Education From Our Research Center

Do Teachers Feel Ready For All-Digital Instruction?

By Alyson Klein — August 18, 2020 2 min read
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Covid-19 has reshaped just about every aspect of K-12 learning. So do teachers feel like they have gotten the professional development and resources necessary to operate remotely in this unprecedented environment?

Short answer: It’s a mixed bag, according to an Education Week survey of district leaders, principals and teachers conducted back in July.

Just 8 percent of educators said that the remote instruction provided by their district or school was “very effective.” Another 46 percent said it was “somewhat effective.” Twenty-six percent said it was “somewhat ineffective” and one fifth of educators said it was “very ineffective.”

Educators were also asked what percentage of their district colleagues could teach effectively online. Just 11 percent expected everyone could, while 36 percent guessed that somewhere between 76 percent and 99 percent of their colleagues would be able to offer quality online instruction. Another 29 percent estimated that the number was closer to 50 percent to 75 percent. And 10 percent expected that only a quarter—or less—of their colleagues could teach effectively online.

What’s more, two thirds of teachers said they need more tech training and that students need better home internet access. Nearly half of educators said that teachers also needed improved home access. Forty percent suggested that students needed more devices. Another 35 percent thought students needed “better” or “newer” devices. And more than a fifth—21 percent—indicated that their district’s tech teams needed more training.

On the plus side, educators say they’ve gotten at least some professional development in areas critical to making virtual education work. For instance, 63 percent said they got help with posting digital materials. And a little more than half—51 percent—said they received instruction in how to organize group learning with video conference tools.

But fewer educators—just 17 percent—have gotten help with pacing lessons in a digital learning environment. And less than half—46 percent—have gotten instruction on how to maintain social and emotional learning and connect with students virtually.

Districts are also taking a range of steps to make sure students have access to home technology. For example, 71 percent of educators who participated in the survey said their districts gave out Chromebooks students can use at home. And just over half of the educators surveyed said the district had handed out internet hot spots to students for home use. Only 1 percent had doled out laptops.

The survey was administered to 1,366 educators (242 district leaders, 251 principals, and 873 teachers) on July 22 and 23.

For more, check out this story on the full survey.

Image: Getty

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.