After the COVID-19 pandemic turned traditional classroom learning on its head and sent most to virtual learning, teachers view classroom technology more positively than in the past, an MDR survey found. While the survey indicates growth in adaptation, there are still concerns about the overall tech readiness of schools.

Fifty-four percent of respondents now view classroom tech positively, as 97 percent of them work at schools that enabled distance learning at some point or are currently distance learning, according to the survey. More than 75 percent of survey respondents now say classroom tech is “very useful” or “they could not live without it,” up substantially from the last time this survey was conducted in 2018.

The respondents, with 74 percent of those being classroom teachers, said the primary challenges to distance learning were lack of internet access – 62 percent – and lack of parental support – 51 percent. On the former, states and localities have utilized a variety of resources to combat the lack of access, from subsidizing plans for families in need, to finding Wi-Fi hotspots, to using money from the CARES Act to get students the access they need.

Distance learning in 2020 also led to a rise in 1:1 device implementation among schools, a trend to keep an eye on going forward. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the schools provided distance learning devices for students.

“More than two-thirds of teachers were satisfied with the primary devices that students used in the classroom. However, with distance learning, the classroom was just as likely to be the kitchen table. While educators were generally satisfied with the technology being used in their classrooms, they did express some concerns about needing to serve as an IT department across multiple platforms and relying on parents’ technical skills,” the survey insights say.

Overall, despite the unideal conditions that led to the rapid implementation nationwide, the distance learning experience should allow teachers to better understand which technologies work best in a classroom setting and are conducive to both learning and participation.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.