Visitors to BETT 2009, London’s educational technology show, gave a thumbs-up to handheld learning according to a survey commissioned by mobile phone provider 02.

Teachers, lecturers and support staff were asked a number of questions including how they rated technology’s role in increasing student concentration and achievement, improving teachers’ skills and knowledge and encouraging greater family involvement in children’s learning. Of the 200 who took part, 50 per cent said portable computers such as PDAs and handheld PCs would make the biggest impact on future teaching and learning.

Eighty five per cent said they use some form of technology every day, and the most used technology was the PC (used by 91 per cent) - 70 per cent used mobile phones and 47 per cent used laptops. The availability and use of Wi-Fi (24 per cent) and interactive whiteboards (22 per cent) are also seen as key tools in education over the coming years.”

“These results are encouraging as we see education as a key market for the development of our products and services," said O2 business sales director Ben Dowd... O2 already has a proven track record in this sector with our ‘Learning on the Go’ initiative. We are in an excellent position to deliver the solutions that education professionals recognise as critical to the future success and progression of educational services.”

Another survey at BETT 2009 - by Pearson Phoenix - revealed that nearly half of the teachers spoken to felt that there should be better compatibility between the computer systems in schools. They confirmed that "interoperability" (what a word!) was the most important factor to think about when considering a new management information system (MIS).

Of the 100 teachers surveyed, 37 per cent thought reporting was the most important part of MIS, while administration topped the priority list of just 18 per cent. So the message to suppliers is to make systems talk to each other.

“Creating a network of systems that can talk to each other without manual intervention has been a goal within education for a number of years," said Roger Plant, education systems director with Pearson Phoenix. "The private sector has seen great success in similar areas  and education should be no different.”

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