Report: On Education Technology, UK Schools Need to Play Catch-up

A new report from European Electronic, Samsung, and the Education Foundation claims that with too much planning for the future, schools in Great Britain are falling behind in today’s technology.

“Too often technology reports focus on scenarios for the future that cannot be predicted and therefore leave school and education leaders, governors and budget holders [with] difficult decisions such as how [do we] deal with the present-day reality? What do we spend our money on? And how do we get appropriate technology into our classrooms that teachers can use to support their learning?” said Education Foundation co-founders Ian Fordham and Ty Goddard.

The report, titled Technology in Education: A System View, states that schools should focus on coming up to date with their immediate technology needs.  They need help putting existing technology in place.  High-speed broadband access would greatly benefit schools, as well as the use of the cloud, writes Luke Thompson for Cable.co.uk.

“There are still major barriers to the adoption of technology in Britain’s schools,” it said. “Universal high-quality access to broadband in all schools would deliver significant benefit and if schools adopted cloud-based technology and made choices on devices based on flexibility and total cost of ownership, they would see considerable savings.”

According to the report, these current technologies combined with high quality teaching would result in deeper understanding and learning on the part of the students.  According to Hannah Breeze of Channelnomics, a “what works website” should be developed for all teachers to use, to help further the use of these technologies.

The study found six barriers to the use of technology in the classroom.  Digital skills are needed for students to take full advantage of the technology, which all children should have access to.  Furthermore, teachers need to know their way around these technologies in order to help children learn to use the tools.  All of this needs to happen for the lowest cost, and schools need to be held accountable for the updates.

The government has responded by announcing multiple measures it will take to improve the situation, including donating £5 million ($8 million) to colleges, allowing them to update their broadband system and begin to take full advantage of cloud sharing technology, writes Neil Merrett for Government Computing.

Andy Griffiths, President of Samsung UK and Ireland, added: “We believe that technology has a significant role to play in opening doors for the leaders of tomorrow, equipping them with the skills necessary to meet the needs of the ever-evolving economy.”