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Scots teachers take a lead in ICT

More teachers have formal training in ICT in Scotland than the UK average, but Scottish schools lag the rest of the country in their access to broadband.

These are among the key findings of the latest educational research from Dell, the computer company, which also suggests that girls are just as keen on working with ICT as boys.

Overall, 88 per cent of teachers believe that technology has changed the way they teach for the better, and 90 per cent said ICT was very important to their school, compared with 68 per cent last year.

While there were similarities north and south of the border, there are some key differences in the survey, which involved 277 primary and secondary schools in the UK, of which 56 were in Scotland.

Scottish teachers were more likely to have undergone formal ICT training - 91 per cent against a UK average of 78 per cent. Some 91 per cent of teachers north of the border use computers when teaching, against 85 per cent nationwide.

Niall Scolard, director and general manager of Dell in Glasgow, suggested Scottish schools were in the vanguard of investing in and using technology in their teaching, in many ways ahead of other parts of the UK, particularly in training teachers. "The research results make very good reading for Scotland," Mr Scolard said.

Yet despite 4 per cent of Scottish schools investing more than pound;100,000 in technology, against a UK average of 1 per cent, the findings also show that only 39 per cent of schools here used broadband compared with 78 per cent in the UK as a whole.

Dell cites the fact that just 26 per cent of all schools have a dedicated IT suite compared with 74 per cent last year. "This is likely to be because over two-thirds of schools (78 per cent) now have computers in all their classrooms."

Isobel Taggart, depute headteacher of Notre Dame High in Glasgow, agrees.

"ICT is now embedded across the curriculum," Ms Taggart said.

Speaking of Glasgow's major ICT investment in secondary schools, which includes a managed service, she said: "Teachers don't need to worry now about how to make this work in terms of the equipment and concentrate on making it work in terms of what it can do for learning."

Ms Taggart said males and females had interests in different aspects of ICT. "Boys veer towards the gadgetry," she said, "while girls are more interested in what ICT can do for them, such as video-conferencing and the presentational side of things."

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