3 Hurdles to Educators Implementing Technology Tools

Teachers value technology tools to boost student engagement in the classroom, but they do not see evidence in technology enhancing the quality of student work, deepening student collaborations or students' skill development, according to a report from Project Tomorrow.

The national briefing paper identifies three "pre-existing conditions" that contribute to how educators implement different kinds of technology tools in their classrooms:

  • Educators were most likely introduced to technology for entertainment and personal social media use. These experiences "overlaid personal beliefs on the use of technology in the classroom."
  • Most of the training and professional development has focused on mechanics of how to use different technology tools rather than helping teachers integrate digital content and resources into their curricula. This focus "has obscured teachers' abilities to create their own value propositions around the use of technology beyond compliance."
  • Many school districts have focused too soon on the implementation process rather than re-engineering instructional practices. Teachers need more time to assimilate digital learning tools thoroughly in their classrooms.

The report is a survey of over 343,500 students, parents, teachers and administrators conducted by Project Tomorrow's Speak Up Research Initiative during the 2018-2019 school year.  The paper also explores how schools and educators are actively using technology tools in their classrooms and concerns over student access to digital tools outside the classroom.

Middle school students value digital learning tools in ways that differ from their teachers. Those students think technology can help them creatively develop skills, gain knowledge to solve practical problems and learn their own pace.

Only 41 percent of middle school students and 35 percent of high school students identify engagement with learning as an outcome that they associate strongly with the use of technology.

The full report can be found on Project Tomorrow's website.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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