A new survey conducted by the Micro: bit (MEF) educational foundation shows that women teachers in the UK are more than twice as likely to believe that a lack of subject knowledge is the biggest barrier to learning computing and digital skills.

MEF surveyed 127 primary school teachers who participated in testing their BBC micro: bit devices.

An unbalanced survey suggests that the lack of the right tools and resources is the biggest barrier to learning computer science and digital skills.

Four out of 10 (39%) respondents cited a lack of resources and devices as the biggest barrier to computer science training, but the problem affects more female teachers than men (45% vs. 29%).

Similarly, a third of respondents (34%) cited a lack of resources and tools as the biggest barrier to learning digital skills, but statistically the problem affected female teachers more than men. Four out of 10 female teachers cited the problem, compared with 21% of male teachers.

Lack of teacher knowledge was recognized as the next biggest obstacle to computer science training after inadequate resources and equipment – and, again, female teachers perceived this as a major obstacle (28% vs. 12%). The same trend emerged when asked about digital skills: 30% of female teachers felt that this hindered their teaching, compared to 12% of male teachers.

This is the first wave of research from the organization behind the BBC micro: bit handheld computers, which is the initial phase of a three-part program aimed at understanding the challenges facing primary school teachers and developing ‘skills in their planning and conducting lessons.

Research is needed to support the deployment of micro: bit computers in UK primary schools in the coming years.

The need for effective digital literacy and computer skills training in schools is becoming increasingly important, and last month MEF announced plans to transfer 57,000 micro: bit devices to UK primary schools in a bid to help in the long-term digital skills crisis that has reportedly led to the fact that the UK is losing £ 63 billion in GDP per year.

The study also focused on the broader problem of the very few primary school teachers in the UK who have experience training or qualifications in computer science, but most (3 out of 4) are responsible for teaching computer science in their school, with virtually all teachers either in present – or at some point in his career – learning digital skills / literacy or computer science.

The next phase of research in the program will begin in the fall of 2022, with key considerations to be further explored in the first phase, including “What types of additional training teachers would like to have more, especially for micro: bit but also more broadly for digital skills and computers ? And how can the Foundation better support it? ” and “Addressing Gender – Why Are Teachers Less Confident in Teaching Digital Skills / Computing?”

Read more: Thousands of BBC micro: bit encoding devices will be donated to UK primary schools


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