Book News: December 16th, 2008

This survey report from Becta, the government’s agency for technology in learning, reveals that achieving fair access to technology for parents, young people and adult learners is likely to be a continuing challenge and will require concerted effort and a high level of support at local level.

School-aged learners who lack computer access at home are likely to come from ‘hard to reach’ groups, such as families who rely on long term on benefits, families in social housing, lone parents and those whose first language is not English. In FE and skills, older learners are less likely to have home access and those returning to study or training over the age of 45 are likely to have limited skills in the use of technology to support learning.

The report says there is increasing evidence of technology’s impact on wider education priorities. These include raising achievement, narrowing achievement gaps, engaging disadvantaged and vulnerable learners, and improving capacity, quality and efficiency.

The strongest impact across education relates to improvements in efficiency. Technology has delivered significant benefits to teachers in the use of their time. For example, more than 60 per cent of teachers report saving time reporting on pupil progress.

The report also shows that technology is helping to turn struggling schools around. In a study of 181 schools removed from Special Measures and Notice to Improve, 82 per cent of head teachers reported that technology had been a key factor in their school’s improvement.

Harnessing technology is available here.