BSG highlights educational benefits of broadband

BSG highlights educational benefits of broadband

Education report provides step-by-step guide to making the UK a leader in online learning and calls on the Government to champion change.

28 April 2003

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the government’s key advisory group on broadband, today unveils its eagerly awaited Broadband Education Report. Stating the case for widespread use and exploitation of broadband within the education system, the report highlights the barriers to successful adoption, and proposes a five step strategy to help bring about a new age of learning for UK education.

“Across the world, and particularly in countries like Korea, access to education online has been a major driver for the take up of broadband, especially by families .” said Antony Walker, BSG CEO. “Broadband makes the Internet more accessible, fun and compelling. When applied to education this opens up new possibilities for students, teachers and lecturers alike”.

With almost 40% of schools already connected to broadband, the BSG report highlights case studies demonstrating how schools and colleges are discovering innovative new ways of teaching and learning using broadband, that change the way education is delivered; allow learners much more flexibility; and improve the way educational institutions are managed and administered. “The challenge today is to leverage these developments and examples of good practice so that the full benefits of broadband are delivered as widely and quickly as possible across the whole education sector,” said Walker.

The BSG identifies several key issues or barriers that need to be addressed for the UK to become a global leader in educational use of broadband. These include; how best to motivate users and decision makers to ensure that the deployment of broadband becomes an educational ‘pull’ rather than a technology ‘push’, how to address inconsistencies in the use of broadband in education, how to overcome the fragmentation of funding streams available for broadband education projects , and how to make sure that these projects are sustainable in the longer term.

To overcome these barriers, the BSG has developed five major recommendations:

1. The Government should clearly communicate its vision for the use of broadband within education and the wider learning agenda.

2. A central online resource for the broadband and education sector should be developed to provide guidance and information on how education institutions can fully integrate broadband into their strategic education targets and related processes.

3. Guidelines should be drawn up to advise educational institutions on how best to pull together funding streams to support new broadband projects in a sustainable and efficient way.

4. Action is required to ensure that teachers have access to effective technical support in the classroom.

5. Build sustainability requirements into educational projects to ensure that successful pilots can be maintained.

Keith Todd, Chairman of the BSG said, “The education sector is not yet fully exploiting the potential of ICT. The introduction of broadband in particular, represents a challenge to traditional methods of teaching, learning and administration and therefore needs to be accompanied by effective change management processes to ensure that educational organisations are compelled to use broadband.”

In November last year, Prime Minister, Tony Blair, argued that education and skills were critical to the creation of a knowledge driven economy. Announcing a major commitment to deliver broadband to all schools in 2006, Blair said “ We agree with the BSG that schools are key to taking advantage of the broadband revolution. We plan to build on the progress we have made in providing thousands more PCs and achieving the highest level of Internet connection for schools in the G7.”

View BSG Report in full

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