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Results Of My Survey On Tech Use In Schools

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In August, I wrote a post titled How Much Is Technology REALLY Used In Your School?

Here’s how I introduced it:

As regular readers know, I’m working on my third book, which now has a new working title, Student Self-Motivation, Responsibility, and Engagement:Practical Answers to Classroom Challenges. It’s a long one, but it is an accurate description of what it’s about.

It will certainly contain ideas for for using educational technology, but that will not be its primary focus. Some of the reviewers of my manuscript suggested I include even a few more tech ideas than I originally had, which I can easily do.

But that got me thinking — how much is technology REALLY used in most classrooms?

So, I have created a very simple survey that should take people considerably less than one minute to complete. It’s admittedly not very scientific, and may very well not provide an extremely accurate answer to the question. But, at the every least, it’ll be interesting to see how people respond.

In the survey, I asked respondents to say what percentage of teachers in their school or, if they work as a district staffperson, in their district, used the following types of technology:

Computer Projector

Document Camera

PowerPoint

Internet For Research

Web 2.0 Tools

I also provide people the opportunity to leave comments, or add more information.

You can see all the results, including the comments, here.

It doesn’t appear that tech is used much in the classrooms.

The big surprise to me was that the two elements of tech that I think have the most educational value (and that students and I use constantly) — the Document Camera and Web 2.0 tools — appear to be the least used by teachers in schools.

I’d be very interested in hearing how others interpret this admittedly unscientific survey. Please leave your comments.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

10 Comments

  1. It’s amazing how, while we think we are different because we live on different parts of the planet and our cultures differ, our challenges are the same. Here in the Western Cape in South Africa we find the same situation … specialized equipment (such as data harvesting tools, document cameras and interactive whiteboards) are greatly underused, as are the wonderful Web2.0 tools available to them. It seems as if teachers are willing to use technology for the same tasks they performed manually – but are reluctant to break through the barrier and learn how to use technology to teach in new ways (and allow learners to learn in new ways). Sad as your situation may seem, I take comfort in the fact that down here we are not alone in our struggle!

  2. I find those results amazing. As an older teacher (61) I use a number of those. I can’t understand why teachers don’t. I find them hugely motivating and engaging. And I’m just the teacher! Do you have any suggestions for computer data projectors with some interactivity?

  3. Kathryn, amazing data projectors, with basic interactivity, is now available. Over the past week I have looked at two different ones, working on slightly different principles, but which allow sufficient interactivity for most classrooms. True, they are not in the same league as a SMART board, with its fabulous Notebook software, but many teachers don’t even use this level of interactivity. The InFocus data projector projects an image on any white surface, and you use a pen to point – select, drag-drop, show-reveal, annotate, etc. With this one writing is a bit awkward, since the pen does not touch the surface. The other one, Epson, you need to write with the pen on the surface – better control in writing, has all the other functionality, but is more expensive. I suspect most data projector vendors will bring out similar models, so it’s worth shopping around. We will be piloting the two types soon – it seems to be the answer for teachers who require some interactivity, but for whom fully fledged IWBs may be an overkill (particularly in secondary schools). Once we’ve piloted them, I’ll blog about our findings.

  4. Larry, I would love to do such a comparison with you. How would you like us to proceed with this?

    • Kobus,

      Thanks for your comments on the post, and for your great blog!

      In terms of how to proceed with that idea of exploring “why,” I wonder if it might make sense to just create a similarly short and simple survey similar to the one I did listing potential reasons and giving people the option to add additional ones. We would just have to come up with a list of reasons to list.

      It would also be great to identify people in other countries to do the same thing.

      What do you think?

      Larry

  5. Larry, I can do that. Over the past 10 years I’ve been running the Khanya Programme in the Western Cape in SA and have helped 1 200 schools to acquire technology facilities, installed over 45 000 PCs, 2 000 IWBs and trained close to 26 000 teachers (see http://www.khanya.co.za). The greatest challenge we’ve encountered is the motivation of teachers to use the technology! Over the years we have done various surveys, and have some idea of the issues. How would it be if I simply collate and summarize all the information gathered to date, post it on my blog, and invite further comments … and then take it from there? I like your idea of getting folks of other countries involved, comparing the situation around the globe. I have a feeling our challenges are going to be similar! Which means we can collectively search for solutions.

  6. Larry
    Kobus has explained it in comment above perfectly. Better than I could. We have an Epsom projector that does project onto whilteboard and I can use its pen to write on, then save it to my computer. Its not a Smartboard though.
    Kathryn

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