Last updated: 21.02.13

English schoolchildren 'need more online learning'

English children could be missing out on innovative learning technology due to the fact their schools are not equipped with good enough Wi-Fi.

According to head of the E-Learning Foundation Valerie Thompson, it is crucial for all institutions to have access to the internet if they are able to embrace online training in all subjects, the BBC reports.

She claimed an online connection is "vital" to a 21st century learning environment and stable wireless networks are essential if schools are to use digital to its full potential and transform the face of education. The expert further noted the technology gives pupils the freedom to study wherever they are, whether it is "in the sports hall, the playground or over lunch".

However, a study recently conducted by marketed research firm C3 Education for Besa revealed just 22 per cent of 250 secondary schools surveyed said they have Wi-Fi in most or all classrooms, 39 per cent had it in some and the remaining group had the internet in few or no rooms.

Meanwhile, just over one-quarter (28 per cent) of 350 primary schools claimed to have Wi-Fi in most or all classrooms, 22 per cent in some and 50 per cent in few or no classrooms.

Because of this, many pupils in UK facilities are likely to be losing out on the fantastic opportunities online learning resources can offer them.

Marcus Jewell, head of Western Europe at communications firm Brocade, remarked a modern learning environment begins with the internet and advances in Wi-Fi networks are at the heart of the education system.

He was quoted by Education Executive as saying: "From interactive whiteboards to access to online collaboration tools and virtual classrooms, a good education in schools will increasingly come down to the reliability of the network."

The professional also pointed out that Wi-Fi is "part and parcel of day-to-day-business" and students need to leave their studies prepared to be in close contact with the digital platform at a new workplace, while he said education must stay relevant in both what and how it teaches those pupils from an early age.