How can technology impact FE teaching?

Tutors need better support and more funding as they get to grips with educational technology

30 June 2014

At City & Guilds we're continuing on our mission to encourage the FE sector to better understand how learning technology can enhance teaching outcomes. We surveyed over 600 hundred FE professionals to understand their views towards using technology within teaching, learning & assessment.

The results of our survey reveal that 80% of FE tutors believe that technology has the power to positively impact teaching and learning (four out of five) and two thirds (66%) think technology improves it.  However, it also finds that professionals are being held back from making the most of new resources due to a lack of investment, uncertainty about the technology and limited opportunities for access and experimentation. This research also shows support from the top in colleges across the UK: 71% of tutors say their leadership team encourages the use of new technology. However enthusiasm for what the digital future can offer among tutors and managers is not yet being matched by uptake in the classroom. More than a third (38%) of those surveyed say they lack confidence in learning to use new technologies, and fewer than one in seven (29%) use all the technology available to them. Tutors are clear that in order to embrace the digital future they need better support and more investment in new resources.

Commenting on the report Kirstie Donnelly, UK Managing Director of City & Guilds said:

Using technology in teaching and learning is no longer optional

'The research we are publishing today shows on the one hand a really positive step forward in the attitudes of FE practitioners to embrace learning technology and on the other a continued lack of support, training and time for tutors to make the best use of the technology available. Whenever a big change is needed in the system it is often the tutors who suffer as they struggle to learn new skills and ways of teaching without being given any extra support.

'Using technology in teaching and learning is no longer optional and tutors want and need to embrace the digital future and the onus is on the sector as a whole to ensure that they are not held back. It is crucial that we ensure tutors have access to the time and support they need to become confident practitioners, and for senior management to ensure that resources are forthcoming.'

The research shows there is real enthusiasm among individual tutors of all ages for using digital resources, and the Government has signalled its support for digital skills across FE in the response to the Feltag recommendations. This enthusiasm must be matched by concrete action by decision-makers and budget-holders. As a whole, the sector needs to catch up and make sure that training and investment is forthcoming.

City & Guilds is calling for FE leaders to prioritise support for their tutors, both in terms of experimentation time and provision of relevant tools, so that the sector can optimise the use of new technologies and step into the digital future.

Download full report (PDF, 1MB) >

The results in pictures: have a look at our technology in FE infographic


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