Most K-12 Teachers in America Would Not Give Themselves an "A" in Educational Technology Skills
Phoenix — Technology continues to reshape the student experience and redefine the way education and learning are delivered in classrooms, but many teachers feel they are leaving opportunity on the table. More than half (55 percent) of K-12 teachers use educational technology in the classroom on a daily basis, with nine in ten saying they do so at least weekly. However, two in five (43 percent) rate themselves average or below average, and only 15 percent of K-12 teachers would give themselves an “A” in educational technology skills1, according to a recent University of Phoenix® College of Education survey conducted online by Harris Poll among 1,005 U.S. K-12 teachers.
It appears educators understand the need to improve their classroom tech savvy, as more than half (51 percent) of K-12 teachers say they want to learn more about integrating technology into the classroom2.
“Teachers are deliberate and thoughtful in their approach to student learning, and with continuing advancements in technology, it can be difficult for districts and teachers to determine the best way to effectively use these tools,” said Kathy Cook, dean of educational technology for University of Phoenix College of Education and former K-12 educator. “The good news is that technology integration has become a substantial component to teacher preparation and continuing education programs for teachers3. Social media has also provided new ways for teachers to share ideas for technology integration in classrooms.”
How Teachers are Using Technology in the Classroom
Nearly eight in ten (78 percent) K-12 teachers have allowed students in their classes to research subjects using the internet. As expected, high school teachers are the most likely to encourage internet research (87 percent), but a substantial proportion (76 percent) of elementary school teachers (1st – 5th grade) have also done so. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of K-12 teachers have used games and simulations to aid learning. Elementary school teachers are the most likely to use this resource with 75 percent doing so.
Technology Resources Available in Today’s Schools
When asked what technology devices are used in today’s K-12 schools, teachers most often cite the following:
- Laptop/Netbook computers (85 percent)
- Interactive white boards (75 percent)
- Tablet computers and/or eReaders (67 percent)
- LCD projectors (58 percent)
- Digital cameras (50 percent)
District or school funding is the main thing that keeps teachers from using more technology in the classroom (39 percent), followed by not being familiar or proficient enough with the tools that exist to properly integrate them into the classroom (27 percent), and not having time to learn about the tools available (21 percent).
“The first step to empowering our teachers to implement technology in the classroom is to focus on the importance of pedagogy and find tools that help support teaching and learning goals,” said Cook. “Learning more about the latest tools and techniques being used to enhance and improve student learning can help teachers become stewards of effective EdTech use. Online resources can empower today’s educators to self-start their digital and EdTech education to supplement school or district-sponsored resources.”
Steps to Help Teachers Leverage EdTech Tools
As technology continues to advance and more ways to use it in the classroom become available, Cook suggests the following steps to stay on top of digital trends.
- Build a foundation. Familiarize yourself with the tools that exist. This will help you build a foundation to understand what devices students are using. Having a starting point can help you innovate ways to bring that technology into your classroom.
- Review technology standards and integration models. As the role of the teacher continues to evolve with technological advancements, it is important to incorporate experiences that are helping students succeed in this environment. A great way to learn more is to familiarize yourself with the ISTE Standards for Teachers and Students, the SAMR Model and the TPACK Model, which help define what today’s teachers need to know to connect with and enable student success in today’s digital landscape.
- Connect with your network. Connect with other teachers within and outside of your district to see what tools they are incorporating for learning. Be proactive in your approach to incorporating technology for learning. For example, when you are working on a specific project, create a plan and outcome, then think about what channels you can use to execute your plan more effectively.
- Be innovative with your resources. For teachers looking to integrate technology into the classroom, be creative with what you use. Digital cameras, interactive white boards and video web tools are a few you can use to get started.
- Continue to learn from the best. Your students have the pulse on the latest advancements in technology. To spur critical thinking in your classrooms, task them with coming up with innovative ways to use tech in and outside of the classroom.
For general information about University of Phoenix programs, including on-time completion rates, the median debt incurred by students who completed the program and other important information, visit www.phoenix.edu/programs/gainful-employment.