Ensure workload control and a work-life balance!

The Role of Technology: Supportive Tool or Burden?

In recent years, there has been a spike in the use digital technologies and more recently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, in education. A myriad of digital tools and AI systems are regularly marketed to education institutions with the promise to reduce teachers’ workload. Indeed, reducing the teachers’ working hours dedicated to ancillary tasks would be an important measure to control teachers’ workload and balance their work-life balance. 

Despite the abundance of commercialised Edtech tools, the real value of digital technology for teaching still needs to be proven (GEMR report, 2023), as evidence is missing on the actual benefits of these tools (Wayne Holmers on behalf of EI, 2023). Similarly, in a study conducted by ETUCE on the opportunities and challenges for the education sector in the digital era (2021), the intensification of workload and deteriorating work-life balance were identified as the main costs of digitalisation by the 60% of national education social partners participating in the study. 

To ensure a valuable integration of digital tools and AI systems within teaching practices, ETUCE demands that: 

  • Teachers are involved from the onset of the design and implementation of digital and AI education policies 
  • Digital tools and AI systems are designed and implemented with a needs-based approach, responding adequately to teachers’ professional needs and students’ pedagogical needs.

The rapid integration of technology into classrooms has also introduced new complexities for teachers. Whereas technology is the second training priority among OECD countries, TALIS data (2018) shows that, on average, only 43% of lower secondary school teachers feel sufficiently prepared to use technology in OECD countries. In this regard, ETUCE underlines that improving the quality and accessibility to initial teacher training and continuous professional development should be an absolute priority to ensure the effective use of technology in teaching.