Young people in the UK are more likely to use technology as part of classroom learning than German students, research has found.
A study by Citrix asked students between the ages of 12 and 15 in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands about their technology usages in schools, and found only 2% of young people in the UK and the Netherlands use no technology in schools compared with 22% of those in Germany.
In the UK, more than half of students claimed to use interactive whiteboards and online portals for homework, and just under half said they used laptops and desktop computers in class – around 14% also said they had used video calling to contact other schools, classes, teachers or experts.
Students in the UK were also more confident about the skills they were learning in school, with three-quarters of UK students saying school prepares them from the world of work, as opposed to fewer than 60% of German and Dutch students.
Darren Fields, regional director of UK and Ireland at Citrix, said the UK is making progress in the promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects, but that more needs to be done to keep ahead of growing skills gaps.
“As a nation, it’s critical that we continue to invest in future generations, encouraging greater engagement with technology and creating a culture whereby young people are eager to get involved with and learn more about Stem subjects,” he said. “Employers currently report a significant tech skills gap, and the next generation of tech-savvy workers will be vital in helping to close this.”
Fields highlighted the need for ensuring the UK is producing the technology talent to match the UK’s technology “ambitions”, and said education is the “start of the pathway” for ensuring this outcome.
Concerning the students who were concerned about whether or not their education was preparing them for future careers, suggestions for improving this included more practical IT classes, better teachers, a bigger curricular and more challenging IT courses.
There is a significant technology skills gap in the UK, with the number of unfilled roles increasing at a faster pace than talent can be produced, and many claim a lack of soft skills is as concerning as a lack of technical skills.
Despite UK students claiming they are ready for a digital workplace, there are differences in this opinion between regions. Almost 90% of 12- to 15-year-old students in Northern Ireland believe their education is preparing them for work, as opposed to 80% of those in London, 61% in Wales and 63% in Scotland.
A number of adults in the UK do not have the digital skills needed to perform even the most basic of digital tasks, and many have said children have a better knowledge of technology than they do.
According to Citrix’s study, 59% of parents across the UK ask their children for help with the technology they use, as well as 55% in Germany. Only 31% of children in the Netherlands said their parents ask them to help with technology.
Read more about technology education
- Traditionally, a degree is the preferred route into the technology industry, but many now believe an apprenticeship may be a more valuable path into the sector.
- A number of British firms well-versed in science, technology, engineering and maths will act as a consortium to deliver a National Centre for Computing Education.