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Schools wasting money on gadgets

Millions of pounds worth of technology is “languishing unused” in school cupboards because teachers are being duped into buying the latest gadgets, according to research.

Nesta, the innovation charity, claimed that millions of pounds were being wasted on useless technology in schools such as tablet computers, education games and electronic whiteboards with little or no evidence that they benefit children’s education.

Researchers warned that teachers were increased pulled in by the “hype and lure of digital education” without properly considering how to use the technology.

The study was based on an analysis of more than 1,000 research papers drawn up into the use of technology in education.

Researchers suggested that schools across Britain collectively spent more than £1.4bn on the latest gadgets in the last three years alone. But the study warned that there was “little tangible impact” on pupils’ education as technology was often “imported into classrooms without the necessary changes to teacher practice and school organisation to support them”.

The report – entitled “Decoding Learning” – also warned that tablet computers were being handed to pupils with no training in how to use them. “Tablet computers offer a window to vast swathes of information, but so does a traditional library,” it said. “To use either effectively, a children needs structured teaching to help turn information into knowledge.”

The study highlighted a number of ways in which technology could be used to boost pupils’ education. This included the use of a robotics kit for secondary schools that enables pupils to attach lights, sensors and motors to a customised control board – and then programme their machines using a simple app. In another example, pupils were able to use powerful sound equipment and specially-positioned digital equipment to simulate an earthquake in a geography class


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