Doubts over the future of textbooks

Poll also shows the UK is less likely than elsewhere to predict a rise in pupils attending school via virtual classrooms

Many people in the UK believe that printed textbooks will disappear from our classrooms, according to a new poll

Most people feel that print textbooks in schools will soon be a thing of the past, according to a poll. 

Nearly six in 10 – 59 per cent – of UK respondents to Pearson's Global Learner Survey, when asked to think about the future of schools and education, said it was likely that print textbooks would be obsolete by 2025.

In 2017, schools minister Nick Gibb said he thought a teacher-led move back to textbooks would be “integral” in ensuring that the national curriculum was effective.

The survey also found that 77 per cent of over-16s in the UK believed social media had made the school environment more difficult for pupils – the second highest proportion in the world after Australia (79 per cent).


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But adults in the UK were less likely than those elsewhere to think that more primary and secondary school students would attend school virtually in the next 10 years – just 56 per cent of people thought this was likely, compared with 74 per cent in the US and 77 per cent in the combined countries of Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.

The impact of social media

Respondents in the UK were also less likely to view social media as helpful for pupils’ overall learning experience.

In the UK, Australia, the US, Canada and Europe, less than half of people surveyed said social media improved the learning experience. Just 46 per cent of people in the UK felt social media helped people to learn, whilst in China, 88 per cent of people saw social media as improving learning.

The poll was of 11,000 people aged 16 to 70 living in 19 countries. Approximately 1,000 people in the UK took part.

The survey also found that, in the UK, a “DIY mind-set” was changing attitudes to lifelong learning. Over half of those surveyed in the UK – 57 per cent – agreed with the statement that: “You can do OK in life today without a college degree.”

Two-thirds of UK respondents thought that a degree or certificate from a vocational college or trade school was more likely to result in a good job with career prospects than a university degree.

Ty Goddard, director of the Education Foundation, a thinktank focusing on technology and innovation, said the study showed a changing education system.

He said: "The survey's findings suggest that learners see the demise of the textbook, rise of virtual schooling and increase in 'self-service' learning as natural.”

Laura Howe, Pearson’s head of innovation communications, said: “Students are starting to embrace mobile apps and new technologies in their learning.”

“There is a social and emotional impact on social media when it comes to cyber-bullying, but there is a positive side where pupils are building connections with others, so it’s a two-sided story in some ways.”

Sharon Hague, Pearson’s head of UK schools, said: “Generally across the survey technology is seen as a real benefit.”

“Where we see a drop off in sentiment is specifically related to social media.”

“We’re very conscious of this and we are establishing a student engagement group to find out how we can best support pupils in their use of social media.”

 

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