Teaching with Tech: the role of education unions in shaping the future
EdTech – education technology – is a fast-growing industry. Whilst a recent COVID-19 UNICEF report reveals that at least 463 million students have been cut off from education as they have no means to access remote schooling or remote schooling cannot be offered, the global EdTech market size is expected to reach USD 89.1 billion by the end of 2020 – up from 76.4 million in 2019. Spurred on by school closures as COVID-19 has ripped through our societies, online document collaboration systems, collaborative virtual whiteboards, systems to monitor learners’ involvement in the class, online meeting spaces, educator–parent connection tools, mind mapping cooperation, learner assessment systems and much, much, more are on offer.
But where does this leave the human rights and privacy rights of educators and learners alike? Who has the responsibility to check whether these tools are exacerbating or bridging inequalities? Are they reaching out to rich areas or poor, urban environments or rural? Are educators with their wealth of knowledge, pedagogy and emotions involved in the assessment of these technologies and their impact on learners? Will educators’ jobs change? Become more intensified, demanding?
The survey conducted by Education International in June, July and August of 2020 aims to shed light on these key issues. The survey’s 41 questions aimed to get a better understanding of how the education sector is changing due to digital technologies, the impact of these on educators and ESPs work, what the member unions’ opinions, activities and priorities are, and the inclusion of unions in the governance and implementation of these technologies.