Pupil exposure to ICT continues to rise
Despite a recent OECD report questioning the value of classroom technology, UK schools continue to increase the amount of teaching time using ICT.
The British Educational Suppliers Association’s (BESA) annual ‘ICT in UK State Schools’ research findings shows that pupils are currently exposed to ICT for 53 per cent of teaching time in comparison to 50 per cent in 2014.
The 609 schools surveyed (294 primary and 315 secondary) forecast that this exposure will continue to rise, with pupils expected to use technology for 58 per cent of learning time by 2017.
The UK has always led the way in terms of the use of technology in education, with many thousands of educators from schools overseas attending Bett, the world’s largest technology in education event, each year.
Caroline Wright, director general designate at BESA said: "In almost every case where investment has not gone to plan the reason is overwhelmingly due to a lack of effective investment in continuing professional development (CPD) and teacher training: this often results in hardware sitting idle or teachers having little idea of how to use it effectively.
“I would advise against a one sided argument either for or against the use of technology in learning. It is in our most outstanding schools that we see an effective blend of traditional teaching practice and the innovative use of technology.”
According to the OECD report, investing heavily in school computers and classroom technology does not improve pupils' performance and frequent use of computers in schools is more likely to be associated with lower results.
It says education systems which have invested heavily in information and communications technology have seen "no noticeable improvement" in Pisa test results for reading, mathematics or science.
A government expert on pupil behaviour said teachers had been "dazzled" by school computers.
The OECD's education director, Andreas Schleicher, said: "One of the most disappointing findings of the report is that the socio-economic divide between students is not narrowed by technology, perhaps even amplified."
Main Points from the OECD report:
• Students who use computers very frequently at school get worse results
• Students who use computers moderately at school, such as once or twice a week, have "somewhat better learning outcomes" than students who use computers rarely
• The results show "no appreciable improvements" in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that had invested heavily in information technology
• High achieving school systems such as South Korea and Shanghai in China have lower levels of computer use in school
• Singapore, with only a moderate use of technology in school, is top for digital skills
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