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News story

Lack of access to technology in schools is holding pupils back

24 Apr 2019

Using technology in the classroom primary pupils girls

The majority of UK teachers believe that technology can play an important role in boosting pupils’ literacy levels, but access to hardware, software and wifi in schools is poor and teacher training is inconsistent.

What’s more, despite 9 in 10 teachers agreeing that education should prepare young people for the digital workplace, secondary students are at the greatest disadvantage when it comes to access to, and use of, technology in the classroom.

This is according to a new report we've published today, Teachers’ use of technology to support literacy in 2018, funded by Crick Software.

The survey of 219 teachers found that they believe technology has the power to support pupils’ literacy and learning:

  • Almost 9 in 10 teachers believe technology can engage pupils with reading, writing, speaking and listening, specifically in terms of motivation, enjoyment and confidence
  • 3 in 4 teachers believe technology should be made available across the curriculum to support literacy
  • Teachers consider technology to have a particularly positive impact on reluctant readers and writers and less able readers and writers

However, despite these benefits, teachers said that a lack of investment in hardware, software and wifi is the greatest barrier to supporting learning through technology in the classroom.

Indeed, under half of pupils have access to an iPad or laptops and just two in five have access to a desktop computer. Access to newer technologies is even scarcer, with only 2.3% of schools able to provide access to Virtual Reality headsets, 1.4% to smart speakers and 0.9% to wireless headphones.

Inconsistent teacher training was also identified as a serious barrier, with 1 in 4 (23.3%) teachers reporting that they have never received initial or ongoing training in using technology to support literacy.

“Technology is ever present in children and young people’s daily lives – and it’s here to stay. To effectively harness the potential of technology to support every child’s learning, greater investment in resources, training and research is needed, as well as support from policy makers, technology companies, academics and fellow education professionals. We must do everything we can to unlock the literacy skills that children and young people need to thrive at school, at work and in life.”

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust

The report was funded by Crick Software, providers of educational software for primary and secondary schools, including the award-winning software Clicker 7 and DocsPlus.

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