Edtech Adoption Survey: The Pandemic and Beyond

Edtech Adoption Survey: The Pandemic and Beyond

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Even though educational technology — or edtech — has been with us for a while (online education originated in 1960 at the University of Illinois), the major driver behind the adoption of education technology in the last year was doubtlessly the global shutdown caused by the pandemic. While schools of all levels shut physical classroom doors, the process of education moved online. Adoption of many of these technologies had to happen quickly.

To be successful, and keep students learning, teachers whose lesson plans were built for the analog world had to adapt to this new digital environment. And, even as we begin to see schools return to in-classroom education, it’s unlikely that adoption and use of edtech will return to pre-pandemic levels.

Survey and Panel Demographics

To find out about more about the current state of edtech adoption, how educators use it, the barriers to its ongoing use, and what the future looks like, GLG conducted a January-to-February 2021 survey of 115 educators in nine countries. A proportion of the experts (27%) we surveyed were members of their institution’s governing board (dean/president); the remaining 73% were teachers who are knowledgeable about the educational technology their institution is using. Of those we surveyed, 98% said they used a learning management system (LMS) to document, track, and deliver educational courses. Sixty-three percent said they used a content management system (CMS) to create and to organize the creation of educational content. Fifty-seven percent said they used a student information system (SIS) to manage student data.

Edtech Adoption

Edtech can take many forms, but the pandemic drove most attention to remote technologies, and the survey reflects that observation. When we asked which technologies teachers are adopting and using, tools that enable remote learning came out on top. Ninety-four percent of our respondents said that teachers were using technology to “communicate with students electronically,” and 89% said that tech helped teachers “access and share course material online.”

Students themselves use digital learning tools for a wide range of uses. Eighty-two percent of our panel of educators said that they are using technology to “take tests and quizzes.” Just below that, our pool of respondents said that 75% of students watch informational videos as part of their learning process. The range of uses our panelists cited (“communicate with teachers” at 65%, “look up grades” at 62%, etc.) suggest that institutions are using multiple technologies to satisfy student, teacher, and administrative needs.

Market Outlook for Edtech

When our survey was conducted in early 2021, 75% of our respondents told us that they expected their institutions to use a hybrid model in the fall, a number that may read differently now after a relatively effective vaccine rollout. Nonetheless, the pandemic has underlined the importance of edtech in the modern classroom, whether that classroom is fully in person, fully remote, or somewhere in between.

When we asked our panel about whether they expect their technology budget to increase or decrease, a marginal 1% of respondents said that they expected a significant decrease in their tech budgets. The remaining 89% expected their budget to either remain the same or increase over the next five years.

The respondents to our survey suggest that the reasoning behind potential tech budget increases doesn’t necessarily focus on remote learning. Remote learning is a factor — 56% of those we surveyed said it was a top factor for acquiring digital learning materials for the classroom. A significantly larger number of respondents (71%) said that they wanted tech to “engage my students,” a need that is likely to remain the same whether the education is in person or remote. Another 53% said that edtech helped them develop their students’ skills — a need that also can be independent of learning location.


Learning has always been driven by technology. From the invention of moveable type to the digital solutions of our current day, technology has driven how knowledge is conveyed, synthesized, and applied. In contemporary education, technology can underlie everything from an institution’s administrative capabilities to the tools students and teachers use to interact.

In addition to the information above, our survey revealed the most popular edtech platforms that institutions are using, the pressures driving adoption, the tech challenges, and the barriers facing its complete adoption. Challenges aside, edtech will certainly be part of the landscape in the coming years even as the pandemic wanes and we enter what we can only call the “new normal.”

Sample Questions Covered in the Full EdTech Survey:

  • When it comes to adoption of technology, which of the following are most used by teachers in your institution?
  • Do any issues with technology concern you?
  • What, if any, support do you receive from your institution with regards to the successful integration of technology into your classroom?
  • Which of the following do you feel represent the biggest barriers to increasing the use of educational technology inside the classroom?
  • By what percentage do you expect your technology budget to increase in the next 5 years?
  • Which of the following are the top 3 technologies that you believe will be important over the next 7 years in education?
  • Which educational trends do you think will have the greatest impact on our teaching and learning in the future?
  • Do you believe adding more technology to your classroom would increase the level of student engagement?

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About GLG Network Surveys

GLG’s Network Surveys administer research on market-moving topics and trends, surveying relevant subject matter experts. Each survey focuses on a specific industry and respondents have in-depth expertise about latest development in that industry. To ensure that the surveys’ focus is relevant to the panelists, our Network Surveys team partners with a GLG expert with deep industry knowledge to write the questionnaire. GLG currently runs approximately 12 Network Surveys every month.

The standard deliverables for our Network Surveys include:

  • 1 x Individual responses (“raw data”) in Excel.
  • 1 x PPT report with aggregated data.
  • For selected topics: Executive summary with key takeaways and conclusion.
  • For selected topics: In-depth PowerPoint report of survey findings presented by the Network Member via webcast (optional).

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