The value of classroom technology is increasingly recognised by UK schools
Education Research by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) shows that the amount of teaching time using ICT to support 21st century learning skills continues to rise.
Recent findings by BESA’s annual ‘ICT in UK State Schools’ show that pupils are currently exposed to ICT for 53 per cent of teaching time in comparison to 50 per cent in 2014. The forecast is that this exposure will continue to rise, with pupils expected to use technology for 58 per cent of learning time by 2017.
The arrival of the new ‘computing curriculum’ marked the Government’s appreciation of the importance of technology in learning. The curriculum evolved from the basics of using a computer keyboard, to a broad array of skill development, including coding and using integrated technologies.
For the majority of schools this new curriculum was a welcome realisation that technology has moved on. In the UK we have always led the way in terms of the use of technology in education; this is supported by the fact that many thousands of education ministers and educators from across the world attend the Education World Forum and Bett, the world’s largest technology in education event, each year to learn from our tried and tested methods and highest quality resources.
So while, for most, the new computing curriculum simply gave schools the affirmation that what they wanted to teach was correct, for others it was the encouragement they needed to start embedding technology deeper into all aspects of learning.
In July, BESA’s ‘Tablets and Connectivity’ survey also highlighted this rising trend; the adoption of mobile technology in schools is increasing. 71 per cent of UK primary and 76 per cent of secondary schools (an increase from 56 per cent in 2014 in both school types) are now making use of tablets in the classroom. Currently, there are estimated to be 721,000 tablets available for pupils in classrooms across UK maintained schools and academies, with predictions that by the end of 2016 this number will have increased to over 946,000.
What is vital, and something we continue to champion at BESA, is the need for high quality training and continuing professional development (CPD) with all technology investment. Without this, only a fraction of the learning opportunities may be realised. The increasing adoption of technology in learning is unquestionable but in times of pressure on schools’ budgets we must always remain mindful of the value of appropriate user training.
It is in our most highly trained, outstanding schools that we see an effective blend of traditional teaching practice and the innovative use of technology. It is a fact that we lead the world in the development and use of technology in education. Through training and high quality teaching, we have the potential to use this effectively to support the development of today’s students and in turn, the UK’s status in the global economy.