The Government is being urged to ramp up the adoption of technology in schools, for both teachers and pupils alike, on the back of a new study which shows nearly half of all schools have low levels of digital proficiency and are not tapping into the benefits tech can bring to the learning process.
The report, published by Lenovo in partnership with the Centre for Economics & Business Research, includes the results of a survey of 2,000 teachers, covering a range of different school types across the UK, alongside one-to-one interviews with experts from the educational and tech sectors.
Designed to provide detailed insight into the use of technology in UK schools in 2020, one of the key findings is that nearly one in ten (8%) schools fall into the inadequate category on a "Digital Proficiency Scale", developed within this report, with only one in five (20%) in the excellent category.
State schools are way behind their counterparts in the private sector, with one in five (18%) of all private schools falling into the highest scoring group, compared to just 5% of the state schools.
This could well be explained by the finding that it is not very common for schools to provide laptops or tablets that students can take home. Only 3% of the teachers work at schools where all students are equipped with laptops or tablets that they can take away.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top priority for teachers is to increase the number of computers available to students in school, followed by more provision of training for themselves on the use of technology.
Among the report’s recommendations are measures to expand the provision of training to teachers, in order to maximise the effectiveness of new technologies.
Meanwhile the report says schools should continue to re-orient the curriculum towards developing digital skills for the future such as coding, web-design and new technologies future.
The report states: "The verdict from teachers on the impact of technology is unambiguous. Indeed, half of them stated that new technologies introduced to their school over the past five years have improved educational outcomes, compared to just 5% who stated the opposite.
"Moreover, half of teachers believe that the level of technology in their schools is currently inadequate. Together, these results show not only that technology is having a positive impact in schools but that teachers see the potential for even further gains to be made in the future if schools can improve their digital proficiency.
"Funding and investment are inescapable components of upgrading schools’ technological provision. Many schools’ digital proficiency scores are held back by the limited amount of technology that students are provided with for use outside of regular school hours.
"While addressing this would be costly, it is also important in ensuring that all students have an equal access to the benefits that technology can offer on their path through the educational system."