Almost all teachers believe technology in the classroom enhances student learning, but far fewer are able to incorporate it as much as they’d like. That’s not speculation: a PBS national survey several years ago revealed that of the 91 percent of educators with access to computers in the classroom, “only one-in-five (22%) say they have the right level of technology.” More than half cited budgetary limitations as the greatest barrier to implementing technology in their classrooms—a sentiment echoed to this day in the 2018 Kahoot EdTrends Report, which also found that lack of funding for EdTech topped the list.
Challenges in low-income communities
The numbers are high enough on average, but teachers in low-income communities are even more likely to refer to budgets as an obstacle, at 70 percent. Schools in these communities also tend to have less support from parents and school boards to provide classroom tools, exacerbating the problem further: 14 percent of teachers report support from parents, and 21 percent from school boards. The comparative figure in affluent communities is 38 percent from each.
The difference is striking, and the implications are not to be lost in the statistics. According to Kahoot, “data-driven instruction and intervention” is by far the most identifiable trend in EdTech, followed by “tools that promote creativity in learning.” Educational technologies that support these pillars help teachers adjust lessons to suit students’ needs and design courses that prepare them for a technology-driven life beyond the classroom. Schools that can’t invest in such resources must work with what they have while others can advance more quickly.
This is not to suggest that schools without the latest educational technologies are doomed. In fact, the second-biggest challenge to implementing EdTech was found to be lack of training. If every school were suddenly thrown into the deep end, the lifeguards would need to be ready. Still, teachers recognize the potential that these tools have. According to Rob Lippincott, senior vice president of PBS Education, “We’ve seen broadening adoption and deeper integration of digital media […] with teachers enthusiastic about the power of new technologies to foster learning.”
No matter the budget, teachers see technology as a must-have feature of today’s classroom.
Image via Pixabay.