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Survey Says Young Teachers Struggle With Tech More

The 2015 Software and Information Industry Association’s Vision K-20 Survey, released at this July’s ISTE Conference, shows that younger teachers have less confidence using digital tools in the classroom than their older peers.

July’s ISTE Conference brought many invested and interested in EdTech to Philadelphia, but  as The Hechinger Report recently stated, not every attendee is an expert, or even enthusiast. One teacher at ISTE, Lauren Midgette, placed a yellow ribbon on her conference name badge that read: “My brain hurts.” 

For many educators, newcomers like Midgette reflect a sentiment that many are declaring: overwhelmed. With over 21,000 in attendance and enough workshops and products to make any head spin, the 25-year-old public high school teacher from Hartford, CT went to ISTE booming with enthusiasm, but not with the tech skills that are usually presumed to come easy to her generation, according to the article.

“I’m the youngest one in our group, and I am the least tech savvy,” said Midgette. 

Participants were asked to pick a level of agreement on a scale of 1 to 7, where lower numbers meant varying levels of disagree and higher numbers meant levels of agree, with the 4 acting as neutral, out of 33 selected topics. Overall, the survey shows that older teachers with more classroom experience have much more comfort when using EdTech with students in the classroom, while teachers that are younger find themselves to feel much less prepared to utilize tools for digital learning in a meaningful way. 

“It’s hard to say. Is it because younger teachers are overwhelmed with teaching? Or is it because they are used to [technology] and are rating themselves at a lower level?” said Susan Meell, CEO of consulting, research and marketing firm MMS Education.

Whether or not the lack of confidence shown from younger teachers is an issue of perception, a lack in enriching training, a problem in leadership direction, or any other various contributors, remains to be seen. Since the survey allowed participants to describe how they fell about their personal skill sets, the degree of confidence expressed could be connected to classroom experience, and the confidence gained from classroom experience.

The sample size of 1,038 educators also showed that student performance, identifying needs, and improving teaching methods were the top three classroom uses of EdTech; with a 70 percent increase in student data use over the past two years. 89 percent of responders work in K-12, with the median age of the sample population being 52, and the majority of responders having 15 or more years of experience in education. 

For the full story, visit here, or check out the full survey results

Article by Jason Papallo, Education World Social Media Editor
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Copyright © 2015 Education World 

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