My Marker: The future of education technology

9 Brains Education is a software engineering company committed to equipping educational institutions with the technology necessary to transform their learning landscapes. The organisation comprises a team of like-minded engineers and entrepreneurs whose mission is to use their technical knowledge to support teacher workloads. Driven by passion and innovation, they aim to make a long-lasting impact on the future of education by providing resources that teachers can use for generations to come.

The organisation has started its education technology (EdTech) journey with its signature product ‘My Marker’. This interactive and hassle-free software allows teachers to create online tests or homework sheets on any topic in a way that engages students. Pupils can log on to the platform and submit their responses, which are then automatically marked. It can conduct this automatic checking process for both multiple-choice and long-text, open-ended questions.

By compiling the scores of individual pupils, the system is able to generate a performance chart for each student, tracking their results over the academic year. My Marker boasts an easy-to-use interface for both teachers and students and provides valuable analytics and insights that can be used to monitor student progress.

Decreasing school budgets and increasing workloads

9 Brains Education’s ‘My Marker’ is a response to the current educational climate in which teachers are witnessing unmanageable increases in their workloads. For instance, a PlanBee survey found that changes to primary assessments in 2016 led to 97% of teachers who participated in the study reporting that they felt overworked. Such changes include harder SATs tests and amendments to the way Key Stage 2 writing was to be assessed.

These increases have led to 53% of teachers worrying, to a ‘large extent’, about the amount of preparation needed for the next academic year during the summer holidays – making it hard for them to ‘switch off’ from work.

It’s important to note that these changes are further escalated by inefficient school budgets. That is to say, 31% of school leaders reported making significant expenditure cuts to balance their budgets between 2020 and 2021. The same study found that, based on current funding levels, 26% of leaders predicted deficits in their budgets for the coming year.

Further information on teacher workloads

Indeed, rises in teacher workloads are supported by recent surveys conducted by the Teacher Workload Survey (TWS) in 2019 and the Workload Survey of 2021 conducted by the University and College Union (UCU).

The former found that primary teachers reported working approximately 12.5 hours out-of-school time – such as during weekends and evenings - while secondary teachers averaged 13.1 hours. 37% of secondary teachers and 21% of primary teachers stated that their workload ‘was a very serious problem’ – citing that they could not complete their workload within their contracted hours. This led to 70% of primary and secondary respondents 'strongly disagreeing' with the statement, “I can complete my assigned workload during my contracted hours.”

Additionally, the UCU data report found that staff in all sectors of teaching work several unpaid days a week. Around 1 in 10 staff from all sectors reported that their workloads were 'entirely unmanageable', with an additional third stating their workloads were 'unmanageable the majority of the time'.

Respondents were also asked, “Thinking about the pace or intensity you currently work at, do you think this has changed over the last three years?”. More than 90% of respondents said pace or intensity had increased either significantly or slightly. Factors contributing to this increase in workload included increased administrative work, widening of duties, increased student numbers and the reduction of staff.

Government response to EdTech

The Government agrees that the use of EdTech can have a positive impact on teacher workloads in the coming years. Indeed, the Department of Education’s strategy report, ‘Realising the potential of technology in education’, states that the Government is committed to supporting both the EdTech industry and the education sector alike.

The Government identifies five key areas where EdTech can support educational processes, including:

  • Assessment processes
  • Administrative processes
  • Continuing professional development
  • Teaching practices
  • Learning throughout life

The Government understands that existing IT infrastructure at schools could be a challenge that prevents schools from using My Marker for in-class assessments since not all schools have computers available in the classroom. It also cites other barriers, such as a greater need for digital capability and skills, digital procurement capabilities, and a concern about privacy, safety, and data security. The Department of Education aims to tackle these problems as part of its implementation framework.

How 9 Brains Education can help

9 Brains Education is committed to supporting education institutions in their use of My Marker. They perform integration requirements gathering to determine the software’s capability with the institution’s existing infrastructure before supporting implementation. A period of ‘onboarding’ is then administered to guarantee educators are aware of how to use My Marker’s features to their advantage.

If you’re a teacher or a member of the Senior Leadership team looking to reduce the workload in your school, get in touch today for a demo and a discussion on how to use My Marker at your school.