BESA (British Educational Suppliers Association) has published reseach which has important implications for providers of classroom technology. The research indicates that 6 per cent of all pupil-facing computers in schools will be tablets by the end of 2012 (4.5 per cent in primary, 6.9 per cent in secondary). The schools surveyed, forecast that by the end of 2015 the percentage of tablets will have risen to 22 per cent of all pupil-facing computers. Unsurprisingly, 82% of all teachers also say that their pupils have an interest in using tablets. The findings are significant in the context of the introduction of education content for Smart TVs, providing students with the opportunity to continue or supplement their education at home.
The headline findings of the survey of 500 UK schools (190 primary, 310 secondary), conducted in May 2012, found that the majority of schools are adopting a research-driven approach to tablet take-up, and want more evidence before supporting the adoption of tablets in the classroom (72 per cent). There is also a strong recognition at both primary and secondary level of pupil interest in apps, though with a degree of industry caution about the need for greater convergence of operating systems. Caroline Wright, BESA director, said; “this is a very exciting time for schools and educational technology providers. We see that, in the absence of DfE directives, schools are becoming increasingly savvy in their ICT procurement and also taking their time to make the right decisions for their pupils based on research evidence, financial and educational value-for-money considerations. Schools increasingly support the view that they need to consider ways to integrate the technology and learning that pupils’ experience inside the classroom with their use of IT outside school.”
“This research also raises questions about the models of provision that we may see in the future. Though beyond the scope of the research this year, does the trend of the reducing cost of tablets raise the potential for tablets to become a pupil-provided item with the school responsibility being the integration of the personal device and some provision of the content and apps?”
BESA’s findings come from a survey into the ‘Future of tablets and apps in schools’. This research, carried out in conjunction with the National Education Research Panel (NERP), provides analysis into the current adoption of tablet PCs and apps in schools and gives insight into their future use. The research also highlighted the fact that 61 per cent of primary schools and 39 per cent of secondary schools still feel it is important or very important to wait for the government to support adoption. This comes despite two years of government policy giving schools the freedom and autonomy to choose the ICT tools and resources appropriate to meeting their specific needs.
See AV News UK print edition June 2012: what are schools really buying?