Study Says Educators Want Schools to Better Prepare Students for the Workplace

  • Administrators, teachers, students and parents call for more emphasis on collaboration skills and problem-solving to meet employers' needs
  • Teaching of "soft skills" engages learners – encouraging them to take ownership of their education
  • Study calls for more and improved professional development for teachers

CALGARY, April 9, 2015 /CNW/ - A recent study by Wainhouse Research, sponsored by SMART Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SMT) (TSX: SMA), shows the education community wants much more emphasis on skills such as collaboration and problem-solving so students are better prepared for the workplace. The study says while schools are doing a good job on reading, writing and arithmetic, they are falling short when it comes to the type of skills employers want from graduates.

Wainhouse Research surveyed more than 1,000 administrators, teachers, parents and students in North America and the United Kingdom and interviewed 22 educational practitioners and thought leaders in North America and Europe. Of those surveyed, 96 percent believe problem-solving is an essential skill, while 95 percent say the ability to collaborate is important – and that both soft skills are needed to prepare learners for work life.

"The study results are clear," says co-author Alan D. Greenberg, Senior Analyst and Partner at Wainhouse Research. "The role of education is to teach students how to learn, foster their enjoyment of learning, and prepare them to enter and thrive in the workforce. Students naturally gravitate toward collaboration in their everyday lives, but they don't get the formal opportunity to develop this skill in school."

"The acquisition of problem-solving and collaboration skills would do more than enhance a student's employability.  It is clear from the study: a focus on those soft skills through both appropriate technology and teacher training would promote active participation among students and encourage them to take ownership of their education," added Greenberg.

The study also shows why respondents believe there is too little emphasis on collaboration and problem-solving. A total of 58 percent of those surveyed believe schools are placing too much emphasis on teaching to mandated tests. In order to change that, many responders say schools should improve Professional Development, offer new methods of assessment, provide greater leadership, and adopt new approaches to teaching.

"Educators have consistently told us that our solutions naturally foster collaboration in the classroom," says Greg Estell, president, Education Solutions, SMART Technologies. "This study places even more emphasis on the importance of soft skills, something we value and build into our classroom technology. SMART amp collaborative software and the SMART kapp® digital capture board are two examples of how we foster intuitive collaborative learning that meets the needs of both educators and students."

To read the full study, click here.

About Wainhouse Research
Wainhouse Research is an independent market research firm that focuses on critical issues in the unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) markets. The company conducts multi-client as well as custom research studies for industry vendors and consults with end users on key implementation issues. The firm also publishes a news blog, white papers and market statistics, and delivers public and private seminars as well as presentations at industry meetings.

About SMART
SMART Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SMT, TSX: SMA) is a world leader in collaboration solutions that are redefining the way the world works and learns. We are an innovator in interactive touch technologies and software that inspire collaboration in both education and businesses around the globe. To learn more, visit smarttech.com.

©2015 SMART Technologies. All third-party product and company names are for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners. To view a list of SMART trademarks please visit our Trademarks and Guidelines page

Please note that SMART is written in all capital letters. 

SOURCE SMART Technologies Inc.

For further information: Laurie Long, Public Relations Manager - Education, SMART Technologies Inc., +1.403.407.5085, LaurieLong@smarttech.com, smarttech.com

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