Just how do teachers feel about technology?
The vast majority use it--but still wary, according to a four-page report, “Technology and Effective Teaching," released in April 2012 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Here's a downloadable version.)
Based on a survey of 400 teachers from across the U.S., the report found that 67% of teachers use technology in every class and 85% use it every day. Their goals are clear--to help their students learn--but they remain skeptical “because there is little, widely accepted proof that technology tools provide real value for student learning.”
Sixty-nine percent of the teacher surveyed say the biggest barrier to using technology is access to computers. Here were all the factors that teachers say slow their adoption and use of technology:
Many of those teachers not using technology feel they are making a strong statement: while only 20% of the teachers interviewed said they felt technology should not be used in the classroom, 15% “strongly agreed” with the statement.
Technology "fatigue" is also besetting teachers, noted the report.
Teachers choose to use technology so as to help their students; they believe can help bolster engagement and find richer context for the studies at hand. But teachers are savvy enough to recognize that technology offers no quick solutions: thoughtful design combined with enough time to learn to use the products effectively is essential if emerging technologies are going to make a difference in students lives.
69% Access to computers
62% Personal comfort level
52% Time for planning
49% Students’ access at home
48% Lack of training
48% Knowledge of effective software programs
35% Students’ abilities
27% Union and school rules
The teachers also sent a loud message to edtech developers: pay closer attention to what teachers need. Too frequently, technology companies seem blind to the issues that teachers confront daily, starting with the challenge of balancing the demands on their time, the lack of resources and the needs of students.