Education Week | Elisha McNeil | May 20,2016
Ninety-one percent of teachers agree that technology gives them more ability to tailor lessons and homework assignments to the individual needs of each student, but only 16 percent of teachers give their schools an ‘A’ grade for incorporating it into their classrooms, according to a new national survey.
The ‘Teachers’ Dream Classroom Survey,’ sponsored by online education resources provider Edgenuity, was conducted to better understand technology use in the classroom and how it impacts the educational experience. The findings are based on responses to an online survey given in March to a random sample of 400 middle and high school teachers in grades 6 through 12.
“Technology can be an incredible force multiplier for teachers,” said Sari Factor, CEO of Edgenuity, in a statement. “Good teachers are already doing so much to personalize learning for their students. Educators are now beginning to focus on how to integrate technology to improve student outcomes.”
Researchers found that a majority of the teachers surveyed believe technology helps facilitate learning—70 percent feel that it enriches the classroom experience for both students and teachers. Creating more opportunities for research projects, helping students learn through a combination of direct instruction and learning on their own, and being able to personalize learning for each student are the top three ways teachers felt technology improved classroom instruction.
According to the survey, the top three roles teachers felt technology should play in the classroom are providing a variety of learning tools or modalities, making the learning experience more engaging, and differentiating the learning experience.
However, the majority of the survey respondents gave their school a grade lower than an ‘A’ for effectively implementing technology. Fifty-three percent of teachers gave their school a ‘B’ and 31 percent gave their school a ‘C,’ ‘D,’ or ‘F’ grade. Almost half of teachers considered the technology they do have to be outdated.
Despite billions of dollars spent on digital content and an influx of technology into their classrooms, evidence shows that teachers have been slow to integrate technology to transform instruction. Researchers have pointed out that access is no longer the main obstacle, but instead there are now issues like teachers lacking an understanding of how educational technology works, expanding teachers’ knowledge of new technology-driven instructional practices, and school-based factors and problematic policies.
Participants in the ‘Teachers’ Dream Classroom Survey’ indicated insufficient time to incorporate technology as one of their greatest frustrations. Instead of spending 33 percent of their time on administrative tasks such as grading assignments and reviewing what was already taught, survey respondents wished they had time to use technology to focus on helping struggling students, be creative with lesson development, and tailor lessons to students.
“The rush to technology has often been about devices, with less thought given to the instructional purpose for using computers in the classroom,” Factor said. “The combination of talented teachers and high-quality technology, used in the right ways, can create an empowering classroom experience for students and teachers alike.”