Are Schools Reinforcing Technology Use Among Students?

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A number of recent reports have focused on the shortcomings of schools in adopting technology and encouraging its use for educational purposes among students. Nevertheless, according to a new report, large numbers of schools are, in some ways, taking technology to heart, integrating it into classroom activities and encouraging its use outside of school.

According to new research by Grunwald Associates, the vast majority of teachers are assigning homework that involves the use of the Internet. The study polled 1,436 K-12 teachers and librarian/media specialists and found that 77 percent of teachers reported that their schools do assign homework with an Internet component.

Further, at all grade levels, students are also being engaged with digital media production. Twenty-four percent of elementary schools report that their students produce their own videos as part of their schoolwork, with those percentages increasing at each level of education: 43 percent of middle schools and 60 percent of high schools.

"We are experiencing a sea-change in the extent to which teachers are employing mainstream technology by integrating new tools in their classrooms. At the same time, schools are reinforcing positive use of technology outside of school, by recommending and assigning homework that requires Internet use. Students are also learning technology skills in the classroom such as video production, which empowers them to be creators--not just consumers--of media," said Peter Grunwald, president and founder of Grunwald Associates, in a statement released Friday. "Access to and use of the Internet and a wide range of technologies and applications are increasingly required for student academic success."

The study was commissioned by Cable in the Classroom, the education foundation for the cable industry that, among other things, provides resources to teachers on media literacy, digital ethics, 21st century skills, and other technology issues. CIC's senior education policy director, Douglas Levin, said that this new research indicates both an increased willingness on the part of teachers to embrace technology and a need to help foster media literacy.

"With evidence that teachers are embracing new and emerging technologies for learning, there is both an opportunity and increasing responsibility to more widely foster 21st century skills, including especially media literacy," Levin said in a prepared statement. "Indeed, educators recognize the need to increase the in-school emphasis on media literacy as a way to help students think critically about traditional and new media, including on the Internet and in video production."

Further information, including additional media literacy resources focused on K-12 education, can be found at CIC's site here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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