Industry Trends

Report: Educator Confidence in Technology Increasing

Teachers still want more resources and professional development to implement tech in their classrooms.


Sixty-five percent of educators expressed confidence in using digital technology in their classrooms, a 7 percent increase over last year, according to a recent survey commissioned by education and publishing company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH).

While 98 percent of educators reported using digital materials in their work, teachers still said there was room for improvement in implementing technology in class. Lack of funding continues to be a significant concern among educators (58 percent in 2017). Forty-six percent said they lack time “to plan for implementation of digital resources into instruction,” according to a news release; 40 percent said there was a shortage of devices in the classroom; and 48 percent of educators said they lacked “access to technology-focused professional development” (PD).

Nonetheless, there were some bright spots:

  • 43 percent said they were collaborating with colleagues to develop engaging and effective instruction for students;
  • 38 percent said they had access to new open source curriculum materials, such as Khan Academy, TED Talks and TeacherTube;
  • 37 percent said they were actually using data to inform and improve instruction instead of just collecting data; and
  • 37 percent said there were more opportunities for real-world application in curriculum and assessment.

“Technology's impact on K–12 classrooms continues to accelerate,” said Rose Else-Mitchell, executive vice president of professional services at HMH, in a prepared statement. “Although educators have increased confidence in their ability to implement digital resources and tools, the HMH ‘2017 Educator Confidence Report’ reveals they are still searching for opportunities to deepen their competencies, especially around the use of formative data, to enhance blended teaching and learning.”

This is the third administration of the survey, this year titled, “2017 Educator Confidence Report: Setting the Stage for the Digital Age.” Conducted by education research firm MDR, the survey collected responses online from 1,217 educators in all 50 states. Of those surveyed, 79 percent were classroom teachers and 21 percent were administrators, which included principals, superintendents, curriculum heads and chief technology and information officers.

Among respondents, the amount of educator experience was pretty evenly split: 33 percent said they had less than one year to 10 years of experience; 35 percent had between 11 and 20 years of experience; and 32 percent had more than 20 years of experience.

The responses varied according to experience, and were sometimes surprising and seemingly contradictory:

  • Teachers with 11 or more years of experience reported using digital tools with greater frequency in the classroom than those with 10 years or less of experience;
  • 62 percent of educators with 11 or more years of experience reported using videos from instructional resources and open sources, compared to only 43 percent of teachers with 10 years or less of experience;
  • Teachers of all experience levels reported using social media at similar rates to engage students and interact with families;
  • Teachers with the most years of experience (20 or more) reported being the least confident in using digital technology (54 percent); and
  • More than 76 percent of educators with 10 years or less of experience reported feeling confident in using digital technology.

Here are some other findings from the 2017 Educator Confidence Report:

  • 86 percent of educators reported spending their own money on professional development;
  • More than a third of teachers (34 percent) said they spent $500 or more on a variety of different professional services;
  • Educators rely on PD to learn how to use technology in ways that make a difference. Almost a third of teachers (31 percent) reported that a lack of PD focused on integrating technology into classroom instruction effectively was a major concern;
  • 48 percent of teachers reported that classroom coaching was one of the services most beneficial toward helping them use education technology more effectively;
  • Teachers with more than 20 years of experience expressed the strongest desire for PD focused specifically on effective use of technology;
  • 55 percent of teachers expressed a desire for more family engagement, compared to 39 percent of school administrators and 41 percent of district administrators; and
  • 55 percent of educators said they use digital communication tools — especially social media — to engage with parents and families.

To read the entire report, visit this site, which requires some personal information (name, e-mail address, title) to be submitted.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].