Education Week - March 6, 2013 - (Page 14)

14 EDUCATION WEEK n MARCH 6, 2013 n DIGITAL DIRECTIONS > Tracking news and ideas in educational technology Pew Survey Gauges Teachers’ Attitudes About Tech., Equity ‘Digital divide’ cited as major challenge By Mike Bock Teachers of low-income students are twice as likely as teachers of upper-income students to say that their schools are “behind the curve” in utilizing digital tools in the classroom, indicating a concern among educators about the “digital divide” and its effects on students’ academic development, according to a survey released last week. But the vast majority of middle and high school teachers involved in the survey, all of whom teach in higher-level educational programs connected to Advanced Placement curricula or the National Writing Project, said the Internet has had a “major impact” on their ability to access content and resources for their teaching, the survey from the Washington-based Pew Research Center finds. The report, “How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms,” gauges the opinions of nearly 2,500 middle and high school teachers. It is a part of the Pew Internet & American Life survey, a multiyear project that seeks to assess how Americans use the Internet in their daily lives. Pew’s results, released Feb. 28, suggest that plenty of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers are already incorporating technology into their personal and professional lives, and that a majority of educators surveyed are ahead of the general population when it comes to technology use in daily life. For example, 58 percent of teachers reported that they own a smartphone, compared with 45 percent of the general adult population. And 78 percent of teachers reported using social-networking tools, compared with 59 percent of all adults. “On the whole, we came away feeling that teachers are pretty advanced in terms of tech use,” said Kristen Purcell, the director of research at the Pew Internet project. “These tools are really becoming part of the learning process.” Many teachers are also using technology to enhance their teaching skills. Eighty percent of teachers said they regularly search online for lesson plans or professional-development resources, and 92 percent said the Internet has had a “major impact” on their ability to access content and other resources. “It’s not just about the engage- ment and making kids happy. Technology can also be a very effective tool for teachers,” said Jennie Magiera, the digital learning coordinator for the Chicago-based Academy for Urban School Leadership, a nonprofit group that trains teachers and manages struggling schools. Disruption vs. Innovation When asked about the major obstacles to incorporating more technology into the classroom, teachers from lower-income areas cited pressure to teach to assessments, lack of access to digital resources, and a lack of technical support at a higher rate than their peers teaching in more affluent districts. The survey also found that 73 percent of teachers responding make use of smartphones in the learning process, but most said the devices are mainly used by students looking up information or taking pictures for school assignments. Many teachers said school policy prevents them from using digital tools. Teachers in urban areas are less likely to have students using cellphones in class, and they report cellphone distraction as a “major issue” for classroom management more often than teachers in rural or suburban Explore Our Difference Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, the nation’s top ranked school of education, offers innovative programs that guide professionals in applying theory to practice through: • Full-time degree programs • Weekend Ed.D. programs for senior practitioners • Week-long summer professional institutes - Achievement Gap Institute - Higher Education Management - Senior Academic & Enrollment Services Professionals Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action. SURVEY SAYS: Educators involved in Advanced Placement programs or the National Writing Project tend to be more advanced technology users than the general adult population: areas do, according to the report. “Thirty-three percent of teachers of lower-income students say their school’s rules about classroom cellphone use by students have a major impact on their teaching, compared with 15 percent of those who teach students from the highest income households,” the survey concluded. Bob Wise, the president of the Washington-based Alliance for Excellent Education and a former governor of West Virginia, said teachers can develop effective methods of utilizing digital tools in education by combining technological expertise with traditional pedagogy. “One thing that technology demands is that you’re constantly reevaluating what your policies were before the technology was implemented. Yesterday’s reform can be today’s impediment,” Mr. Wise said. l Teachers l U.S. adults have a smartphone 45% 58% (68% of those younger than 35) Those teachers are also well ahead of national benchmarks in ownership of several digital devices, including: laptops 61% 93% tablet computers 39% 24% Digital Equity The Pew survey also found that teachers are overwhelmingly concerned with the effect digital resources have on equity. Eighty-four percent of teachers agreed that digital tools contributed to disparities among low-income and highincome students. While 54 percent of teachers surveyed said their students had sufficient access to digital tools that help them academically in school, only 18 percent said students have sufficient access at home. But when asked whether today’s digital technologies are narrowing or widening the gap between the most and least academically successful students in an individual classroom, 44 percent of teachers said technology is narrowing the gap and 56 percent said it is widening the gap, suggesting that teachers are divided on the role technology can have on broadening or diminishing the digital divide among students. Ms. Magiera of the Academy for Urban School Leadership stressed that digital tools need to be used effectively if teachers want to blend technology into the curriculum. “Technology is not a classroommanagement tool, and shouldn’t be used in the place of classroom culture and high expectations for students,” she said. Scan this tag with your smartphone for a link to “How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms.” e-book readers 47% 19% They are also more likely than typical adults to use social-networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn 78% 69% and Twitter 26% Still, nearly half those teachers say their students usually know more than they do about using digital technologies, and just 18 percent say they know more than their students do. 16% 42% 18% SOURCE: Pew Internet & American Life survey

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 6, 2013

Education Week - March 6, 2013
Los Angeles School Board Race Shatters Spending Records
Feds, States Dicker Over Evaluations
Governors Take Varied Routes in Boosting Aid
Principal Appraisals Get a Remake
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Study: Best and Worst Teachers Can Be Flagged Early
FOCUS ON: PRESCHOOL: Obama Preschool Proposal Stirs Debate Over Training
Principals Lack Training in Shaping School Climate
KIPP Outpacing Regular Public Schools, Study Finds
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Wisconsin Data-Contract Fight Goes Public With Ad Campaign
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Pew Survey Gauges Teachers’ Attitudes About Tech., Equity
Blogs of the Week
Voting Rights Act Case Has Stakes for Districts
Back Home, Top Lawmaker Gets Earful on K-12 Policy
Policy Brief
Sequestration and Education: Frequently Asked Questions
9 California Districts Seek Own NCLB Waiver
House Panel Weighs School Safety Concerns
MATTHEW LYNCH: Tracing Technology’s Unintended K-12 Consequences
ANITA KRISHNAMURTHI: Recognizing the Impact of After-School STEM
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JD CHESLOFF: Why STEM Education Must Start In Early Childhood

Education Week - March 6, 2013