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British teachers back digital learning with belief it boosts students’ exam results

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Enough about A-levels, exam board AQA launches Tech-levels to combat skills gaps

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson said earlier in the year that “Britain is a digital leader, however our businesses will fall behind if students leave school without vital digital skills”.

He added that while the government was making steps to address the skills gap, he added that it’s important to “make sure that the views of tech-savvy pupils aren’t overlooked”.

Following on from that, Virgin Media Business, which connects over 3,000 schools, has introduced its annual Generation Tech study for 2015. This year it found that 35 per cent of teachers now use technology every lesson, such as laptops, interactive boards and tablets.

Interestingly, 29 per cent of educators even said they allow their pupils to use their own smartphone or tablet during lessons – which may raise the eyebrows of some peers and parents.

There’s a bigger picture here, however, as advancements in the classroom have led 35 per cent of teachers to claim tech and the internet unlocks creativity, while a quarter said digital learning can improve exam results by at least one grade.

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Educators in the South West are most likely to support the use of tech for educational purposes, the report found.

“Generation Tech reveals how technology and digital learning is proving an ever-more important part of our education system. Not only does tech support teachers and improves their ability to teach, but it also unlocks pupils’ creativity and ultimately improves grades,” said peter Kelly, MD, Virgin Media Business.

“We’re proud to support thousands of schools up and down the country by bringing them the fastest broadband to support learning in the classroom, be that to simply search the web right through to stream a live seminar into the lesson.”

Additionally, teachers are keen for parents to adopt tech too, as 14 per cent think video conferencing should be an option for communicating on parent’s evenings.

The findings from Virgin come after exam board AQA introduced Tech-levels in September. The new qualifications were developed in partnership with firms including Microsoft as a means to bridge the UK’s skills gap and provide young people with more options when moving into further education.

Carole Bishop, AQA’s head of technical and vocational qualifications, said: “These new qualifications are on an equal footing with A-levels, and we believe employers will start making them a job requirement because they know they’ll guarantee the right knowledge and skills.”

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