Education Week Releases Special Report on Technology in American K-12 Classrooms

New research reveals teachers' confidence levels in ed tech, how technology is used in the classroom, and the decision-making behind tech products

June 9, 2016: Education Week today releases a new special report exploring the use of technology in American classrooms. The 2016 edition of Education Week's long-running Technology Counts report combines in-depth reporting and insight from an original national survey to reveal how teachers approach integrating technology into the classroom and their overall confidence in education technology.

Technology Counts reveals that more than 50 percent of teachers feel comfortable using new technologies but that most teachers are using technology for test taking and drills rather than more interactive or collaborative approaches. In addition, the report shows that, when deciding which products to test, teachers have far greater trust in the opinions and experiences of other teachers than in the statements of administrators or ed-tech companies.

The report features Education Week's first-ever Tech Confidence Index, which captures teachers' attitudes about the promise technology holds for K-12 schools, now and in the future. Teachers from across the national give technology a middling score -- 49 points out of a possible 100. But the Index also reveals that most teachers feel more confident about the future of education technology than the present.

"As the applications for technology in the classroom continue to evolve, it's important to understand how teachers are using technology to teach and what factors they consider when deciding which products to use," said Kevin C. Bushweller, executive project editor of Technology Counts. "With the right support and understanding, there is a lot of room for growth in the area of education technology."

Technology Counts explores the challenges teachers encounter using technology in the classroom. These barriers include connectivity issues, computer malfunctions, and lack of training. Overwhelmingly, teachers rely on each other when deciding on which tech tools to use in their classrooms. Many technology companies also are looking for ways to connect directly with teachers, to pilot new products and programs and to get teacher buy-in before the final product goes to market.

To highlight innovative practices, Education Week's reporters also profile three educators leading the charge to advance the use of technology in their classrooms. These "Teacher Tech Leaders" are influencers in the ed-tech space who leverage digital tools to infuse excitement into their subject areas, and share their experience with others. They include an English teacher who codes, an elementary school teacher who uses digital tools to boost problem-solving skills, and a former math teacher dedicated to giving all students, regardless of zip code, access to better opportunities through technology.

The full Technology Counts report and additional online exclusives can be found here: www.edweek.org/go/tc16