Scotland tops UK for Digital Proficiency in Schools
Lenovo has commissioned a report from CEBR, Technology in UK Schools, detailing insights into the use of technology in UK schools in 2020, examining the types of technology that have been adopted, how this has been applied, and the ways in which this has shaped the learning environment.
Please see below for the key findings, methodology, recommendations, calls to action, and an overview of Lenovo’s education portfolio in 2020. The full report is also available to share.
This has been achieved by conducting a survey of 2,000 teachers, covering a range of different school types across the UK, alongside one-to-one interviews with experts from the education and tech sectors from Lenovo’s education network in the UK.
As a leading provider of educational technology, Lenovo is committed to building smarter technology to empower students and teachers through personalised education solutions. A trusted technology partner to institutions around the world, Lenovo is enabling new models of teaching, learning and collaborating through cutting-edge solutions, all while managing cost, efficiency, and security.
This report presents a view of:
- The digital proficiency of schools in the UK, looking at region, school size and category among other factors, rated using a Digital Proficiency Scale developed by CEBR for this report
- The provision of technology in schools, both for direct use by pupils and in the classroom for teaching purposes;
- Recommendations and calls to action for improvement in digital proficiency
- Case studies with first-hand teacher experiences and perspectives
Key report Findings
- Nearly one in ten (8%) schools fall into the inadequate category on the Digital Proficiency Scale developed within this report. One in five (20%) are in the excellent category.
- One in five (18%) of all private schools fall into the highest scoring group, compared to just 5% of the state schools in the survey.
- Scotland emerges as the part of the UK with the highest level of digital proficiency in schools.
- Examining the digital proficiency at different stages of the educational system reveals that secondary schools and sixth form colleges score slightly higher than primary schools.
- Smaller schools have on average a slightly lower overall score whereas bigger schools have a higher degree of technological proficiency.
- The survey revealed that the number one priority for teachers is to increase the number of computers available to students in school, followed by more provision of training for teachers on the use of technology.
- Nearly half of students access school computers at least four times a week.
- It is not very common for schools to provide laptops or tablets that students can bring home. Only 3% of the teachers work at schools where all students are equipped with laptops or tablets that they can bring home.
- Microsoft Word and coding are the most common digital skills on the school curriculum.
- Teachers are using technology to digitalise their administrative work. 79% of all teachers surveyed responded saying that they are performing some or all their administrative tasks digitally.
- Based on the survey results, but also informed by one-to-one expert interviews and a review of existing literature Cebr has developed the following recommendations:
- There is a need to expand the provision of training to teachers, in order to maximise the effectiveness of new technologies.
- Continue to re-orient the curriculum towards developing digital skills for the future such as coding, web-design and technologies of the future.
- Encourage information sharing among teachers to improve and inspire usage of new technology and digital skills in classrooms.
- Expand funding opportunities for investment in new technologies to address the shortfall identified by teachers and unlock the gains associated with higher workforce productivity in the longer term.
Calls to action
1. Engage with the teaching community as new technologies are introduced: while only a small percentage of teachers feel there is too much technology in schools, more than two in five (42%) believe the use of technology is currently about right. In order to maximise the effectiveness of new technologies, it is essential that they have the support of the teaching community. This can be achieved by expanding the provision of training to teachers (currently just a quarter of teachers receive training on the use of technology more often than once a year), as well as collaborating with staff on an ongoing basis to ensure that technologies are implemented in a way that aligns with the school’s objectives.
2. Continue to re-orient the curriculum towards developing digital skills for the future: as technology evolves, routine tasks are increasingly likely to become automated, and workers will instead be required to interact with computers in a more involved and creative way. It is therefore essential that schools continue to shift their focus towards developing these deeper digital skills. While it is encouraging that most schools now teach computer programming, the fact that only one in five (21%) include topics relating to technologies of the future such as machine learning or artificial intelligence highlights that there is still progress to be made.
3. Sharing information: the interview with digital technology lead and computing teacher Donna Shah gives further insight into how teachers use technology to share information with colleagues, students and parents. Software programmes such as Microsoft Teams allows communication to increase between teachers and can speed up administrative processes which allows for teachers to spend more times with students. In addition to this, information sharing among teachers can also improve the technological and digital skills of teachers, as they are encouraged to share and learn from each other, which in turn leads to an increase in the quality of digital skills teaching in the classroom.
4. Expand funding opportunities for schools: while there are ways in which schools can upgrade their technological proficiency in a relatively cost effective way, many of the areas of weakness identified in this research require considerable investment in order to be addressed fully. Although the initial costs of technology can be steep, the feedback from teachers and the wider literature is that technology delivers a sizeable boost to educational outcomes, and in the longer term would result in higher workforce productivity.
CEBR conducted a survey of 2,000 teachers at UK schools across all regions of the United Kingdom and conducted in-depth interviews with industry experts in order to create this report and its recommendations.
You can read the full report here