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Lack of wireless web access hindering learning, says BESA

21/02/2013 Joanna
Lack of access to wireless internet in classrooms is making it harder for those in teaching jobs to ensure their pupils are computer literate, a new report has indicated.

The government has made improving schoolchildren's ICT skills a priority, with computer science to be taught in secondary schools as part of the revamped National Curriculum.

Education secretary Michael Gove also wants primary teachers to educate their pupils about basic computer code and in how to create simple animations and websites.

Yet a new study conducted on behalf of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) has shown that poor internet access could be a barrier to these objectives, with only 22 per cent of 250 secondary schools surveyed having wi-fi in all or most of their classrooms.

A further 39 per cent only had it in some of their rooms, BBC News reported, while 39 per cent only had wi-fi in very few or none of their classrooms.

Meanwhile, out of 350 primary schools looked at, 28 per cent had wi-fi access in all or most rooms, 22 per cent in some rooms and 50 per cent had little or no wireless internet access in their classrooms.

The need for good wi-fi access was stressed by Valerie Thompson of the E-Learning Foundation, who described it as "vital to a 21st century learning environment" and as enabling children to continue learning "in the sports hall, the playground or over lunch".

Ms Thompson's sentiments were echoed by Sean Larner, of wi-fi provider Xirrus, who predicted that in future most lessons will involve digital technology and urged the government to take responsibility for ensuring pupils have sufficient internet access.

However, a Department for Education spokeswoman stated that head teachers managed their own budgets and were best placed to decide the extent to which wi-fi should be made accessible in their schools.

She added that new school buildings were always built with high standards of wi-fi access, while all new teachers are trained to use ICT in the classroom.

Lack of wi-fi access in schools could be exacerbated by the fact that 29 per cent of children in the UK's poorest households have no access to a computer and 36 per cent no access to the internet, according to recent E-Learning Foundation analysis of official government statistics.

Posted by Theo FouldsADNFCR-2164-ID-801544241-ADNFCR
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