Two-thirds of schools don't use IT 'effectively'

31st July 2009 at 01:00
Only a third of schools are using computers effectively, new research conducted for government educational technology agency Becta has shown.

The "startling" finding was revealed by a Becta official at a conference for professionals working in children's services.

"Probably about a third of schools have technology embedded and are using it reasonably effectively," Colin Penfold, Becta's director of regional delivery and engagement, told the Association of Professionals in Education and Children's Trusts.

The research, not yet published, also shows that 38 per cent of primaries and 31 per cent of secondaries were either "ambivalent at best" or "late adopters" of technology. "Isn't that startling?" said Mr Penfold.

However, Mary Bousted, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' general secretary, said: "I am not surprised by this, quite frankly. We spend millions improving numeracy and literacy teaching but there has not been good continuing professional development for using technology in teaching and learning. We have invested in IT kit, but most teachers are not in the natural technology generation, so if we are going to use it effectively we need much more training."

The statistics were taken from E-enablement in Schools research, conducted with 163 primary and 96 secondary schools during December 2008 and January 2009. The report is due for publication shortly.

Malcolm Trobe, policy director of the Association of School and College Leader, agreed that more training was needed, but added: "All schools cannot be at the cutting edge because technology is changing all the time.

You are always going to get some people who are more up to speed than others. On some occasions technology might not be a school's top priority."

Last year, research from Besa, the school suppliers' association, found that fewer than one in 10 teachers was making full use of learning platforms. These electronic databases were meant to transform the way lesson plans and pupils' work are stored. One in six schools said that although they had access to these platforms their KS3 teachers made no use of them.

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