The majority of South African educators are keen to use technology in the classroom, and consider themselves well qualified to do so.
This is one of the findings from a new education survey of nearly 50 educators in South Africa, in which they discussed the challenges and opportunities in optimising technology for the classroom as well as the skillsets required to succeed.
The survey commissioned by Microsoft, and conducted by Market research firm YouGov, was shared at the annual BETT Middle East 2017 event held in Abu Dhabi, on April 25-26 and brought together over 1 600 leading educators from across the region. BETT (British Education and Training Technology) has established itself as a global meeting place for the education technology community. Through its ongoing series of world-class events, it continues to promote the discovery of technology and knowledge to enhance lifelong learning.
Educators in South Africa see themselves as highly tech-proficient, and are most interested in apps that help students collaborate in team projects.
The findings revealed that 88% educators said they believe their school leaders have a clear vision of how to use technology for the enhancement of the classroom experience. Forty-eight percent of educators reported that technology was used in their classrooms; and a 70% said that virtual collaboration. working with others remotely, is a key skill required by students.
When addressing the absence of technology as it impacted the student body, 36% believed students will find it hard to adapt to the future workplace with their low digital literacy.
However, 52% educators surveyed lack proper training to understand and implement the integration of technology (computers, software, online resources) into the way they teach.
The study revealed that the biggest factor needed to successfully transform teaching and learning experiences was educator skill sets – in particular, knowing how to make the most of available resources and tools.
“Over several decades, Microsoft has worked with institutions and educators around the world, and gained a deep understanding of how technology in schools can transform the learning experience,” says Anthony Salcito, vice-president: worldwide education at Microsoft. “We continue to bring our leading-edge products, services and programmes to bear on this challenge, always taking into account that technology is not the lone agent in such transformations, and can even complicate or slow down the process if not implemented with due diligence.
“We recommend that education leaders take a curriculum-focused approach to technology adoption, keeping in mind their educational goals, and then integrate those technologies that facilitate tangible benefits for students and teachers.”
Claudia Johnston, education sector lead at Microsoft South Africa, adds: “Lack of digital proficiency is the biggest challenge facing the youth, especially in the Middle East. It is crucial to take the steps for equipping educators with the right tools and providing them with trainings that will help address the technological challenges in the classroom; empowering students with key 21st century skills to deliver immense change.”