Teacher use of technology

I’ve been reading a report out from The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University titled Educators, Technology and 21st Century Skills: Dispelling Five Myths which was released by  during the International Society for Technology in Education annual conference and exposition (formerly known as NECC) in Denver.

The study involved a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. K–12 teachers, principals and assistant principals, and addresses five myths about technology use in education—particularly by teachers—and educators’ perceptions about the effects of technology use on student learning, behaviors and skills.

The key message of the survey findings is that teachers’ technology habits make a difference in their perceptions of student outcomes – reinforcing a strongly held belief of mine that teacher modelling is essential in terms of developing effective practices with ICT in education. We can’t simply introduce technologies and hope that the students will make good use of it, nor can we expect that programmes based on old transmissive pedagogies are sufficient, where teachers take the role of expert who imparts knowledge and instructs. Teacher use of the technology must be explicitly modelled – it must be a part of their everyday practice and discourse. Teachers have a vital role to play at the intersection of technology and 21st century expertise—modeling their confidence with technology, guiding young minds toward constructive educational purposes, and teaching students the tried and new skills for college and career readiness in a competitive world.

The five ‘myths’ that are explored in the report are:

  • Myth 1 – Teachers who are newer to the profession and teachers who have greater access to technology are more likely to use technology frequently for instruction than other teachers.
  • Myth 2 – Only high-achieving students benefit from using technology.
  • Myth 3 – Given that students today are comfortable with technology, teachers’ use of technology is less important to student learning.
  • Myth 4 – Teachers and administrators have shared understandings about classroom technology use and 21st Century skills.
  • Myth 5 – Teachers feel well prepared by their initial teacher preparation programs to effectively incorporate technology into classroom instruction and to foster 21st century skills

Key findings of the report include:

  • Teachers who use technology frequently report greater benefits to student learning, engagement and skills from technology than teachers who spend less time using technology to support learning.
  • Teachers who completed their initial certification or licensure since 2000 do not believe their pre-service programs taught them how to teach 21st century skills or how to effectively incorporate technology into instruction.
  • There is little association between a teacher’s years of experience and the frequency of technology use in the classroom.

PDF version of the report can be downloaded here.

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