Data Dive: Devices and Software Flooding Into Classrooms

Students have access to more ed tech than ever, but teachers remain untrained and students aren't using tech creatively.

Data Dive: Devices and Software Flooding Into Classrooms

More access hasn’t meant better use
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Public schools have more classroom technology and faster internet connections than ever before, and teachers and students alike report using the digital tools at their disposal more frequently than in years past.

But a new analysis of the National Assessment of Educational Progress survey data by the Education Week Research Center highlights two troubling trends:

Despite the promise of building "21st century skills," such as creativity and problem-solving, students report using computers in school most often for activities that involve rote practice.

And even as their classrooms have been inundated with new devices and software, the percent of students with teachers who say they’ve received training on how to effectively use such technology has remained flat, with a persistent divide between high- and low-poverty schools.

"There are aspects of technology I’m incredibly excited about, but there are aspects that are disconcerting," said Richard Culatta, the CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education. "One of my big concerns is that we are simply digitizing what we have always done. That’s not collaborative or empowering students."

More data from Technology Counts:
State Data: How Do Students Actually Use Classroom Computers?
Data: How Does Teacher Tech Training Compare Across States?

Correction: An earlier version of this article included inaccurate phrasing regarding the findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Data extracted from NAEP show the percentage of students.


Far More Schools Have High-Speed Internet Connections

In 2016, 88 percent of the nation’s school districts met the FCC’s minimum internet-connectivity target of 100 kbps per student. That’s up from just 30 percent of districts in 2013. But there are still geographic disparities: In five states, all districts meet federal connectivity targets. In Florida and Maryland, fewer than 60 percent of districts meet the FCC target.

SOURCE: EducationSuperHighway, 2017

Mobile Devices Are Flooding K-12 Classrooms

The number of laptops, tablets, netbooks, and Chromebooks shipped annually to U.S. K-12 schools grew by 363 percent over the past seven years, from just over 3 million devices in 2010 to almost 14 million this year. The growth is expected to continue.

Note: Mobile PCs refers to notebooks, netbooks, chromebooks, and tablets, not desktop computers. Data represent sales to K-12 institutions and do not reflect personal devices that students bring from home.

SOURCE: Futuresource Consulting, 2017

Classroom Use

More Students Use Computers in the Classroom

The percentage of both 4th and 8th grade students who report using a computer in math class at least once every few weeks has increased steadily over the past decade.

SOURCE: National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2009-2015

'Passive' Use of Classroom Computers Has Become More Common, Not Less

The nation’s 4th graders report using classroom computers for rote activities, such as practicing and drilling math concepts, far more frequently than for activities that require critical thinking, such as making charts and graphs. The gap between active and passive use has grown over time.

SOURCE: National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2009-2015

Teacher Training

Professional Development for Technology Integration Has Remained Flat

In 2015, just 61 percent of 4th graders had reading teachers who said that they had received training on how to integrate technology into their classroom instruction. That’s slightly lower than six years earlier.

SOURCE: National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2009-2015

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