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Classroom Observations Reveal Tech Is Going Largely Unused in America’s Classrooms

Classroom Observations Reveal Tech Is Going Largely Unused in America’s Classrooms

After conducting 140,000 classroom observations in America’s schools, the non-profit AdvancED has concluded that despite the increasing availability of technology, it is generally going unused for learning purposes.

Though most reports and studies on tech in the classroom are based on teacher and student surveys, this first-of-its-kind report is based on actual classroom observations where observers used the learner-centric eProveTM Effective Learning Environments Observation Tool® (eleot®) to record data.

"While the pervasive use of tablets, smartphones, laptops and digital education content is expanding around us, in the classroom, students are not actively using these technologies for learning—even within well-equipped classrooms where access is not the problem. AdvancED® research has found that examples of technology being put to use by students to strengthen learning are barely evident in classrooms today,” the report says.

The classroom observations were held in 39 states and 11 countries; in over half the classrooms observed, the report says "direct observations show no evidence students are using technology to gather, evaluate, or use information for learning while "two-thirds of classrooms show no evidence of students using technology to solve problems, conduct research, or to work collaboratively.”

In only 11.9% of the classrooms observed were students found to use technology to conduct research and solve problems.

The report speculates that the issue can be blamed on poor training and a lack of support for teachers.

. "Teachers typically lack support and in-service and preservice training on how to effectively integrate technology into lessons and to use it for teacher and student collaborations. And educators are often reticent to ‘allow' technology to be broadly used for fear of inappropriate use (a genuine concern but one that has been discussed for over a decade).”

In order for learning through technology to be meaningful, the report insists that both teachers and administrators must believe in the learning potential that edtech provides.

"Until teachers and administrators are convinced that technology can be a help not a hindrance to learning, the shift will not happen.”

Teachers, the report says, need to conquer the fear that technology is too distracting to be a viable learning tool and push forward to find engaging ways to implement.

"When students are genuinely engaged in their learning around topics that connect to their lives and interest them, they are much less inclined to engage in off-task behaviors with or without access to technology. It is when students lose them- selves in their learning that we have accomplished what we set out to do for them in the first place.”

Read the full report.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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