Harnessing Technology: Schools Survey 2008. Report 2: data

Peter Rudd, Misia Coghlan, Paula Smith

01 September 2008

While teachers are positive about the benefits and potential contribution of information and communications technology (ICT) to pupils' learning, schools still need to make progress in their use of ICT. This is the main finding from the Harnessing Technology Schools Survey 2008, an annual, representative, national survey of ICT in primary, secondary and special schools. The survey was carried out by the NFER, on behalf of Becta, between December 2007 and January 2008.

The aim of the survey was to assess the 'state of the nation' in terms of uptake and impact of educational technologies in maintained schools across England. A key purpose of the survey was collect information that would assist Becta with assessing progress towards the aims and outcomes of the Harnessing Technology strategy and the Children's Plan, and to make future strategic decisions based on the latest developments in ICT related to schools. Overall, the findings of the survey indicated that the Harnessing Technology strategy has enabled schools and practitioners to make good progress through the adoption stage, but it seems that there are important barriers to be overcome before the ambition of 'transformation' through ICT can occur. The results of the survey highlighted that home access, the use of learning platforms and the use of ICT to support personalising learning were areas in which schools particularly could make further progress. Other key areas for progress include a need for schools and teachers to be supported and encouraged to use technology in ways which are more engaging for learners and to use ICT in more interactive ways when communicating with parents.

Key Findings

  • Hardware provision has improved in schools since 2007, including an increase in the number of interactive whiteboards and desktop computers for pupils.
  • Schools tended to use technology, such as interactive whiteboards, mainly for presentational purposes rather than as a method to promote more interactive and engaging forms of teaching and learning.
  • Teachers' use of digital learning resources, especially self-created resources, is increasing.
  • The majority of teachers, across all sectors, are confident and enthusiastic about using ICT.
  • Teachers generally felt that ICT plays a positive role in engaging pupils in learning, with the majority reporting that pupils enjoy lessons more if they use ICT than if they do not.
  • In terms of home access, there were indications that a 'digital divide' may still exist: 30 percent of pupils across all sectors were estimated not to have home access to a computer.
  • Learning platforms are being increasingly used by schools, with the largest increase reported in the secondary sector.
  • Community access to schools' ICT facilities is still somewhat limited, and that, even where technological and virtual forms of communications with parents exist, these tend to be one-way and not interactive.
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