IT Management

Educators Cite Research to Shift Ed-Tech Focus From ‘Why?’ to ‘How?’

By Ian Quillen & Katie Ash — July 12, 2011 4 min read

As Chris Lehmann closed the recent International Society for Technology in Education’s annual conference, he implored the audience at his keynote address here to redraw the educational technology battle lines.

“No one is arguing we shouldn’t use technology in education anymore,” said Mr. Lehmann, the founding principal of Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy, a public high school devoted to inquiry-based, project-driven learning. “The question is how.”

The call for redefining debate echoed throughout the formal sessions at the conference last month and at informal events at nearby hotels, restaurants, and bars, and even in casual conversations among the more than 20,000 estimated attendees. And, perhaps more important, it was expressed in data released by Project Tomorrow, the Software and Information Industry Association, and technology company CDW-G.

The latest research by Project Tomorrow, an Irvine, Calif.-based nonprofit group, came in the annual online-learning-trends report as part of its Speak Up ed-tech study, which surveys nearly 400,000 students, educators, and parents. It suggests school districts are becoming more sophisticated in their approach to implementing online education but are still struggling to meet the increasing need and desire of students to learn online.

Among its findings, the “Learning in the 21st Century: 2011 Trends Update” says that two in five students believe online classes are an essential component of education and that administrators’ concerns about funding online courses are fading, while concerns about course quality are rising.

Teacher-Student Disconnect

But while the proportion of high school students who had taken an online course as of last fall tripled from fall 2008, from 10 percent to 30 percent, only about 26 percent of teachers surveyed expressed interest in diving into online teaching if they hadn’t already done so.

“From the Speak Up data, what we’re seeing is a disconnect” between students and educators, said Julie Evans, the president of Project Tomorrow. “We’ve got a challenge here in terms of meeting those expectations.”

Live from ISTE 2011

Education Week‘s Digital Education bloggers attended the International Society for Technology in Education’s conference and reported on the news and discussions that emerged. Read their coverage:

Putting Journalism in the Hands of Students
Good News, Bad News on E-Rate
Expanding PD on a Shoestring Budget
ISTE 2011 Wrap: By the Students, For the Students

Read more posts on ISTE 2011 >

There also appear to be different perceptions about online learning within subgroups of students and educators, especially administrators. For example, district-level administrators were found to be more supportive of online learning than on-campus principals were.

“The district-level superintendents or administrators are much more visionary thinking [about] what the long-term implications are,” Ms. Evans said. “Principals are more narrowly focused on living right now, today, and dealing with today’s issues.”

Meanwhile, data released by the Washington-based Software and Information Industry Association, and the Vernon Hills, Ill.-based CDW-G showed that the bar for educational technology goals appears to be always moving.

According to Karen Billings, the vice president of the SIIA’s education division, the release of preliminary findings from the 2011 edition of its SIIA’s “Vision K-20 Survey” show that educators don’t feel as if they are keeping up with technology, even if their actions would appear to show otherwise.

“What [the findings] tell me is that because this is such a dynamic world out there, the end point keeps moving out on them,” Ms. Billings said at a press briefing. “The more they do, the more they’re aware of how much more they should be doing.”

After analyzing the self-evaluation by the first 273 respondents—all but seven of whom were from K-12 schools or districts—the composite-score rating that samples technology integration on a scale of 1 to 100 was 60, 2 points below last year’s final score. Participants answered 20 multiple-choice questions indicating a school’s or district’s progress toward the SIIA’s seven Vision K-20 goals, and five measures of progress. Ms. Billings predicted that the final overall score, to be released July 26 with the final report, would edge up slightly as more results were evaluated.

Perception Gap

Meanwhile, CDW-G’s report shed some light on just how and where that bar appears to be moving by examining how students, teachers, and information technology administrators define the concept of a “21st-century classroom.”

According to this year’s report, wireless Internet, an interactive whiteboard, and digital content are all part of that concept, a leap in technology and specificity from the 2010 study. That version defined any Internet connection, teacher computing device, and LCD projector as characteristics of a modern classroom.

The survey also pointed to a gap in perceptions between the school and district levels. While 64 percent of it administrators rated their districts’ technology as “cutting edge,” only 45 percent of faculty members and 39 percent of students reported being satisfied with their classroom technology.

A version of this article appeared in the July 13, 2011 edition of Education Week as Educators Cite Research to Shift Ed-Tech Focus From ‘Why’ to ‘How’

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Meeting the Moment: Accelerating Equitable Recovery and Transformative Change
Educators are deciding how best to re-establish routines such as everyday attendance, rebuild the relationships for resilient school communities, and center teaching and learning to consciously prioritize protecting the health and overall well-being of students
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

IT Management From Our Research Center 'Is This Going to Piss People Off?' How to Make Tough Tech Decisions
The reopening of schools carries with it a host of technology decisions that could have an outsized impact on students' and teachers' lives.
9 min read
In this file photo from September 2020, Kristen Giuliano, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Dodd Middle School in Cheshire, Conn., assists Jane Wood, 11, during a hybrid class session.
Kristen Giuliano, a 7th grade social studies teacher at Dodd Middle School in Cheshire, Conn., assists Jane Wood, 11, during a hybrid class session in September 2020.
Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP
IT Management From Our Research Center Don't Buy 'Stupid Stuff:' Essential Advice for Technology Purchasing
School districts have more digital devices on their hands than ever before. Here's what they can do to get the biggest bang for their buck.
8 min read
RESET 4 TechFunding lead Image 1156179329
Alan Yrok/iStock
IT Management Download How to Make the Best Tech Decisions for Schools: A Downloadable Guide
Identify gaps, assess available solutions, solicit input from end users, and test drive new products, services, or approaches.
1 min read
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Management Whitepaper
EdTech as a Service - How schools buy technology is as important as what they buy
EdTech as a Service is a new approach to keeping schools consistently equipped with the most current tech and all of the support/training that teachers deserve.
Content provided by OneScreen