The UK education system has seen dramatic changes in its adoption and use of ICT over the past ten years.  These changes have been shaped by government curriculum and fiscal boundaries, socio-economic factors, such as the consumerisation of IT, and increasing pressure to deliver technology that not only engages pupils in the classroom, but equips them for 21st century careers. While these factors represent great opportunities for schools to adapt teaching methods and enhance our education system, they also represent unprecedented challenges for schools. For example, securing the network is no longer just about connecting and ensuring the security of the school’s own devices, but enabling pupils to connect with their own technology when and where possible.  Lessons are no longer just in a classroom, but span other educational facilities on and off site as well as homeworking, and technology must adapt to these new scenarios.

Expectations from teachers, pupils and parents around technology have also changed.  Just ten years ago pupils and parents may not have assumed integrated technology to be essential across the curriculum, let alone an element of the school infrastructure and teaching methodology, accessible to pupils and teachers inside and outside of the school.

Technology is part of everyday life for all pupils and so needs to integrate seamlessly into their lives at school, as it does at home.  Two-thirds of five-to seven-year-olds use the internet at home, rising to 82 per cent for 8- to 11-year-olds and 90 per cent for 12- to 15-year-olds. Over a third of 12- to 15-year-olds own a smartphone and typically use the internet (on any device) for 15.6 hours every week. Children are increasingly embracing technology at a younger age: for example, 23 per cent of five- to seven-year-olds now use social networking sites.

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Our latest eBook, ‘Enabling and inspiring students and teachers with Windows 8’, looks at how technologies such as Windows 8, SkyDrive, OneNote and Windows Phone 8 can help inspire learners and create more emotional connections with learning.

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