Most ed-tech experts agree on this point: Professional development to help educators use technology to improve schools is not nearly as good as it could be. It still relies heavily on one-time, “dog-and-pony show” events with little or no follow-up training; it does not show teachers how to be critical evaluators of ed-tech products and services; and it’s not personalized to the individual needs of classroom teachers.
Consider, for instance, that a July survey of teachers, principals, and district leaders by the EdWeek Research Center found that nearly half of educators—48 percent—said the training they or their teachers receive to use educational technology tools was mediocre or poor. More than half said the ed-tech professional development experiences educators participate in are mostly one-time events with little or no follow-up coaching or training. And 7 of every 10 said the training educators receive to evaluate ed-tech products is mediocre, poor, or nonexistent.
But the glass for ed-tech PD may be half full as well as half empty—there are reasons to think that things are heading in a better direction. During the pandemic, important lessons were learned about how to deliver technology training in ways best suited for teachers, principals, and district leaders. And 46 percent of those surveyed in July said the ed-tech PD educators receive is “excellent.”
The following charts—based on a nationally representative EdWeek Research Center survey in July of 1,042 teachers, principals, and district leaders—paint a picture of the problems and opportunities ahead for training educators how to use technology in smarter and more effective ways: