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Friday, 19 April 2013 10:30

EU digital skills “uneven”

Written by Nick Farrell



Teachers need skills boost

While students and teachers in Europe are keen to "go digital", computer numbers have doubled since 2006 and most schools are now "connected", teachers need better skills, according to a new paper written by the European Commission.

The study found that only one in four nine year olds studies at a 'highly digitally-equipped school' – with recent equipment, fast broadband and high 'connectivity' and only half of 16 year olds are in such 'highly digitally-equipped schools'. One in five secondary students have never or almost never used a computer in their school lessons and students’ frequency of computer-based learning activities in the classroom increases when schools have specific formal policies to use computers.

Scandinavian and Nordic countries have the best equipment while students in Poland, Romania, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Slovakia are most likely to lack the right equipment. Lack of equipment does not mean lack of interest: some countries with the highest use of computer equipment are the ones with the lowest scores on equipment provisions like Bulgaria, Slovakia, Cyprus and Hungary.

Most teachers believe there is need for radical policy change and are generally confident and positive about the use of computers for learning. But teacher training is rarely compulsory and therefore most teachers devote spare time to private study of these skills. Teachers use computers to prepare lessons more often than they use them in lessons, the study found.

Nick Farrell

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