Special Report
Classroom Technology

What Educators Really Think

By Kevin Bushweller — April 23, 2019 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

One of the things Education Week really enjoys doing at educational-technology conferences is holding special briefings for readers on hot topics in the K-12 world. It’s an opportunity for us to share what we’ve learned over the past year and hear readers’ hopes and frustrations up close and personal.

Those sessions also help us better understand the questions educators are struggling to answer, such as: With all the infusion of digital tools into K-12 schools, why is technology not leading to meaningful innovation in the way teachers teach?

At the SXSWedu conference in Austin this March, I presented a talk on that topic that drew hundreds of educators, ed-tech company executives, and others. At the ASU+GSV education industry summit in San Diego this month, our special briefings with the same focus attracted standing-room-only crowds and triggered some of the most lively Q&A discussions I have ever moderated.

The fact that the topic generates so much engagement shows how hungry people are for insights and information that cut through the hype around the digital revolution. Technology Counts 2019 is designed to feed that hunger, with a nationally representative survey of 700 teachers that essentially shows that, despite the hype, or maybe even because of it, there’s considerable skepticism in the field around the idea that ed-tech innovations will dramatically improve teaching and learning.

The Education Week Research Center survey reveals that the technology ecosystem many teachers experience is one characterized by incremental, rather than transformational, changes. Fewer than 3 in 10 teachers say the classroom technology they have provides “a lot” of support for innovation.

Beyond that, we found plenty of signs that the technologies currently in classrooms are having very little, if any, influence in changing teachers’ practices or beliefs about what teaching and learning should look like in the digital age. They continue to simply layer new technologies on top of their current teaching practices—not exactly innovation at its best.

One big problem appears to be support. Teachers need much better ed-tech training and encouragement to experiment. Until that happens, innovation will remain more idea hype than classroom reality.

—Kevin Bushweller
Executive Project Editor

A version of this article appeared in the April 24, 2019 edition of Education Week as What Educators Really Think


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.
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
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.
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

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

Classroom Technology Video How Pedagogy Can Catch Up to Artificial Intelligence
Educators need to start considering how AI's capabilities should change what students learn, experts say.
1 min read
052224 EW LeadSym 406 BS
Chris Ferenzi for Education Week
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center The AI Classroom Hype Is All Wrong, Some Educators Say
Amid all the encouragement to try the technology, there are plenty of educators who don’t plan to start.
1 min read
Illustration of a large, sinking iceberg forming the letters "AI" as a business professional stands on the tip of the iceberg that remains above water with his hands on his hips and looking out into the large sea.
Classroom Technology What Worries District Tech Leaders Most About AI? (It’s Not About Teaching)
A new report from the Consortium for School Networking explores district tech leaders' top priorities and challenges.
3 min read
Motherboard image with large "AI" letters with an animated magnifying glass pans in from the left.
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center How Educators Are Using AI to Do Their Jobs
Educators are slowly experimenting with AI tools in a variety of ways, according to EdWeek Research Center survey data.
2 min read
Tight crop of a white computer keyboard with a cyan blue button labeled "AI"