Last updated: 09.10.13

UK schools 'cannot ignore digital revolution'

Schools must make use of technological advancements and embrace the digital revolution, according to one headteacher based in Teesside.Deborah Duncan from the independent Teesside High School in the north-east of the UK has claimed the changes made at her facility have seen staff and pupils experimenting with virtual learning environments, mobile apps and Google docs, reports the Northern Echo.Most of the institution's textbooks have been replaced by electronic versions on tablets and homework is being set through interactive platforms, with teachers receiving training in the various systems introduced.Ms Duncan said that while many employees of the school were apprehensive about using the technology, they have given it a go as they believe it will improve engagement with pupils and boost academic achievements.A training day was even held to give staff the chance to watch and discuss a YouTube video called Shift Happens, which highlights the way the world is changing and how educational facilities need to adapt to fit in with these fluctuating demands.The headteacher noted young people use new technologies in their daily lives all the time, both socially and to organise themselves."As schools, if we do not keep up with these technological opportunities and their pupils' modus operandi, we will become irrelevant," she added.Ms Duncan made her case for virtual environments, suggesting that they help teachers to interact with children at all times and answer their homework - even at the weekend when they would usually not be able to receive help.This comes after the journalist Allister Heath recently criticised schools for being technophobic and opposed to modern ideas regarding education.Any institutions that are struggling to get to grips with delivering online learning to staff or students should turn to the services of Virtual College, which is preparing to roll out a new education division website that will equip schools with the relevant training tools.