Ed Tech Trends

Personalized Learning Top Priority for Tech Usage in K–12

Personalized Learning Top Priority for Tech Usage in K–12 

The top learning priority in education for technology use is personalized learning. More than nine in 10 respondents to a survey on the topic reported that in the pursuit of encouraging personalized learning their districts 1) provide software or digital curriculum to classrooms (designated by 96 percent of participants); 2) provide computing devices to classrooms (94 percent); and 3) provide professional development in personalized learning practices (92 percent). Two-thirds of districts (65 percent) also assess teachers on their implementation of personalized learning practices.

Those results come from a survey conducted by the Center for Digital Education (CDE), which does this particular study every year. CDE invites public school districts nationwide. This year's survey drew responses from 120 school districts in 24 states. Results were fielded between November 2017 and January 2018.

The top priorities haven't shifted between the previous year and this year. While personalized learning topped the list, that was followed in rank order by:

  • Digital content and curriculum;
  • Professional development and skills training; and
  • Mobility.

Concern over student data and privacy is inching up, moving from eighth place in the previous survey to sixth place this year. What's dropped is upgrading of the network (moving from fifth place to seventh), online testing (from sixth place to ninth) and Common Core and state standards (from seventh place to eighth).

Training and professional development on technology tackles multiple goals, according to the results of the survey. The most prevalent are the integration of tech into curriculum and instructional practices (mentioned by 98 percent of respondents), how to use hardware and software (96 percent), how to perform administrative functions such as attendance (93 percent) and how to get online and on-demand access (90 percent).

Also, more than three-quarters of districts (77 percent) reported that they allow students to take fully online classes for credit. A similar number (76 percent) offer blended classes in core content areas. Half of respondents said their districts have plans to deliver content online.

In spite of the emphasis on embedding coding instruction in learning, it's less common than one might expect. Just 41 percent of districts make coding classes available to all students; another 52 percent make it available in some schools; 9 percent work with a non-district entity to provide free coding classes.

The complete report is available with registration through the CDE website.

About the Author

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