Article by Simone Martorina, business manager VI, Epson UK
They say our school years are the best of our lives, and it is remarkable how fast they pass, so it is undoubtedly integral that teachers and pupils get the absolute most out of them. The methods of teaching are constantly evolving too, with technology increasingly embraced in classrooms up and down the country. With time in education so precious, it is important that not a second is needlessly lost – and using old, outdated tech is doing exactly that.
The impact on time consumption that old tech has is huge, and unjustifiably so at that. The time that is spent by teachers hooking up outdated machines such as laptops and display screens to teach from is precious and could be spent so much more usefully having greater interaction with the children, and young people, who are there to learn.
Epson has conducted a lot of research into this very problem, unearthing some quite surprising results in the process which demonstrate the true extent of the problem old tech poses the education system. It is a far-reaching problem too, with old technology still relied upon across the United Kingdom, despite students using smartphones and connected devices that are far superior.
We surveyed UK based teachers, and found that 44% of those we posed the question to stated that they estimate at least two hours of teaching is wasted every week on outdated or poorly performing classroom tech. What’s more, 29% of those surveyed answered that they feel up to four hours a week can be lost to poorly performing technology.
This is a staggering amount, and begs the question of how much more productive could our teachers be if investment was made in high level technological equipment? It also makes one think how much more thorough could our teaching be, if these hours weren’t wasted? This is an area that needs addressing sooner rather than later, evidenced by the fact that 66% of the teachers surveyed said they are forced to plan their teaching carefully around the restrictive equipment, and display screen technology, that is in operation in their classrooms.
Lack of engagement = poorer grades
It is of course a very simple equation – the less time that is spent teaching; the less the pupils are going to learn and the less thorough the whole process will be, and the less engaged they will be. Of course, it is imperative that children and young people receive the best possible education this country can provide them with.
Tech has a crucial role to play in this, particularly when it comes to how the teachings are presented, and more specifically, what they’re presented on. More than three quarters, 76%, of teachers think that having better display technology in their classrooms would more effectively engage their students.
When it comes to engaging pupils better, it is generally accepted by experts that creativity is a key way to do this. Indeed, 60% of the teachers we surveyed agreed that they can be more creative in their teaching when using updated, and different equipment, such as projectors. This is substantiated further by the fact that 52% of the teachers surveyed stated they prefer teaching with a projector, as opposed to television screens.
This shift to incorporating more technology, that is up to date, needs to happen now – the traditional blackboard and chalk, and whiteboards with highlighter pens, are on borrowed time. In fact, only a quarter of those surveyed said they exclusively use these assets.
So with greater engagement, and creative teaching, comes greater results. We have discovered, through our research, that there is a general correlation between children not being able to adequately see a classroom screen, and lower scores in exams and tests.
With this in mind, it is integral that the technology relied upon to teach children is state of the art, inclusive and allows for more creative methods of teaching. We cannot continue to hold students back in their learnings, and their future development, and the implementation of greater technologies such as projectors have a huge role to play in this.