence for the solutions pitched to them. In a survey of 3,700 teachers and school leaders conducted by TeacherTapp, 83% of respondents expressed their desire for clear proof of the effectiveness of EdTech.

 

 

As an education partner accountable for learning outcomes, we have championed this aim for over a decade, working closely with our clients, providing them with rich learning data that shows demonstrable evidence of the impact of our programmes. We release regular updates to the market that include the latest evidence around our educational programmes in multiple international contexts.

Along the way, we have realised that the task of providing educators with clear proof of the effectiveness of EdTech can not be fulfilled by any single provider. One of the EEG’s core objectives is to support schools “to understand how they can assess EdTech solutions and platforms.” Organisations like EdTech Impact (also a co-founder of the EEG) have made great strides in providing an independent view of what works in learning and teaching, and making this information readily accessible to schools. There is more work ahead for providers.

The EdTech community has exhausted the goodwill of educators by pushing products and services that have failed to deliver the educational value they promise. The community has to humble itself in rebuilding trust in the marketplace. In our view, objectivity is key: we need to develop the criteria and tools to separate meaningful claims of efficacy from unfounded claims.. Data can be twisted in every direction to give the illusion of impact. Educators need data they can trust, that is presented within its proper context and that invites scrutiny.

The EEG is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long-lasting, horizon-expanding conversation around meaningful, objective ways to define and measure evidence in EdTech. We look forward to working with our partners in industry, and to supporting schools and teachers to make evidence-informed decisions around the use of technology.