Technology has played a critical role in sustaining schools during the pandemic: Record numbers of students now have their own school-issued digital devices, educators have become more-critical evaluators of technology tools, and a hard push is underway at the federal, state, and local levels to get all homes connected to high-speed internet.
But making all these developments translate into better use of technology in schools will not be easy.
Using in-depth reporting combined with exclusive EdWeek Research Center survey data from teachers, principals, and district leaders, Education Week’s annual Technology Counts report examines these challenges.
Below is an outline of the tech priorities schools must address now and next school year, with links to helpful resources for how to tackle those challenges.
1. Getting virtual instruction right
Teachers, principals, and district leaders should be thinking hard about how to make remote learning better, especially if they are continuing to offer it even as most students have returned to school buildings. Read the story, here.
2. Connecting SEL and technology
Social media, virtual learning, online gaming, and ubiquitous devices present new social challenges for kids. So, what social-emotional skills do they need to flourish in an increasingly tech-centric world, and are schools teaching them? Learn more, here.
3. Cutting down on excessive screen time
Without even counting digital instruction, the amount of time teenagers and tweens spend staring at computer screens rivals how much time they would spend working at a full- or a part-time job. Educators and children’s health experts alike argue students need more support to prevent the overuse of technology from leading to unhealthy behaviors in the classroom. Read more, here.
4. Protecting student data
Student data privacy encompasses a broad range of considerations, from students’ own smartphones, to classroom applications discovered and embraced by teachers, to district-level data systems, to state testing programs. Here’s why schools are struggling to protect that data.
5. Using artificial intelligence in smart ways
Schools are embracing education technologies that use artificial intelligence for everything from teaching math to optimizing bus routes. But how can educators know if the data and design processes those products rely on have been skewed by racial bias? And what happens if they’re afraid to ask? Learn more here.