New research finds lack of technology infrastructure in classrooms

A new report indicates an insufficient capacity of computing devices and technology infrastructure in today's schools.
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PBS and Grunwald Associates LLC national research report on teacher's media usage, entitled "Deepening Commitment: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology," indicates an insufficient capacity of computing devices and technology infrastructure to handle teachers' Internet-dependent instructional activity. The national study also found that more than half of K-12 teachers report continued cuts in their school media budgets, increasing their reliance on free, quality content. Teachers spend 60 percent of their time using educational resources in the classroom that are either free or paid for by teachers themselves.

PBS, a leading provider of free, streaming video from educational series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, first surveyed educators on their use of digital media and technology in 2002. Conducted annually, the PBS teacher surveys have found broadening adoption and deeper integration of digital media and technology in classrooms for all age groups, with teachers enthusiastic about new technologies.

"With direct feedback from educators, the annual Grunwald research is a valuable tool to drive our work in supporting teachers' needs today and building the classroom of tomorrow," said Rob Lippincott, SVP, PBS Education. "We have witnessed student improvement when a multi-platform, media-rich curriculum is combined with professional development(1) and are encouraged that teachers are increasingly integrating technology and digital media to increase engagement, promote creativity and differentiate instruction."

Among the key findings in the "Deepening Commitment: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology" report:

Over half of K-12 teachers (62%) frequently use digital media in classroom instruction.

Cost continues to grow as the main barrier to using fee-based digital resources, with 46% of teachers citing this as a barrier, and 33% citing time constraints.

Three-in-four teachers (76%) stream or download TV and video content, up from 55% in 2007. These teachers are also accessing content in completely new ways, with 24% reporting that they access content stored on a local server, up from 11% in 2007. Their use of short video segments of three to five minutes in length increased this year, with 29% reporting this is the average length of video segments used.

Teachers view TV and video content as more effective when integrated with other instructional resources or content. More than two-thirds (67%) believe that digital resources help them differentiate learning for individual students, and a similar number (68%) believe TV and video content stimulates discussion.

Teachers see great educational potential in smart, portable devices, including laptops, tablets, e-readers and handhelds.

Teachers value, use and want interactive white boards more than any other technology.

One in four K-12 teachers (26%) report membership in an online teacher community, such as PBS Teachers, citing connection, collaboration and shared resources as reasons to join.

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