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International schools set to bulk up digital learning investments, study finds

International schools worldwide are poised to make considerable investments in their digital learning resources, as new research reveals that just under two-thirds of international schools are likely to buy digital content or applications in the coming year.

China’s bilingual schools, such as HD Ningbo (pictured) are also fruitful for digital exports. Photo: ISC Research

A third of all international school responses said there is insufficient training available

Based on responses from 836 English-medium international schools around the world, the study, carried out by the International Education Research Panel, a joint collaboration between ISC Research and market research consultancy, C3 Education, found that 59% of schools felt incorporating digital resources into their institutions which support personalised learning could help raise quality standards.

Close to 60% of the responding institutions said they would ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ be sourcing or purchasing new digital content or applications this year. Still, despite intentions to invest in technology, the study found time and adequate training are big challenges for international schools to adopt and use digital content.

“The opportunities in China for UK edtech I think have never been better”

The report highlights “significant need, desire and investment potential by many international schools”, said Dianne Glass, director for business at ISC Research.

“However, in some areas, there’s a distinct lack of good quality, relevant resources that are intuitive enough for busy teachers to use or incorporate into children’s learning,” she said, adding there is also insufficient training and support.

A third of all international school responses said there is insufficient training available for them to be able to optimise their use of digital content.

“The international schools market is a healthy and expanding education sector and digital education suppliers who can respond effectively to these opportunities will be very much in demand,” said Glass.

China’s booming international and bilingual school markets are especially fruitful for digital exports. At the Bett show this week in London, UK providers noted solutions for assessments, teacher development and bilingual communication were particularly profitable in China.

“The opportunities in China for UK edtech I think have never been better,” said Ian Hunter, chief commercial officer at WCBS. “And you could argue they have never been easier also.”

WCBS provides data management systems and is currently expanding out from the UK and moving into the Chinese international school market.

Speaking later to The PIE News, Hunter added that demand goes beyond international schools saying the Chinese Ministry of Education is already working with UK edtech companies to introduce new products into the sector.

“This interaction and involvement of parents is especially important in China”

“I think there’s a huge potential,” he said, adding that it is important to offer solutions specific to challenges schools in China face.

“If you can solve a problem, our Chinese colleagues are more than likely to come with you,” he continued.

“We have a brilliant export opportunity with education. It’s a huge export opportunity for us and China’s opening its arms to it.”

Titus Learning, which provides and supports online learning platforms for international schools, is also seeing gains in Asia.

“This interaction and involvement of parents is especially important in China,” co-founder and director, Seb Francis told The PIE News. “And edtech solutions can help to meet that need.”

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