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UK schools embrace technology as pace of evolution increases

Kyocera Document Solutions announces results of its third annual Education Technology report

Posted by Hannah Oakman | February 25, 2016 | Technology

According to the survey of 350 teachers and over 1,000 students, technology continues to be seen as a differentiator in schools, colleges and universities across the UK.

Almost two thirds of respondents (62%) felt that their organisation’s investment in technology helped them to stand out from the crowd. This differentiation is important, especially where educational institutions often have to compete for pupils.

Despite making for encouraging reading for those seeking to increase the pace of technological evolution in the UK education sector, these findings actually reveal very little change since last year’s survey. Investment in technology is a huge part of education in an increasingly digital world, and something that can clearly help schools and universities, yet the implication is that teachers and students need to see more significant advancements to increase their standing in relation to other schools.

According to Eddie Ginja, Head of Technology and Innovation, KYOCERA Document Solutions UK: “The education sector is facing a number of challenges and changes, including a shortage of teachers, insufficient budgets and curriculum alterations.  It’s encouraging to see emerging technologies and processes being implemented which can help to alleviate these strains and enable schools to keep up with the fast-paced digital revolution.”

Technology use & improvements

The 2015 findings suggest that UK education institutions lack the resources to invest in and implement technologies as they could and should be. Only 8% of teachers and 12% of students felt that their organisation didn’t need to make any improvements to its technology over the next year, and the most popular request was for more up-to-date computers. This answer was given by 52% of teachers and 45% of students, and seems heightened in nursery and primary schools (58%) and lessened in colleges (34%).

The pattern of desired improvements is very similar between teachers and students, something of great advantage to schools, colleges and universities who can potentially please two different groups with one adaptable solution. The appetite for emerging technology trends, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and use of the cloud to access and store documents, is particularly demonstrative of this. For teachers, 26% wanted to see more use of the cloud, whilst 25% of students requested this. The trend shifts slightly for BYOD, with 15% of students and 14% of teachers citing this.

A passion for printing

A third of both teachers (34%) and students (33%) have a desire for better quality printing, making it the second most wished for technology improvement in the next year. Poor quality printing seems to be a particular problem in state schools with higher proportions of teachers and students looking for better quality compared to private schools.

Volumes of printing show no signs of decreasing in the education sector, despite attempts to increase digitisation, with 69% of teachers saying that on average they print more than 3,000 sheets of paper per term. This halts a trend seen in 2013 and 2014 for volumes to decrease year on year, and is an increase on the 2014 findings when only 56% of teachers believed this to be the case.

With this appetite for print, it is surprising that UK education institutions still don’t seem to be capitalising on this as a viable revenue stream. Despite 58% of students admitting to having to pay to print at school, college or university, only 9% of teachers claim to be making money from student printing.

“These findings suggest that the education sector continues to miss out when it comes to realising the potential cost savings from print,” comments Eddie. “There is still some way to go to align Government-led changes and actionable measures to reduce expenditure within schools, despite the survey finding that teachers believe that using technology to reduce costs is more important to their role than producing effective education collateral.” 

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