A recently released national survey regarding teachers' use of digital media and technology revealed some interesting (but not necessarily unexpected) trends.
PBS LearningMedia released the findings at the Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC). The survey of K-12 teachers indicated that interactive whiteboards were the most valued technology in the classroom. These large interactive displays serve as a projector for various computer classroom presentations and have virtually replaced the old-fashioned chalkboard in many classrooms.
When it comes to mobile devices, the popularity of Apple iPads and other eReaders and digital tablets is growing, however it is still second to laptops as the most useful mobile classroom technology.
The survey revealed that educators are incorporating more internet-dependent technologies into their daily lesson plans and tend to rely on free and low-cost resources. Often times, teachers will pay for some of the technology resources themselves due to shrinking school budgets. In fact, over 60 percent of those resources fall into the free or teacher-financed category.
Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of teachers cited budget as the biggest barrier to accessing tech in the classroom. In low-income communities, this is an even greater challenge as 70 percent of teachers reported it as the greatest obstacle.
Although most teachers have access to computers in the classroom, only 59% have access to an interactive whiteboard.
As previously mentioned, laptops are still favored as the mobile technology of choice in the classroom. When asked to rank the importance of various mobile technologies on a ten point scale (1 being least important and 10 being most important) 80 percent of teachers rated laptops at an 8 or above. Fifty-three percent rated digital tables or electronic readers as being very important in the classroom (8 or above ranking). Cell phones ranked the least valued at 11 percent (ranking 8 or above).
One thing that has risen in prominence in the classroom is the use of video. Seventy-six percent of the teachers responding, stream or download TV and video content. That's an increase of 55 percent over a survey completed in 2007.
Photo credit: Scott Chan