Fujitsu Research Maps Out Road to Digital Learning
- Schools, colleges and universities have big aspirations for digital learning, but more than half struggle to keep up with technological change
- Lack of resources and skills are slowing down the adoption of new technology to support more personalized and interactive teaching
- Around eight in ten schools are still having to invest in basics such as network connectivity and school laptops
Teachers are struggling to keep up with digitally savvy students
While they have ambitious goals for digital learning, over half (51 percent) of survey respondents admitted it is difficult to keep up with technological change. This is not surprising: Educators have a huge number of challenges to master, including the balancing act between increasingly digitally literate students, and their teachers, who are generally considered to be less digitally savvy, according to survey results. While more than half (54 percent) of respondents rated the digital literacy of their students and pupils as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, an overwhelming 88 percent agreed that improving the digital competency for teaching staff was a priority for the next 12 months. In many cases, this means educators will focus on getting teachers ready to embrace digital learning methods and solutions, plus enablers such as cloud technology.
A large number of educational establishments are also struggling with complex infrastructure challenges. Poor network connectivity and unsuitable legacy hardware and software are a headache for many educational IT departments, as is trying to find the right mix of devices, infrastructure and apps. Less than half (46 percent) of respondents think they have the best possible devices to support their digital learning goals, with devices easily broken or damaged through student use, and hampered by limited or non-existent in-built security.
Balancing levels of access and security is a priority for 97 percent of IT leaders in the education sector, and nearly nine in ten schools acknowledge the need to focus on reviewing or improving the reliability and robustness of devices and systems. However, limited IT budgets and resources are holding over half (54 percent) of institutions back. Budgets are currently mainly being invested at a foundation level. For example, 87 percent want to invest in their wireless networks over the next 12 months.
Ash Merchant, Director of Education at Fujitsu, says: “Digital technology brings so many opportunities to education, including more personalized learning and progress feedback, self-initiated learning with anytime, anywhere access to additional resources, and enhanced collaboration between students, teachers, and parents. Connectivity, simplicity, and security are key for this, but as our survey shows, many educational institutions are struggling with these foundations. Often they are also challenged in securing the necessary funding, and making a case for digital learning with a demonstrable return on investment. We want to help schools, colleges and universities by removing these complexities. It’s not just about providing technology and devices, but about supporting teachers and students to get the most from new technologies, and to prepare students for the digital workplace. At Fujitsu, we believe strongly that if we want to prepare our children for the digital future, we have to close the digital learning gap – and we can only achieve this if we all work together and there is ongoing collaboration between the technology industry and education.”
Notes to editors
1 Fujitsu surveyed 602 respondents from a mix of state and privately funded primary schools, secondary schools, colleges/further education establishments, and universities across seven countries: Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The research asked IT leaders in educational establishments about their digital ambitions, the challenges they are facing, the opportunities they see and their spending priorities. The survey, which took place in March/April 2017, involved a combination of telephone and face-to-face interviews and was conducted by an independent research institute on behalf of Fujitsu.
The research paper will be available for digital download from Fujitsu from late June.
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 155,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com.
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Date: 22 June, 2017