Technology is underused, heads say

15th January 2016 at 00:00

More than half of heads do not believe that their school takes full advantage of the benefits of technology, research shows.

A YouGov survey on behalf of TES reveals that 54 per cent of heads believe that their school could do more to utilise technology.

The concern is echoed more widely among senior leaders, with 51 per cent of assistant heads and 52 per cent of other leaders saying that not enough is made of ed tech in school.

Overall, 45 per cent of all school staff surveyed said that technology could be put to better use. Just 37 per cent of respondents felt that their school took full advantage of it.

Mark Chambers, chief executive of ICT subject association Naace, said: “I’m almost embarrassed to say that I am not surprised. The reason for it is that we are working in a system that is afraid to take risks.”

The roots of this attitude were “complex”, he added, but too often technology was not taken seriously enough in schools, particularly among heads. “When it comes to using technology, there are too many school leaders who proudly profess their allergy to it.”

 

Results ‘mixed at best’

The use of technology in schools has come under scrutiny in recent months. A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) finds that while technology is something to be embraced, where computers are used, results are “mixed at best” (bit.ly/OECDcomputer).

In his foreword, Andreas Schleicher, OECD director for education and skills, who runs the Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests, writes: “Students who use computers moderately at school tend to have somewhat better learning outcomes than students who use computers rarely.

“But students who use computers very frequently at school do a lot worse in most learning outcomes, even after accounting for social background.”

However, Miles Berry, principal lecturer in computing at the University of Roehampton, said that he found the YouGov figures to be encouraging: “At least headteachers are aware there is an issue,” he said. “It would be more worrying if they all thought the use of technology was fine.

“Some schools are doing amazing things. Technology has not been a huge priority for the government, so it is up to schools and headteachers to share best practice.”

@RichardVaughan1

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