According to research findings of BESA, the British Educational Suppliers Association, in the last five years UK schools have spent more than £1 billion on digital technology. From interactive whiteboards to tablets, there is more digital technology in schools than ever before. The digital technology use in UK schools is on the rise. In terms of technology use in education, UK has always led the way, as the pupils are exposed to ICT for more than 50% of teaching time and the percent is constantly growing every year. 95% of UK teachers are using slides presentations in the classroom, while 80% of them are projecting videos and images on the interactive whiteboards. In the same time, the ready-made lessons and online tools that enable teachers to deliver the content to their students are on the rise.
When it comes to content creation, the teachers know clearly what their needs are. They want ready-made templates, to start from existing design rather than make everything from scratch. They also want easy to use content creation solutions, so they could create the lessons in minutes. They want to engage the students through interactive content and be able to send instant feedback to the students based on their activities.
It is not surprising at all that technology is playing an increasingly central role in the UK classrooms – not just in ICT lessons, where children are learning to write code from the age of five this year, but in English, Biology and Maths lessons as well.
Since 2001, Romania has implemented large-scale eLearning programmes in K-12 education, with higher success and significant lower resources than many other EU member states. Computers were delivered in classrooms; teachers were trained in basic ICT skills and were taught advanced eLearning techniques and methods; multimedia interactive eLearning content was deployed and made available freely to all teachers and students. All examinations and the whole administrative workload are managed electronically.
As a consequence, eLearning usage in schools is systematically above the world and European averages, Romania ranking very high on indicators such as teachers with compulsory ICT training (71%) and informal ICT training (86%); teachers trained in using ICT in school (58%); availability (60%) or usage of ICT, access to Virtual Learning Environments (https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/2nd-survey-schools-ict-education-smart-20140020).
After 15 years of research, Romania showcases successful case-studies in the implementation and adoption of cloud-based pedagogical solutions.
Success and failure strongly correlate to this vision, but also to the alignment of the vision to practice. Availability and accessibility of ICT resources for all teachers and pupils are the basic requirements. eLearning tools must be both affordable and efficient – saving the time of teachers and students while supporting real learning; easy to use and integrating ubiquitously into everyday school life. A vertical approach from policy to practice means that an eLearning platform must support teachers to create and customize easily high-quality content. The eLearning content must gain the attention of students by being delivered in clear and efficient manners. The whole process should offer guidance and practice opportunities to internalize skills and knowledge, support the building of knowledge, provide feedback and monitor the whole process.
Teachers are now supported in creating digital learning activities, evaluations and assessment in minutes, anytime and anywhere.
Teachers can send the content to students in a click, or use it in the classroom as part of a complementary teaching path. By sharing their own multimedia lessons and exercises to their colleagues, they contribute to a self-improving, emergent community of teachers. eLearning transforms learning into a pleasant activity for students.
Parents become involved into the everyday education of their children.
Most importantly, all these activities are easy to perform after a very short learning curve, which is the key ingredient for insuring that teachers become enrolled as active, regular users.
The historical promises of eLearning are yet to be delivered. However, elements already exist that significantly enhance day-to-day teaching and help to finally bring our schools to the 21st century.