- The 2016 Technology Counts survey from Education Week finds teachers are more comfortable with technology than ever, but they aren't using it in especially innovative ways.
- EdTech magazine reports more than half of teacher respondents in the survey said they feel comfortable using new technologies at school, and 24% consider themselves to be risk takers in trying new technology. But most teachers who use technology in the classroom do so for drills, review and practice exercises, and 22% said they had never used technology for collaborative activities in the classroom.
- Half of teachers confident about technology in high-income districts had their students use computers daily while only 17% of similar teachers in low-income districts did the same, sometimes because of tech availability, lack of teacher training or curricular demands from administrators.
The Digital Divide is alive and well in the nation's schools. E-Rate funding has supported districts with installation of high-speed internet and, increasingly, wireless access points, but it does not give schools money to buy devices for students who can't bring their own. Even once schools have the technology, there is a gap in how teachers are using it. Teachers in low-income districts are even less likely to use laptops or tablets for engaging, interactive work. They often provide digital versions of worksheets that could be done on paper to the same effect.
Now the Obama administration is calling for a closing of the "digital use" divide. For education to be the great equalizer, students in wealthy and poor districts need educational opportunities that more closely resemble each other. Yet 33% of Technology Counts respondents said lack of training was a very significant barrier to tech use in the classroom, lower only than too few digital learning devices. The challenge is for administrators to find ways to offer high-quality professional learning opportunities for teachers.