Majority of schools not using edtech effectively – report

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Kids use technology for everything from videochatting, firing off tweets and catching Pokemon characters – but schools are lagging when it comes to leveraging edtech as a learning tool, according to a recent report.

The study, from education nonprofit AdvancED, indicates that schools barely allow students to use technology in the classroom. As part of the study, AdvancED observed more than 140,000 classrooms in 39 states and more than 10 countries, to analyze their use of digital tools and technology.

Just more than half of the students observed showed no evidence of using technology to gather and evaluate information for learning in school. About 63 percent did not use technology to conduct research, solve problems or create original work, and nearly 65 percent showed no evidence of using tech to communicate and work collaboratively, according to the analysis.

“Teachers say that they are doing more and more to integrate technology into their students’ classroom experiences, but this is not evident in comprehensive classroom observations made across all parts of the school day,” writes the report’s author, Ludwig van Broekhuizen.

“Given that students are constantly using technology to communicate through chatting, blogging, emailing, texting and gaming, it is surprising that this routine part of students’ daily lives is not being leveraged for learning in their K-12 classrooms,” he continued.

With all the cutting-edge edtech gadgets and gizmos on the market, teachers have endless options to choose from. The technology is readily available, but experts say trouble lies in using it effectively.

According to the report, many teachers are hesitant to allow students to use technology in the classroom for fear that they would use it inappropriately. Some teachers also worry that technology will distract kids in class or make it easier for them to cheat on tests, so they opt to control the technology themselves.

The report also suggests that educators might be convinced that technology tools are only tangible in certain subject areas and only for some students.

Officials say they think teachers across the board should start looking at ways to embed technology use in school. The study points to educators as the forefront of the edtech movement.

“The teacher is the key to students successfully using technology as a learning and problem-solving tool,” van Broekhuizen wrote.

Reach the reporter at darlene.aderoju@edscoop.com and follow her on Twitter @buuukky and @edscoop_news.

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