- Even though 89% of teachers in a recent poll said they think educational technology improves academic outcomes, only about 14% of teachers use digital curricula on a weekly basis, primarily because they are not comfortable using something that unfamiliar to them, according to a report in District Administration.
- School leaders can help increase teachers' comfort level by demonstrating the importance of using tech: for instance, a report from the Milken Exchange indicated that students using computer-based instruction scored an average of 14 percentile points higher on standardized tests than non-users, learned in less time, and had more positive attitudes about learning.
- School leaders also need to offer continual, personalized professional development opportunities centered on technology, select tech that offers an easy learning curve for teachers and students, and enlist the help of librarians and educational technology specialists in researching and implementing school-wide technology.
Though most district superintendents and school leaders understand the growing importance of educational technology, implementing it in the classroom on a consistent basis can be difficult. It is not enough to buy equipment or tout the fact that schools have access to technology, it has to be used in the classroom on a regular basis for it to be effective.
Though most teachers would like to use technology more, they sometimes avoid it because of fear or inconvenience. If the technology is difficult to request or access or if it often fails, its use may be more trouble to a teacher than it is worth. Teachers usually do not have time to troubleshoot problems during a class, and may fall back into using less technical, but more reliable methods. Teachers may also not be aware of new technology resources or unfamiliar with their implementation in the classroom.
Most school districts have someone on staff who serves in the role of a chief technology officer, even if they do not have that title. Most schools also have media specialists on staff. These professionals can help administrators finding ways to keep technology running and up-to-date. They can also work with teachers to demonstrate new tools and implement them in the classroom in a more productive way. Teachers need to encouragement, professional development and ongoing support so that they feel comfortable with accessing and using technology in the classroom once they understand is benefits.