Thousands of pounds worth of classroom technology is going unused as teachers lack the training to integrate it into lessons, survey suggests
Nearly half of teachers rarely use the technology in their classrooms, with a lack of training holding many of those surveyed back, new research suggests.
Over a third of teachers in primary schools, and a similar number in secondary schools, also say they are unsure about how to integrate technology into the curriculum, leading to many items going unused on a regular basis.
The poll of 500 primary and secondary school teachers also found that, in state schools, teachers were more likely to say that they hadn’t received the training to effectively use the technology – 49.3 per cent, compared with 43.9 per cent in independent schools.
With technology in schools costing an estimated £623 million this year alone, the research, carried out by Instructure – a cloud-based education platform – suggests that thousands of pounds worth of technology could be lying around unused.
This could equate to around £11,800 per school, based on the 24,372 schools in England.
With over a third of teachers asked admitting that, when used correctly, technology can improve students’ results, the survey raises concerns that teachers are not being given the support they need to utilise the equipment.
“There is clearly no lack of enthusiasm for technology among UK teachers and there is broad support for the principle that it improves learning.”
Speaking at Bett Show 2015 in January, Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, said she feared the success of British education technology companies was not reaching all schools in the country.
She highlighted a British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) survey, which revealed that two thirds of primary schools and more than half of secondary schools were under-resourced in Wi-Fi connectivity in 2014.
Commenting in the report, David Fairbairn-Day, the head of education strategy and business development at Promethean, said in the past “spending on technology was misplaced”, as little was done to make sure teachers knew how to properly use the equipment.
“In parts of the country, I see schools putting in policies for every student to have access to a tablet,” he said. “Sometimes, once the tablets arrive, they are scratching their heads. Now we have them, what do we do with them?”
In response to concerns, speaking at the time, Ms Morgan emphasised the Government’s commitment to investing £1.7 billion to bring superfast broadband to over 95 per cet of the UK by 2017.
“This is something we need to address. And I’m pleased to say we’re doing so,” she said.
Promoting the effective use of technology has become even more relevant now, following a new global study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which found that more digital devices in schools did not mean better performance .
However, the report recommended the better implementation of technology in lessons, rather than its abandonment.
Today’s survey asked teachers about their daily use of a range of digital devices, from tablets and computers to interactive whiteboards and e-learning systems.
It found that, 46.8 per cent of primary school teachers and 45.3 per cent of secondary teachers, do not use these technologies more than once per day in lessons.
Samantha Blyth, director of schools at Instructure, said: “There is clearly no lack of enthusiasm for technology among UK teachers and there is broad support for the principle that it improves learning.
“The problem is that systems have tended to be imposed from the ‘top down’ and can’t be shaped by the teacher to suit their own style, or indeed the particular needs of their students.”
“We now have the sophistication to do away with some of the problems that have dogged teachers in the past… but teachers still need systems that are easy to use and the training to make that happen.”
A DfE spokesperson said: “Technology can have an important place in the classroom and play a vital role in preparing young people to succeed in a fast-changing world.
“We have provided £3m via the British Computer Society to build a national network of more than 400 ‘master teachers’ to provide training in computer science. Schools are already finding innovative ways to get the best out of new technology and enhance their teaching – they are best placed to decide what resources and training will meet the needs of their pupils and we encourage them use these in new and exciting ways.”
This article was written by Josie Gurney-Read Online Education Editor from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.