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New research highlights benefits of IoT and connected tech in Scottish education, and the demand for greater nationwide connectivity.

More than eight in 10 (85 per cent) Scottish citizens believe the internet of things (IoT) and digital technologies will enhance education in Scotland, according to new research commissioned by Capita’s Technology Solutions division on behalf of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN).

The research explores the attitudes of Scottish citizens towards increasing the use of digital technologies and IoT in education. Overall, the research shows the majority of Scottish citizens see benefits to introducing new technologies in education – particularly in enhancing learning for students with disabilities and additional support needs (91 per cent), and connecting and improving attainment for students living in remote and rural areas (92 per cent).

“We’re seeing new technologies developing all the time which can help build smart classrooms and campuses across Scotland,” said Jack Anderson, Head of Digital & Innovation for SWAN at Capita. “Ultimately, these technologies can be an advantage to every student in Scotland. This is particularly true when it comes to ensuring equal access to education – especially for those in remote and rural areas – and helping them prepare for a tech-driven future. We’re seeing a lot of government investment into high-speed internet across Scotland – especially for the one in five of households that remain unconnected. We now need to make sure citizens across these remote and rural regions are aware of the possibilities that come with the right infrastructure and reliable connectivity.”

Citizens call for more technology

Digital channels have the potential to bridge gaps between education providers and students. The research shows 84 per cent of Scottish citizens think schools and universities should provide more remote and distance learning services. Students can be dispersed across large geographical areas including islands, and with the shortage of teachers in rural areas, distance and remote learning services are particularly important for Scotland. The use of digital channels can help ensure attainment in rural areas matches that in cities, where access to education services is more straightforward. The University of the Highlands and Islands (Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean), for example, uses video technology owned and operated by Ajenta, a SWAN partner, to deliver educational courses across 70 learning centres.

“We are already seeing the benefits of digital technology in education – the SWAN network has allowed us to deliver courses to anywhere in the world via distance learning,” said Jem Taylor, Head of Strategy and Development in the University of the Highlands and Islands’ learning and information services department. 

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