Tablet adoption in schools still hindered by connectivity issues

The use of tablets in schools is rising as barriers to adoption continue to shift the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) has claimed.

According to the organisation’s annual Tablets and Connectivity survey of 335 primary schools and 297 secondary schools in the UK, 71 per cent of primary and 6 per cent of secondary schools are making use of tablets.

This is in contrast to last year 56 per cent of both school types said they were using the devices.

Currently, it is estimated that there are 721,000 tablets for use by pupils in classrooms across UK maintained schools and academies and it is forecast that by the end of 2016, this number will increase to over 946,000.

BESA claims its research also indicates that the upward trend is going to continue because 15 per cent of schools indicated they are aiming to have 1:1 access to tablet technology by 2016 and 44 per cent will have one tablet per child by 2020.

Half of schools lack suitable connectivity

However, the study also claims that a lack of suitable bandwidth remains a significant barrier to adoption of mobile technology.

In May 2014, research suggested that schools in rural parts of the country had poor access to mobile technologies because the connectivity just wasn’t there.

This year, such schools have noted little improvement, with just 3 per cent more primary schools (53 per cent) feeling that they have ideal bandwidth alongside 65 per cent of secondary schools (62 per cent last year).

“It is disappointing to see so many schools still struggling with wi-fi and broadband connectivity issues,” claimed BESA director Caroline Wright.

“With nearly half of schools reporting poor connectivity we run the risk of failing to equip our young people with the essential digital skills that they need for their future careers.

“More needs to be done to improve wi-fi and broadband connectivity in our schools,” she added.

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