The UK’s Digital Divide
We are living in a digital age with an exponential rate of change. This means that in order for us to attempt to prepare ourselves for the unknown future, we need to familiarise and adapt to the latest tech – this is even more relevant to schools. Lessons should be integrated with modern technology, allowing students to quickly access specific information.
BBC recently released an article which shared the results of a survey conducted by the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa). According to the study, 65% of primary schools and 54% of secondary schools don’t have a Wi-Fi connection available. In addition to this, nearly half of primary schools and a third of secondary schools reported an inadequate broadband connection.
Further findings show a relationship between schools with poor use of ICT (information and communications technology) in the classroom and the UK’s broadband poor regions as identified by Ofcom, an independent regulator, recruited by the British Educational Suppliers Association.
Areas with the poorest internet facilities in schools include Cumbria in England, East Ayrshire in Scotland and Gwynedd in Wales.
“It is of great concern that pupils are being denied access to innovative and effective digital learning because of poor internet connectivity in more than half of the UK’s schools,” said Besa’s director Caroline Wright.
“In today’s digital society, classroom connectivity to an online world of knowledge and resources should be a right for every student in their place of learning and not a lottery.”
Schools that are struggling with poor internet access also report low uptake of tablet computers, risking a bigger digital divide, warned Ms Wright.
“If a teacher standing at the front of the class knows that they have unreliable Wi-Fi they are less likely to use internet-connected resources and devices,” she said.
Hope for the Future
Despite the negative findings, there were a few positive results that rose in the report. The research concluded that schools are rapidly increasing the number of laptops in classrooms and many are using lower-cost tablets as a cheaper alternative to offer more students access to a digital device during lessons.
Technology budgets are also growing in schools and will be at an average of £14,450 per primary school and £64,400 in a typical secondary school by the end of 2016, as estimated by the British Educational Suppliers Association.
Our Information Communication Technology
Speech forms a large part of any lesson. A poor acoustic environment has a negative effect on both the teaching (consider the prevalence of vocal fatigue among teachers) and learning side of a school environment. Improving this one aspect of the classroom will lead to enormous benefits in a very short time (read our interview with sound specialist, Julian Treasure for more on the subject).
Sound For Schools classroom Soundfield systems are a perfect option to improve speech intelligibility and speech coverage in the majority of classrooms. Our Soundfield systems are built with features such as power management and anti-feedback technology, to improve the usability and performance of the technology. Sound For Schools FRONTROW Soundfield systems are also fully compatible with classroom multimedia tools such as interactive whiteboards, PCs, TV, video and lesson capture software.
In addition to offering world leading solutions for classrooms, we also provide national installation services and unrivalled after-care through our parent company, PC Werth. Our mainland UK installation service uses trained experts to deliver and fit the finished systems, and also support you with overview training to get you started.
If you’d like an expert opinion and quote on the perfect upgrade for your classroom or school, contact us today.