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A top priority for UK teachers is to increase the number of computers available to students, as well as provision of their own training on the use of technology, according to a new study.
The Technology in UK schools research, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of Lenovo, involved 2,000 teachers in a range of school types nationwide. It found that, despite intensive use of computers by children to study, provision of equipment at schools is not ideal.
Nearly half of students access school computers at least four times a week, said the study, but it is uncommon to provide devices that students can take home – only 3% of the teachers surveyed work at schools where this is common practice.
When it comes to use of technology by teachers, 79% of those polled said they are performing some or all of their administrative tasks digitally.
Based on the results, the CEBR report recommended that provision of training for teachers should be expanded to maximise the effectiveness of new technologies. Information-sharing around new technology and digital skills in classrooms should also be encouraged, it said.
Also, funding opportunities for investment in new technologies should be expanded in schools in order to address the shortfall identified by teachers and unlock the gains associated with higher workforce productivity in the longer term, the report said.
Other key findings include the digital inadequacy of most UK schools – according to the survey, only one in five schools (20%) are considered to be excellent when it comes to digital proficiency.
Private schools are more digitally advanced, with 18% of them falling into the highest-scoring institutions, compared with 5% of state schools in the survey. Across the UK, schools are more digitally proficient in Scotland, according to the research.
In its recommendations, the CEBR report suggested that school curricula should move towards developing digital skills such as coding, web design and “technologies of the future”. The research showed that Microsoft Word and coding are the most common digital skills on the school curriculum.
To tackle the shortcomings around technology in education, universities minister Chris Skidmore mentioned at the 2020 BETT education show that the National Centre for Computing Education, backed by £80m funding, will be working to improve the standard of teaching in the UK and encourage more girls to pursue computing subjects.
Skidmore also said education providers such as Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, several institutes of technology across the UK and the Institute of Coding are all aiming to tackle digital skills gaps across all educational levels.