06 Dec 2013

Mobiles, laptops or tablets? - Technology survey helps schools shine a light on pupils’ IT habits around the world

A bespoke online tool, created by academics at The Open University, is being introduced by schools and education establishments around the globe, as a way of gaining greater knowledge of schoolchildren’s access to digital technologies.

Your Own Technology Survey (YOTS) – which allows schools to survey and analyse the technology pupils have access to at home - is already being used across schools in England and is now being rolled out in Australia, America, China and France, with Bangladesh following early next year.

The simple-to-use free survey allows schools to carry out a complete analysis of “who has what” when it comes to mobile phones, laptops, tablets and other devices, right down to basic information on contracts and amount of usage at home.

YOTS co-creator Fiona Henry, lecturer in primary education, said that whilst the survey is predominantly for capturing a full picture of pupil’s digital resources, it has other benefits – such as enabling better technology sharing in the classroom.

“As schools struggle to keep pace with the mushrooming digital knowledge of their pupils, it can prove challenging to make the best use of it in the classroom,” says Fiona.

“Instead, they need to come out of their comfort zone and utilise the knowledge and the equipment which their pupils are already adept at using. In addition, having an understanding of what children have at their disposal can help in making decisions about school equipment, setting homework or utilising devices in lessons.”

Interest in the survey from other countries is keen, even in the US, where there is a diverse level knowledge of technology depending on individual states.

The survey, compiled and updated by a team at The Open University, allows schools to get a detailed breakdown of information on technology and internet access by age, year group or gender, contract details of devices which pupils own or have access to, and importantly whether or not they are allowed, willing and able to make use of that technology for school on a regular basis. Already the team have evidence from schools who say it has changed their work to incorporate better use of technology and even saved them money.

“We are never going to keep up-to-date in such changing times of technology, but it is good for schools to embrace developments and use them positively,” says Fiona.

To see the survey click here:

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