Trending 2020

New reports highlight inclusion and edtech practice in international schools

At a time of such profound and rapid change, it is vital to keep up with emerging trends in order to plan effectively. Diane Glass of ISC Research looks at two important studies that are hot off the press.

The latest international school research

ISC Research has published two new reports that investigate current practice regarding inclusion and education technology in international schools. Both reports include the results of research conducted with a range of international schools from around the world to understand current demands and to identify emerging trends. The results provide valuable information for educators and specialist suppliers.

 The role of edtech during campus closures

Technology played a crucial role in supporting student learning during COVID-19. Not only will it continue to do so as the pandemic develops but, according to the research, the experience is also impacting the longer-term decisions for most international schools.

The edtech survey was conducted by ISC Research in June, at a time when all schools had been delivering distance learning for several weeks. It provides insights into the use and effectiveness of learning platforms for distance learning, the solutions that teachers found most valuable for guiding students with their learning while campuses were closed, the role of parents during distance learning and how schools engaged with them, and assessment of students during campus closures, as well as the future edtech plans for international schools in light of their recent experiences.

The popularity and value of several learning platform brands are referenced in the report. Most international schools used a combination of platforms and traditional methods to ensure learning was accessible to every child. 51% of international schools in the survey said that posting learning instructions to some of their students was also extremely valuable.

In the research, international schools were asked to select the resources their teachers found most valuable for guiding children through their distance learning. Live online lessons proved to be most popular, followed by instructions that were videoed by teachers. 98% of the international schools surveyed used live online lessons at some point during campus closures. Most schools said that the experience of suddenly shifting to distance learning was far from easy. Their main challenge was lack of teacher skills in adapting to teaching remotely and in technology use. Internet limitations were also a problem for 37% of international schools.

The experience has changed future plans regarding education technology for 84% of schools. “We learned many lessons and plan to keep tools and some practices that made learning and communication better,” said Amy Dugre, Director of Curriculum Innovation and Technology at the International School of Dϋsseldorf in Germany. Barrie McCliggott, Principal at Columbia International School in Japan agrees: “We want to leverage the technology learning gains that happened due to the shutdown,” he said.

Inclusion in international schools

ISC Research surveyed international schools about their current inclusion practices just before COVID-19 impacted education around the world. The results, therefore, do not show the effect of distance learning and the pandemic on children with special educational needs. Instead, the report sheds light on how the international schools market has been adapting to the needs of all children over the past four years; since the first iteration of this research in 2016.

Produced in collaboration with Next Frontier Inclusion (NFI), the report shows that over 80% of the international schools surveyed said they have a high incidence of students within one or more of the following categories: high functioning autism spectrum disorder, ADHD and/or executive functioning issues, disabilities of speech, language or communication, and disabilities of reading, writing or numeracy. Learning support programmes are an established part of 67% of international schools that participated in the survey, and an additional 26% are in the process of developing programmes of support and want to learn more.

Trends over the past four years show a rise in the number of international schools serving children with special needs in mainstream learning settings, and an increase in the number of international schools with an EAL (English as an additional language) programme. There is also an increase in the number of schools recognising students with mental health and emotional conditions that require intervention.

Free reports

Both reports are free of charge and available here from ISC Research


Diane Glass is the Commercial Director at ISC Research. The company tracks the world’s international schools market, gathering and supplying intelligence and data on global, regional and local market developments, trends and shifts.



FEATURE IMAGE: by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Support Images kindly supplied by ISC