Teachers who are given the opportunity to be involved in selecting their district’s education technology tools report higher satisfaction with their district’s eventual choices, according to new research from ed tech company Clever.
According to a survey, teachers involved in district ed tech selection are more likely to strongly agree that their district has a sufficient range of tools, that the quality of those tools is high, and that they feel supported in the classroom to use those tools.
Despite schools transitioning from virtual learning back to in-person learning, nearly 90 percent of educators say they are continuing to use at least some of the digital tools they adopted during the pandemic.
In terms of satisfaction with a district’s ed tech tools, administrators were more likely than teachers to agree that the district has high-quality tools and a wide enough array of them. The vast majority (85 percent) of administrators somewhat or strongly agreed that their district has high-quality tools, compared to 68 percent of teachers who said the same. Similarly, 84 percent of administrators somewhat or strongly agreed that their district offers a sufficient range of resources to meet teacher needs, while 70 percent of teachers said the same.
While teachers are generally satisfied with the selection of tools offered by their district (74 percent say they are very or somewhat satisfied), nearly half of teachers (46 percent) say they frequently bring other digital tools into the classroom.
However, the survey did find that administrators are underestimating the amount of time teachers spend looking for new digital resources. Over half of administrators (53 percent) believe teachers spend less than an hour per week looking for new resources, yet a quarter of high school teachers who were surveyed said they spend three or more hours each week doing so.
“We have to remember the importance of letting teachers teach,” said Erick Buenrostro, a digital resource and content specialist at Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso, Texas. “They shouldn’t spend time troubleshooting or learning advanced IT specialist skills. When we include the right people in discussions about purchasing tools, the technology can become so seamless that teachers can focus on the content itself.”
The survey found that teachers are most likely to trust other teachers when it comes to finding new resources. Nearly half (44 percent) of teachers said that other teachers in the district are their most trusted source for identifying new digital tools to use. This was more than double the second-place answer – school or district leadership – which was the most trusted source for just 18 percent of teachers.
One area where teachers and administrators largely agree is the most compelling uses for technology in the classroom.
For teachers, allowing students to work at their own pace was the most exciting reason for using technology, followed by supporting student engagement. Using data from students to understand progress rounded out the top three reasons for teachers. For administrators, supporting student engagement was the most exciting reason, followed by providing new modalities for covering content. Allowing students to work at their own pace came in third, followed by using data to understand progress or mastery.