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UK schools see tablet usage rise

The use of tablets in UK schools is rising, claims the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA).

BESA is a trade association that represents over 300 educational suppliers in Britain, including manufacturers and distributors of ICT hardware and digital equipment to the education market.

Its annual survey, Tablets and Connectivity, surveys 636 schools in the country – 334 primary and 302 secondary – to analyse usage rates of tablets and apps in educational settings.

Last year, participants predicted 24 per cent of computers would be tablets by 2015, but this year, they believe the rate will be 37 per cent by 2016.

By 2020, respondents said they expect tablet adoption to rise further – claiming 56 per cent of all hardware in classrooms will be tablets.

If the projected total were to become reality, the pupil-to-tablet ratio would be 11:4 in primary schools and 6:4 in secondary institutions by 2016.

This is a large increase compared with last year’s result, which expected to see one tablet for every 14 students by 2015.

“Encouraging” results

“It is heartening that schools continue to invest in this mobile technology to put the power of learning back into students’ hands,” claimed Caroline Wright, BESA director.

“However, schools must continue to collaborate and share best practice use of tablets and apps if the technology’s adoption is to continue to contribute positively to educational standards,” she added.

The research also measured factors that hinder tablet adoption, find that 90 per cent of schools studied say funding and budget allocation is the main barrier.

Security, training and support and the availability of a wi-fi connection were also significant issues listed as slowing tablet adoption down.

Recently, think tank The Education Foundation called for an improved education technology strategy in the UK education sector.