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How Teachers View Technology

CDW-G, a provider of brand-name technology to educational institutions and government agencies, commissioned a survey to measure the role that computer technology plays in today's classroom, and to explore the emerging trends in education technology. This article highlights the results of that survey and the meaning of those results. Included: Statistics on the correlation among teacher training, years of service, technology use.

A CDW-G national survey found that most teachers believe the use of computer technology translates into higher student achievement and improved parent-teacher communication.

The "Teachers Talk Tech" survey, conducted by CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G) to provide a forum for teachers to express their views about technology in their classrooms, found that teachers view computers as a valuable teaching tool that can improve students' academic performance and attention in class, while strengthening the lines of communication with parents.

More than 600 K-12 educators -- representing an equal number of elementary, middle, and high school teachers -- were interviewed in the survey. Forty percent of those teachers were between the ages of 35 and 49; 45 percent were between the ages of 50 and 64. The teachers had an average of 17 years teaching experience; 40 percent had taught for more than 20 years. Ninety-nine percent of the teachers surveyed said they had access to computers at school and 96 percent said they had a computer at home.

Some results of the survey, such as the teachers' desire for more computers, were not surprising. Other results, such as the positive impact of online parent-teacher communication, were intriguing.

Of the teachers surveyed, about

  • 85 percent said classroom computers improve student performance.
  • 74 percent said computers improve students' attention in class.
  • 58 percent said posting homework assignments online increased completion rates.
  • 63 percent said computer technology increased their communications with parents.
  • 72 percent believe students who have access to computers at home have a major advantage over those who do not.
  • 75 percent said their school has a Web site that shares information with parents.
  • 50 percent of the middle and high school teachers said they report student grades to parents online or via e-mail.
A large majority (76 percent) of the teachers said that training is the key to increased technology use. In fact, the survey found a strong correlation between the number of hours of computer training a teacher had and his or her belief in the benefits of computer technology.

A further correlation was noted between a teacher's years of service and his or her opinion about computer use. Although 61 percent of all the surveyed teachers agreed that computers sometimes are more effective than teachers in getting material across to students, 80 percent of the teachers with fewer than ten years in the classroom said computer technology makes their job easier; only 69 percent of teachers with more than ten years of service agreed.

The most frequently cited obstacle to classroom technology use was a shortage of classroom computers. Fifty-one percent of the teachers surveyed said they don't have enough computers; 80 percent reported fewer than one computer for every two students.

The teachers, however, apparently are satisfied with the quality of the computer technology available to them.

Finally, when asked what would be the one wish they would ask for from a technology genie, the most common wish was for "more intuitive software that could automatically adapt to individual student needs."

Graphics by Pablo Estrada

About CDW-G

The information in this article was provided by CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G), which provides brand-name technologies and services to K-12 schools nationwide, helping teachers and technology coordinators acquire appropriate technologies for their classrooms. In addition, the company supports activities to help customers share best practices, and funds programs that assist educators in teaching about technology.

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2003 Education World