Parents were more likely than teachers to claim to have the infrastructure in place for remote learning, according to research by Kuato Studios.
When speaking to parents and teachers both in the UK and the US, the educational games developer found 70% of parents in both regions said they have the tech in place for remote learning, whereas only a third of US teachers and a fifth of UK teachers said the same.
Teachers in both countries also said they found it difficult to engage with kids during digital classes, with 36% of UK teachers and 46% of US teachers finding online teaching a struggle.
Mark Horneff, CEO of Kuato Studios, said: “The pandemic has reshaped children’s education, and many of those changes are here to stay. However, the research shows some concerning trends, particularly when it comes to engagement rates. While 58% of teachers in the UK acknowledged the benefits of the curriculum to standardise learning, traditional teaching methods are failing to engage swathes of children – and this is having a detrimental impact on their long-term prospects.
“We know technology has the power to bridge this gap, but it requires a concerted effort from educational bodies, government and those with technical know-how to create the classroom of the future – one that will work for every child.”
Teachers were complaining of a lack of technology skills even before the pandemic, with teachers claiming they did not have the confidence both in delivering subjects such as computing and using technology in the classroom.
When the pandemic forced children in the UK to learn from home, a large number of teachers said they found delivering online lessons difficult, and while Kuato’s research found most parents had the infrastructure in place for online learning, the pandemic definitely shone a light on the digital divide in the UK.
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A lack of the correct technology was not the only barrier cited by teachers when it comes to remote learning, with teachers in the UK saying they found it difficult to cater to the needs of individual children when delivering lessons digitally.
A lack of skills for delivering education using technology was also cited as a barrier by teachers, with more than half asking for the digital tools and upskilling they know they will need to deliver more tech-focused lessons in the near future.
Teacher and education consultant Camilla Ross, who has worked in both the UK and North America, said: “The dominant issue in both the UK and US is the skills gap among teachers and access to tools. There isn’t an overnight solution for this, so we within the education space must continually make our voices heard and campaign for this sorely needed change to level up tech-based teaching – it’s clear that teachers and parents want the same things in order to best support our students.”
Parents and teachers alike said technology will play an important role in the future of education, with 78% of parents in the UK saying technology could help teach children skills such as problem solving, 76% saying it will help children be creative, and 58% saying it will help children’s mental stimulation.
The future of children’s learning
When it comes to the type of technologies that would be most helpful in engaging children, the right type of gaming was cited by teachers and parents as being helpful for developing imagination and hand-eye co-ordination, but more than 60% of parents and more than a third of teachers said virtual reality was most likely to be involved in children’s learning in the near future, alongside social networking and robot programming.
More is being done across the UK not only to introduce technology into classrooms, but also to train teachers in how to deliver the computing curriculum and use technology for teaching.
Before the pandemic hit in January 2020, research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of Lenovo found introducing technology into the classroom is among the top priorities for teachers, and as of the end of 2020, the National Centre for Computing Education helped train more than 1,300 teachers to deliver GCSE computer science classes, and has provided resources to 29,500 teachers from 8,500 primary schools and 3,000 secondary schools.
But this year, the National Audit Office claimed the government’s response to educational needs during the pandemic could have been better, leaving many children behind in their education and more still to be done to return to normality.