More than eight in 10 people in Scotland believe digital technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), will improve education across the country, with interactive learning capabilities and the potential for remote learning highlighted as key potential benefits.
Seeking to learn more about Scottish attitudes towards the increased use of digital technologies and IoT in education, research commissioned by Capita’s Technology Solutions division on behalf of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN), found that 91% of citizens believe emerging technologies could be useful in supporting students with special educational needs and disabilities.
Similarly, 92% also feel it could connect and improve outcomes for students living in remote and rural areas. On top of this, 84% believe that schools and universities should provide more remote and distance learning offerings.
This would be a huge perk for those dispersed across large geographical boundaries and could greatly alleviate the nation’s teacher shortage.
Jack Anderson, head of digital and innovation for SWAN at Capita, commented: “We’re seeing new technologies developing all the time which can help build smart classrooms and campuses across Scotland.
“Ultimately, these technologies can be an advantage to every student in Scotland. This is particularly true when it comes to ensuring equal access to education – especially for those in remote and rural areas – and helping them prepare for a tech-driven future.”
He added: “We’re seeing a lot of government investment into high-speed internet across Scotland – especially for the one in five of households that remain unconnected. We now need to make sure citizens across these remote and rural regions are aware of the possibilities that come with the right infrastructure and reliable connectivity.”
The report notes that expectations are different in more remote areas of Scotland due to historic connectivity issues. One-fifth (20%) of respondents based in the Highlands fail to see any benefit to digitising education, compared to 10% overall. The report predicts that opinion is likely to change as connectivity improves across the country.
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John Wilson, CEO and co-founder of SWAN partner Ajenta said: “Scotland is a nation of innovators, but we can only unleash that potential if we have the means to communicate and share ideas effectively.
“This begins in the classroom, where access and equity in education resources, and efficient knowledge sharing, is the key ingredient for a nation to gain a global economic and human advantage.
“There is a global shortage of teachers, and this is a genuine challenge in Scotland. Our aim is to overcome the issue by connecting as many classrooms as possible with digital and smart tech, to help schools and universities share learning resources and collaborate easily. SWAN offers a comprehensive level of connectivity that makes this possible.”