Schools are not investing enough into technology according to parents in the UK. Despite more schools introducing technology into the classroom, research by tech giants Samsung finds two thirds of parents say it needs to play a bigger role in education.
Studies find devices like tablets and SMART boards help improve both teacher and student performance. But the survey of 500 UK parents focuses on another point. With almost 70% concerned about a digital skills gap due to lack of investment.
2013 was a tough year for education in the UK. Statistics show our schools are falling behind in key subjects. Maths, science and reading are among the worst offenders. But a shortage of digital skills is another genuine worry. Major tech companies like Google and Facebook have already highlighted the difficulty in finding qualified staff from the UK.
“It’s really not easy,” says Facebook’s Simon Milner. “We don’t tend to find a lot of British young people who are ready to come and work at Facebook.”
The digital skills gap is already a concern. And UK schools have a lot of catching up to do – a key issue raised by parents in the survey. While almost all parents felt technology in the classroom should be up to date, 72% say devices in their own home are superior to those in school.
The only way for children to become technology fluent is to get them using it from an early age. With devices like tablets and interactive whiteboards, every class becomes an IT lesson. By integrating these technologies into all subjects, mobile and SMART devices become second nature to pupils.
It’s not only about learning how to use devices either. With every child in the UK using tech for education, more youngsters will develop an interest in how they work. The design elements, networking abilities and programs that make it all possible. Developing these interests at a young age is essential if we want to produce more digitally skilled individuals.
Of course, tech skills are not the only problem for UK schools. Our kids are falling behind in all areas. Which calls for a serious shake-up of our approach to teaching. Leading nations in education have already enriched the classroom with interactive devices. And to great effect. We could learn a lot from the integration of educational technology in Korea, Japan and Singapore.
Mobile and interactive devices engage pupils in a way textbooks and projectors cannot match. They equip teachers with a variety of tools to educate, while keeping the classroom an interesting place to learn. And the ability to connect devices brings collaboration into the learning experience.
As Samsung UK’s Graham Long puts it: “Studies prove that technology helps children learn more effectively and is a fantastic way to create a more collaborative education experience.”
“Schools are quickly moving away from teaching being a one size fits all approach, as different pupils learn in different ways. Technology is the key to helping teachers address this challenge.”