The European Commission has conducted its latest survey of ICT equipment in schools and found some encouraging improvements in the number and variety of computing devices available to students. The headline figure is that there are now twice as many PCs in European classrooms as there were in 2006, the last time this Europe-wide investigation had been done, however the distribution of these machines has left a lot to be desired. The EC report states that roughly 20 percent of students at grades 8 and 11 "never or almost never use a computer during lessons."

Scandinavian nations like Norway, Denmark, and Sweden are able to provide computing equipment to almost every single student and teacher within their borders, whereas less well-off nations like Cyprus and Greece struggle to do the same in a third of their schools.

Debt-ridden Cyprus and Greece are among the most underequipped nations

The survey also found that laptops, tablets and netbooks are taking over from the traditional desktop in many schools, mirroring the trend that has been ongoing in the personal computing space. Once again, however, the Scandinavians are leading the way, with fewer than 10 students per internet-connected laptop, while Eastern Europe lags behind (Romania has over 500 Grade 4 students per available laptop).

There's a more consistent pattern to students' use of personal technology, with many of them reporting regular use of their mobile phones in assisting their studies. The European Commission looks upon this as an opportunity that should be "harnessed," though it will also seek to redress the present unevenness in access to technology in schools. This will be done through ongoing efforts such as the Rethinking Education strategy and "Opening up Education" consultation.