Games consoles benefit children’s education

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Research by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) has found that schools see technology such as games consoles and smartphones as playing an important role in primary-aged children’s education. BESA’s research analysed responses from 406 primary schools about ICT use by pupils at school and at home. The interesting results help to ascertain which technologies schools consider most beneficial to pupils, and to see which technology pupils enjoy.

While the majority of schools indicated internet access at home and at school as the most beneficial technology for pupils, three quarters identify home access to educational games consoles like Nintendo DS as being helpful to children’s educational development.  Teachers are more likely to prefer that pupils have access to a mobile games console over a mobile phone.

Ray Barker, director of BESA said: “Our research has found that teachers have very different opinions when it comes to the use of mobile phones by primary school aged children.  On the one hand, 39 per cent stated that children should not have access out of school to mobile phones, while another 29 per cent of teachers said the ideal situation would be if all pupils had access to a mobile.”

Schools also believe that children’s preference for technology both at home and at school is evolving quickly, just as technology is continuing to change at a rapid pace.

Mr Barker said: “According to schools, laptops are currently the most popular computer type amongst children, followed by desktop PCs. However, by 2015, educators feel that this will be replaced by a move towards netbooks and smartphones.” 

Alternatively, educators feel that just under half of all pupils prefer shared desktop PCs at present, while a third enjoy using shared full sized laptops. In 2015, educators expect pupil preference for desktop PCs and laptops to drop dramatically, with 69 per cent of pupils desiring their own netbooks, and another 13 per cent favouring Smartphones.

Despite schools expecting that a high percentage of pupils will want to use netbooks at schools, only 4 per cent of schools currently use netbooks in ICT suites. 

In terms of educational computer use in the home, the majority of surveyed schools identify that home computers are used for personal revision work involving free online and parent-purchased resources, with 64 per cent of schools providing teacher-directed homework that requires computer access at home.  Another third agree that PCs are used at home for teacher directed homework linked to learning platform. Interestingly, only a quarter of schools believe that the majority of pupils use computers for entertainment and social networking exclusively, and not for educational activities. 

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