School & District Management

Teachers Warming Up To Tech, Study Says

By Katie Ash — May 11, 2011 2 min read
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Twice as many teachers and administrators have a smart phone today than in 2008. The number of teachers with active Facebook accounts has jumped from 11 percent in 2007 to 44 percent in 2010.

These are just two of the many findings in the annual Speak Up report, published by Project Tomorrow, a nonprofit research group in Irvine, Calif.

“The development of a personal value proposition with the technology is propelling educators to think creatively about how to leverage these same tools in the classroom,” said Julie Evans, the chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow. “They see how technology helps them stay organized and connected, be more productive and gain access to teaching and learning resources that were unthinkable just a few
years ago.”

Those attitude shifts were apparent in both teachers and administrators based on the survey data. Seventy-seven percent of teachers thought mobile devices could increase student engagement. Sixty-four percent agreed that they could improve communication between parents, teachers, and students. And 64 percent agreed that mobile devices could improve access to online textbooks.

Meanwhile, there was a marked shift in administrator attitudes from 2007 to 2010. More administrators believe that mobile devices increase student engagement (from 66 percent in 2007 to 84 percent in 2010), extend the learning day (47 percent in 2007 vs. 66 percent in 2010), and personalize learning (30 percent in 2007 compared with 64 percent in 2010.)

However, the biggest obstacles standing in the way of incorporating mobile devices and other technology into the classroom were a lack of teacher knowledge and confidence in implementing those tools and the fear that students will be distracted by them. District administrators and principals also find that funding issues for maintaining the technology infrastructure, as well as finding the money for professional development and technology support are also hurdles to incorporating technology into the classroom.

This report is packed with info. It surveyed 294,399 K-12 students, 42,267 parents, 35,525 teachers, 2,125 librarians, 3,578 school/district administrators and 1,391 technology leaders representing 6,541 public and private schools from 1,340 districts. There’s a lot to take in, so set aside a chunk of time before diving into exactly what today’s teachers and administrators think about technology.

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