A new survey found that a majority of teachers (77 percent) believe technology will help them be more effective post-pandemic.
That finding comes from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), which released its seventh annual 2021 Educator Confidence Report earlier this month. The report serves as a barometer for how classroom teachers are feeling about the state of teaching and learning.
“We’ve entered a new era where edtech’s potential has been unlocked at an exponential rate over the past year,” said Jack Lynch, CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “The future of the classroom is high-tech and high-touch. We have an opportunity to experience the ‘best of both worlds’ – to continue to use technology purposefully, for differentiated instruction, workflow, practice, and more, while also benefiting from the social gathering provided by school communities and that is so critical to student well-being.”
For its report, HMH surveyed more than 1,200 K-12 classroom teachers and more than 150 administrators. Over the course of the pandemic – which saw teachers adapting to distance and hybrid learning – HMH found an increase in teachers feeling very or extremely confident using educational technology in 2021 compared to 2020. In 2021, 66 percent of teachers said they feel very or extremely confident; in 2020, only 50 percent felt very or extremely confident.
In addition to the 77 percent that believes tech will help them be a better teacher post-pandemic, 56 percent of educators said their students have a greater ability to access instructional content anytime, anywhere. HMH said this finding reinforces the value of technology for K-12 education, and gives educators and parents the peace of mind that progress is being made regardless of how and where the student is engaging.
As students begin to return to the classroom, 96 percent of teachers think teaching and learning will be at least modestly changed compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, and 55 percent think these changes will be significant.
One of the key areas of transformation as a result of the pandemic is reliance on online assessments. In 2020, 49 percent of teachers reported using online assessments, which spiked to 73 percent for this year’s survey. Additionally, HMH said to expect a rise in the number of educators who prefer digital materials. When asked what type of digital materials were the most effective, digital versions of print materials (43 percent) and videos (40 percent) topped the list.
Regardless of where learning is taking place, teachers are clamoring for digital platforms to help them do their job better. In terms of how they want to use digital platforms, 43 percent of teachers say platforms allow them to streamline assessment, and 42 percent say digital platforms and tools enable them to communicate more effectively with students.