Avril Keating, Peter Rudd, Clare Gardiner
15 April 2010
In September 2008, Becta commissioned NFER to conduct a large-scale, independent survey of learners’ uses of new technologies. The research produced a wide array of findings about learner’s e-access, e-maturity and e-security. Based on these findings, the NFER team produced the following recommendations:
- The vast majority of learners have good access to technologies at home, and it would be beneficial for schools to build upon and make greater use of the ICT skills and experience that learners have acquired at home and outside of school. Examples might include greater use of mobile phones and gaming skills.
- At the same time, there also seems to be a need to ensure that home access is genuinely universal, and that the small numbers without home access do not get left behind. Particular attention may need to be given to ‘hard to reach’ groups or learners and families for whom there are serious barriers to home access/home use of computers.
- There is a continuing need for the further encouragement of the use of particular (and new) technology skills and tasks within lessons and through homework and coursework; while there are some signs of the development of cross-curricular ‘embeddedness’ of technology for learning, there are still too many variations in the use of ICT across different school subjects.
- Awareness and use of learning platforms are both lower than they should be. We would recommend taking steps to further develop awareness amongst staff, learners and parents of what learning platforms are and what they can be used for. Relevant professional development activities for staff might be useful in this context.
- Many schools now have appropriate e-safety/acceptable use policies, but the challenge now may be to ensure that these are actually implemented, consistently and comprehensively throughout the school.