Over half of 16s to 18s think they know more about tech than their ICT teacher

Sixth formers show high level of confidence in their own IT skills

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Microsoft research shows that 58 percent of UK 16-18 year-olds believe they have a greater understanding of IT than their ICT teachers.

Microsoft surveyed 1,000 16-18 year-olds in education for its research, and found that the majority of students believe they are learning more about IT outside of the classroom.  

The Microsoft Education Future Workforce research found that "Generation Five" (16-18 year-olds currently in education) question the approach taken by schools, with 58% believing that they have a greater level of understanding when it comes to IT than those charged with educating them.  

The results, said Microsoft, reveal a major concern for businesses if schools are not equipping students with the appropriate skills for future employment. "If the issues are not addressed now they will be felt in years to come as the current students enter the workforce," said Microsoft.

The research also revealed that 56% rate themselves "5 out of 5" in confidence when it comes to basic IT skills, and 71 percent agree that they learn more of what they know about technology outside the classroom.

In addition, 85 percent also believe that the internet outside of their school provides the most important source of information about technology.

Steve Beswick, senior director for education Microsoft UK, said students were embracing new technology and ways of communicating from a variety of guises, via social networking, smart phones and gaming consoles. "They have become the most innovative digital natives of our generation."

He said, "The skills and enthusiasm they have for technology should be encouraged and it's interesting that students feel they’re learning more in their own homes than within the classroom. We need to work closely with parents, schools and businesses to collaborate and encourage the integration of technology into every classroom."

Last month, the BCS: Chartered Institute for IT said (http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/careers/3250489/bcs-warns-of-serious-problems-in-school-it-tuition/) the government's national curriculum review would be a key opportunity to tackle what it sees as major issues with the way computing is taught in schools.

The Institute believes there is a "serious problem" with the way young people are taught about IT and is calling on the government to address the issue.
Bill Mitchell, director of the BCS Academy of Computing, warned that there was "plenty of anecdotal evidence that suggests the ICT GCSE is sometimes used as a soft option that will help a school climb the league tables".

Mitchell said "the majority of students leave school actively disliking what they mistakenly believe to be computing"

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  • Root ICT is indeed a useless course This should be broken up into1 basic IT training eg word processors spreadsheets databases basic typing skills email client usage and use of webftpusenet2 Formal computer science - a fundemental understanding of computer amp software engineering2 will obviously have academic credibility No one should come out of school without having competency in 1
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