PBS LearningMedia announced today findings from a national survey of teachers grades pre-K-12 that sheds light on the rising role of technology in America's classrooms, as well as barriers teachers face to accessing the "right" digital resources.
Ninety-one percent of teachers surveyed reported having access to computers in their classrooms, but only one-in-five (22 percent) said they have the right level of technology.
Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of teachers cited budget as the biggest barrier to accessing tech in the classroom. In low-income communities, this is an even greater challenge as 70 percent of teachers reported it as the greatest obstacle. Teachers in affluent communities also have greater parental and school board support for tech in the classroom compared to those teaching in low-income communities. Thirty-eight percent vs. 14 percent cited high levels of parental support and 38 percent vs. 21 percent for school board support.
While the vast majority of teachers have access to computers, less than two-thirds (59 percent) have access to an interactive whiteboard, a newer technology that can be used more broadly for classroom lessons. Teachers in affluent districts are also twice as likely to have access to tablets as teachers in middle and lower income districts. Still, teachers' opinion about the ability of tech to enhance learning is universal; 93 percent believe that interactive whiteboards enrich classroom education and 81 percent feel the same way about tablets. This attitude towards technology transcends grade level, the income levels of the student population and the types of communities where they teach.
According to the survey, tech resources used most often in the classroom include: websites (56 percent), online images (44 percent) and online games or activities (43 percent). Increasing student motivation (77 percent), reinforcing and expanding on content being taught (76 percent) and responding to a variety of learning styles (76 percent) are the top three reasons teachers use technology in the classroom.