PBS: Teachers like technology

Teachers value educational technology, according to a survey by PBS LearningMedia released for Digital Learning Day. Three-quarters of teachers surveyed said technology helps them expand on content, motivate students and respond to different learning styles.

Nearly half (48%) of teachers surveyed reported using technology for online lesson plans, and just under half use technology to give students access to web-based educational games or activities (45%). Additionally, teachers use online video, images and articles (43%). Sixty-five percent of teachers reported that technology allows them to demonstrate something they cannot show in any other way.

Ninety percent of teachers surveyed have access to at least one PC or laptop for their classrooms; 59 percent use an interactive whiteboard. Access to a tablet or e-reader is growing rapidly, from 20 percent to 35 percent of teachers in a year.

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  1. So the internet is filling a similar one to the role filled by filmstrips (“The cow is a mammal. This cow enjoys a grassy lunch. BEEP”) and Apple IIe’s (“MaryBeth has Pnuemonia… Mary Beth Has Died. Your Wagon Capsized. You lost 4 bullets 36 pounds of meat William “) did when I was young. Which again, seems to point to ‘new technology’ as a toy/distraction/reward for good behavior rather than essential to education. I wonder–if teachers only had kids for 2 hours a day instead of 7, would they value technology less? In homeschooling, we use very little technology for school other than books, papers, and pencils. Technology time is the reward for completing daily work in an efficient and correct manner….

    • I can see tech as a useful supplement. For example, a geography/science unit on plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis might start with books and maps, to ensure understanding of the background materials and mechanics of violent eruptions, but finish with a DVD with simulations of all of the above and some footage of actual events. The latter aren’t a substitute, but a valuable in-motion addition to core material, in order to increase understanding. In biology, I think a well-done video of dissection is probably as valuable as students doing their own. My kids weren’t homeschooled, but I remember them reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s novels set in Roman Britain – just for fun – but we looked at maps, checked Roman place names against current ones, looked at books about Roman ruins in Britain (they loved Hadrian’s wall, Bath and the roads) and Roman life and read David Macaulay’s Roman City. Afterwards, I bought the video of the latter and the kids watched it. The video was a nice addition, but it wouldn’t have been a decent substitute for any of the rest. I think there’s great video for history of art/architecture, for music and historic places, but (in small doses) as supplements, not substitutes.

  2. Technology plays a major role in current learning environment. Without the support of technology gadgets and devices it is not possible to educate the learners well. For example, in the past days to explain a doubt of a student the trainers needs to verify several books and knowledge sources and needs more hours. But now it is much simple to explain the answer with the help of the tablets, laptops and PCs within a second.