85% of citizens believe digital technologies will improve education in Scotland

New research highlights the country’s growing demand for nationwide connectivity

More than 85% of Scottish citizens believe the Internet of Things (IoT) and other digital technologies will allow education in the country to progress, according to new research commissioned by Capita’s Technology Solutions division on behalf of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN).

Seeking to unravel Scottish attitudes towards increasing the use of digital technologies and IoT in education, the study also found that 91% of citizens feel emerging technologies could be particularly useful in supporting students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), with 92% also feeling it could connect and improve outcomes for students living in remote and rural areas.

“We’re seeing new technologies developing all the time which can help build smart classrooms and campuses across Scotland,” commented Jack Anderson, head of digital and innovation for SWAN at Capita.

“Ultimately, these technologies can be an advantage to every student in Scotland. This is particularly true when it comes to ensuring equal access to education – especially for those in remote and rural areas – and helping them prepare for a tech-driven future. We’re seeing a lot of government investment into high-speed internet across Scotland – especially for the one in five of households that remain unconnected. We now need to make sure citizens across these remote and rural regions are aware of the possibilities that come with the right infrastructure and reliable connectivity.”

Scotland calls for more technology

On top of this, 84% of the Scottish population feel education institutes should provide more remote and distance learning offerings. This would be a huge perk for those dispersed across large geographical boundaries and could greatly alleviate the nation’s teacher shortage.

Unique challenges in Scottish education

Citizens listed a number of benefits regarding digital technologies in education, with 60% listing interactive learning capabilities, for example, and 56% citing the potential for distance and remote learning.

People based in the Highlands harboured lower expectations, with a fifth – or 20% – of respondents claiming they don’t see any benefit to digitising education, compared to 10% overall. The report notes that this is because, historically, connectivity in this region has been harder to come by so expectations are different, but this is likely to change as connectivity improves.

With digitisation progressing at rapid pace, Scotland desperately needs to invest in the infrastructure to support it. The government and Scottish policy-makers are working alongside SWAN to realise these efforts.

“Scotland is a nation of innovators, but we can only unleash that potential if we have the means to communicate and share ideas effectively,” said John Wilson, CEO and co-founder of Ajenta – a software company and SWAN partner.

“This begins in the classroom, where access and equity in education resources, and efficient knowledge sharing, is the key ingredient for a nation to gain global economic and human advantage. There is a global shortage of teachers, and this is a genuine challenge in Scotland. Our aim is to overcome the issue by connecting as many classrooms as possible with digital and smart tech, to help schools and universities share learning resources and collaborate easily. SWAN offers a comprehensive level of connectivity that makes this possible.”

The report is the final instalment in a series of three; the first explored digitisation and IoT in healthcare; while the second explored digital technology in local government services.

Click here to download the report.

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