Teachers say that a lack of access to technology in classrooms is ‘holding their pupils back’, a survey reveals.

The findings from the National Literacy Trust found that most teachers in the UK say that technology can play a crucial role in helping to boost their pupils’ literacy levels.

However, access to software, hardware, as well as wifi in classrooms is poor and teacher training on this issue is inconsistent.

In addition, despite 90% of teachers saying that education should help prepare young people for working in the digital workplace, it’s secondary school students who are at the greatest disadvantage when it comes to having access to technology.

In a report, ‘Teachers use of technology to support literacy’, researchers found that most teachers believe that technology can help engage their pupils with reading, speaking, writing and listening. They said this was specifically in terms of enjoyment, motivation and confidence.

Teachers say that technology should be made available

Also, 75% of teachers say that technology should be made available to support literacy across the curriculum.

Teachers also say they consider technology to have a positive impact on those reluctant readers and writers and for pupils who are less able to read and write.

Despite these benefits, however, teachers say that the lack of investment in software, hardware and wifi is their greatest barrier to supporting learning through technology.

The survey highlights that just under half of pupils have access to laptops or an iPad while in school, and two in five of them will have access to a desktop computer.

In addition, access to new technology is even scarcer with just 2.3% of schools able to offer access to Virtual Reality headsets.

Just 1.4% of schools have smart speakers and 0.9% have wireless headphones for pupils to use.

Inconsistent teacher training was also highlighted

The issue of inconsistent teacher training was also highlighted by 23% of teachers who report that they have never received any initial technology training or any ongoing training to support literacy.

The National Literacy Trust’s director, Jonathan Douglas, said: “Technology is ever-present in young peoples’ and children’s daily lives and it’s here to stay.

“To harness effectively the potential of technology to support child learning then greater investment in resources, as well as training and research is needed.”

He added that schools need support from technology companies, policymakers, education professionals and academics to help deliver this support to boost child learning.

He said: “We must do everything to unlock the literary skills that young people and children need for thriving at school in life and at work.”