Education’s digital future is near, according to a new survey from the digital education company TES Global that says that 96 percent of U.S. teachers now use technology in the classroom. The company published the results during SXSWedu, a major education conference held in Austin, Texas.
In addition to 1,000 U.S. teachers, TES surveyed more than 2,000 teachers in 25 other countries. Worldwide, the classroom-tech adoption rate was nearly as high, with 94 percent of international respondents saying that technology “plays a significant role in their classroom.”
The survey’s data set, however, is somewhat limited. While the respondents represented all levels and subject areas, they were all users of TES online platforms who were presented with the survey upon logging in, according to Maddie Summa, an associate account executive for Grayling PR. That may have skewed the results, since teachers who use digital services like TES’ arguably have a tech-savvy bent. Also, as a digital education company, TES obviously has a steeped interest in the results of the survey. Nor does the survey define “technology,” although presumably it mean computer-based hardware and software.
This is the first time TES has conducted a survey on the topic.
The teachers surveyed reported using technology for a variety of reasons, with 83 percent of U.S. teachers saying they use tech tools for instruction and 78 percent reporting that they keep in touch with parents using tech-based methods. Sixty-nine percent of U.S. respondents even said that they use “open resources” more often than traditional tools like textbooks.
Even so, there are still some barriers to teachers’ use of tech. Roughly three-fifths of teachers said that they need more devices for their classroom, and a lack of reliable Wi-Fi plagues 35 percent of teachers in the U.S. and 50 percent in the rest of the world.
Interestingly, only 24 percent of U.S. respondents agreed that technology “improves student engagement.” TES frames this finding as positive, but it raises the question of what effect technology is having in the other three-fourths of classrooms, if any.
Other recent surveys have addressed the question of classroom-tech adoption, with most suggesting that while many classrooms have access to technology, there are still significant gaps in integration. In 2012, a PBS LearningMedia report said that 91 percent of teachers had computers in their classroom—but that only one in five had the “right level” of technology.
Similarly, a survey released by the Software & Information Industry Association in June 2014 showed that while three-quarters of K-12 respondents considered technology integration to be important and 66 percent either had or were implementing bring-your-own-device programs, only 22 percent reported that their schools were currently “highly integrated” in terms of technology use.
Image: Lexie Flickinger/Flickr Creative Commons
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.