What’s driving educators’ enthusiasm for digital learning? The latest Project Tomorrow Speak Up Survey suggests three factors:
- Teachers and administrators are using technology to improve their own productivity. They use mobile devices, online classes and digital content; and this causes them to think creatively about using these same tools in the classroom.
- Students (and many parents) are demanding a different kind of learning experience, almost forcing teachers and administrators to reevaluate their ideas of the value of technology within learning.
- The economy and financial pressures on school budgets create a need to investigate how technology can help meet instructional goals with less expense.
The Speak Up Surveys have shown that teachers and administrators realize that students want to be “Enabled, Engaged, and Empowered,” yet there has been hesitancy in using technology to facilitate student learning. District administrators and principals know creating a change in the values and skills of teachers to use digital content is a challenge. These latest findings point to factors that may facilitate, even push, change.
Since 2008 twice as many administrators and teachers have smart phones, and 44% of teachers and 45% of administrators use Facebook. Almost all teachers (96%) and administrators (99%) are tapping into communication tools to connect with peers or parents, but only 36% of teachers use these tools to connect with students. (And students highly value this type of communication.) The following chart shows teachers’ use of technology to facilitate student learning still has a ways to go.
Homework and practice is used most often, with other areas giving mixed results. This suggests for administrators the need for teacher professional development, as well as tools and digital content to facilitate learning in new ways. The use of online professional development may be one area that will assist, and the emergence this year of more and more inexpensive digital devices (tablets) offers administrators a starting point.
Teachers want to be effective in their teaching and researchers indicate the most solid predictor of student success is teacher effectiveness. Getting teachers to report an increase in their effectiveness is a result we all want to strive toward. In 2010, nearly a majority of teachers K-12 report technology helps them be more productive. Sixty-eight percent of new teachers (1-3 years experience) say technology has increased their effectiveness by making them more productive, and 45% of these newest teachers say technology enables them to create more interactive lessons. These are all positive indicators as we move toward facilitating student learning using technology.
This look inside today’s classroom is just one part of Speak Up’s report: The New 3 E’s of Education: Enabled, Engaged, Empowered—How Today’s Educators are Advancing a New vision for Teaching and Learning. Other key trends: Mobile Learning, Online and Blended Learning, and Digital Content are presented with interesting statistics to help administrators move forward toward a “new vision for learning.”