Pupils think they know more than ICT teachers

7th January 2011 at 00:00
Six out of 10 pupils say they learn more about technology outside the classroom

Almost six out of 10 pupils believe they know more about technology than their ICT teachers, a survey has revealed.

According to figures released by Microsoft, 58 per cent of 16 to 18-year- olds currently in education believe they have a better understanding of IT than those charged with teaching them.

The views of 1,000 students were garnered for the survey, which also showed that 71 per cent of pupils feel they learn more about IT at home rather than in the classroom.

The statistics come just days before BETT, the world's biggest education IT fair, opens its doors in London next week.

But Terry Fish, headteacher at Twynham School in Bournemouth, does not believe such figures should spell an end to formal IT lessons in schools.

"There is confusion between teaching IT, and using IT as part of the learning process," Mr Fish said. "What we have found is that there is always a place for teaching IT as a standalone subject as there will always be skills that pupils have to learn.

"But youngsters today - the so-called Generation Y - are digital natives who know their way around far more things, such as social networking sites, than many of their teachers," he added.

"The key is to support this understanding with IT throughout teaching and learning. We have subject gateways that allow students to access learning resources, subject by subject."

But according to Microsoft, the figures reveal a widening skills gap between students and the workforce, which is a "major concern" for businesses.

The software giant believes the survey shows there is an "imbalance" between what is required by companies and the workforce, and what is being taught at school.

Steve Beswick, Microsoft UK's senior director for education, said more needs to be done by schools to complement what is being learnt by pupils outside of the classroom.

"It is great that kids are teaching themselves at home, but the schools' system needs to work alongside that," Mr Beswick said. "There aren't many subjects where the pupils know more than the teacher, so more must be done to train teachers in IT, to embed IT in all subjects."

  • Original headline: `Digital natives' think they know more about IT than their teachers

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