Headlines: August 31st, 2006



Almost half of Britain’s teachers want to make more use of the Internet in lessons according to a national study published by ntl:Telewest Business. It shows that although 78 per cent of teachers use the internet in class at least once a week, and 42 per cent at least once a day, teachers feel increased Internet access would help pupils even further.

The study shows the wide ranging effects use of the ‘net has had in schools. Thirty-seven per cent of teachers felt it had made a dramatic impact on exam results, nearly nine out of ten felt pupils, they said, were more interested in lessons and 80 per cent of teachers said the Internet helped slow learners. Almost three-quarters of those in the study also felt it helped brighter pupils.

The company, which provides broadband services to more than 10,000 schools, has reported an increase in broadband take-up for schools during 2006. Department for Education and Skills guidelines suggest primary schools should have 2Mb bandwidth and secondary schools 8Mb by the end of the year. Almost sixty per cent of teachers believe their school has reached those targets and only one in ten teachers believed their school would fail to meet the targets. The remainder are unsure.

The study shows the main use of the Internet in classrooms is for accessing online learning and for research. Only one per cent of schools use the available bandwidth to collaborate with other schools and businesses.

The main barriers to take up are seen as being the lack of PCs, a shortage of suitable online resources and a lack of time and specialist equipment such as interactive whiteboards. More than a third of teachers in the survey thought there was a lack of access to the right ICT skills and training to support e-learning.

Christopher Small, Director of Public Sector at ntl:Telewest Business, said, “The Internet has transformed the way pupils are learning in the class room and the benefits are there for all to see in terms of exam results and interest in lessons. However, with just one per cent of teachers using the available bandwidth to collaborate with other schools and local businesses, a trick is being missed.”