Parents Buy into Potential of Ed Tech; Most Don't See Learning Results

While plenty of surveys examine the use of technology in schools from the teacher or student perspective, here's one that looks at the subject from the parents' point of view. The Learning Assembly polled 1,000 K-12 public school parents around the United States on the use of education technology in their students' schools. The bottom line: They're not overly impressed.

Learning Assembly calls itself a "network of education organizations" that works with schools and teachers to implement, assess and research new ed tech. Among the seven members are Citizen Schools, Digital Promise, LEAP Innovations and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.

Survey results showed that while 93 percent of parents believe in the use of tech to tailor student learning, only 33 percent said schools were doing an "excellent" job of using tech for this purpose. Another 41 percent reported that the school was doing a "good" job.

While 87 percent of parents buy into the possibilities of technology to positively influence student learning, just 35 percent among those respondents whose children use devices in school say their children have learned more because of tech.

Also, most parents surveyed said they aren't confident that they understand some of the new concepts permeating schools today. For example, 44 percent said they understood personalized learning as it relates to their child's education. Forty-three percent said they felt the same about competency-based education; and 39 percent said the same for project-based learning. In fact, only three in 10 respondents (31 percent) said they believe they understand what's meant by "21st century skills."

Overall, the survey found, parent views on technology vary based on the "perceived quality" of the tech implementation. Parents reporting that their children's schools are doing an "excellent" job in that regard are two-and-a-half times more likely to report that their children learn more and that their children are more engaged than respondents who report that their schools are doing a "fair" or "poor" job.

"Parents don't see technology as a silver bullet, but the data suggests that they do see a link between smart implementation of technology and the kind of tailored, personalized education that they want and expect for their children," said Phyllis Lockett, CEO of member organization LEAP Innovations, in a prepared statement. "It's absolutely critical that we provide teachers and schools with the training and supports to use technology effectively to create meaningful, personalized learning experiences for every child."

The full results of the survey are available on the Learning Assembly website. An infographic is available here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.