Mobile learning

Teachers: out with the blackboards and in with the digital skills

By: Duncan Higgins, Marketing Director, Virgin Media Business
Published: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 09:49 GMT Jump to Comments

My time at school was spent staring at blackboards and scrawling in notebooks, but things are changing… and rapidly.

Although the UK’s homes and workplaces are now reliant on technology, our digital education is still lagging behind. Giving future generations the skills to succeed in this new tech-lead world is now as important to the school curriculum as English and Math.   

There are already some great examples of how technology is immersing itself in the teaching process; we recently did some research which found that over half of teachers (53%) allow pupils to submit homework via email, effectively streamlining the entire process and making the old excuse of ‘the dog ate my homework’ obsolete.

Tech plays a major part in student’s home life, so why not in school? Students are using the internet to chat with friends, join in conversations and share their thoughts via a range of different apps and websites. Imagine the results if this level of engagement was echoed in their school life. Coding being added to the school curriculum is a significant step in the right direction, but it needs to be taken beyond ICT lessons. It’s about making digital part of the entire learning process.

We now live in a world where essays could be submitted as blogs and maths problems solved using interactive video tutorials. Why shouldn’t pupils scroll through historical archives in history lessons or watch atoms on YouTube in Science? Technology shouldn’t be confined to one subject when it can enrich learning in every subject.

Three quarters of teachers in the UK use digital technology like interactive whiteboards and tablets in their lessons, but only 15% consider themselves ‘computer savvy’. If teachers themselves can see gaps in their digital knowledge, then clearly support is needed. It’s vital to ‘Generation Tech’ that their teachers go into the classroom with the confidence and skills they need.

Both teachers and students understand that digital skills are an important part of their education. This was clear in the Generation Tech initiative, which found a quarter of teachers felt that technology improved exam results by at least one grade.

This campaign has seen responses from teachers and pupils around the UK, telling us how they think technology should be used in schools and showcasing how their ‘tech expert’ students are leading the way. It’s clearly a subject that people are passionate about and we hope to use this to influence change.

Embracing technology at this level will support the teaching process and help shape student’s futures. Kids are already flexing their digital muscles in their home lives, so let’s bring this thirst for technology into the classroom.

Duncan has been at Virgin Media Business since May 2012. He leads the company’s marketing team with a focus on spearheading growth through innovation and market leading propositions.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.

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