Teacher Development And Technology Go Hand-in-Hand

Teachers say more effective use of technology in the classroom is vital in their efforts to meet stricter federal requirements for student achievement.

Technology provides a way to more easily perform administrative tasks and to teach this generation of students who grew up with technology. And educators say the key to using classroom technology more effectively lies in teacher development.

There is clearly a strong correlation between improved student performance, effective use of technology in the classroom, and time spent in teacher development, according to a survey of teachers and how they use technology in the classroom. The survey results indicated an increase in the use of technology by teachers. 60 percent of teachers surveyed considered themselves “somewhat advanced” and 80 percent of teachers believe the use of technology engages students in the learning process. 2 out 3 teachers are convinced the use of technology in classrooms improves student performance. Teacher development regarding the knowledge and understanding of the many uses of technology is rising.

The survey examined the use of computers by K-12 teachers in their daily jobs; attempted to evaluate the role of technology in improving academic performance; and allowed teachers to voice their opinions about the use of technology in schools.

Although the survey indicated increased use of technology by teachers, it also uncovered teacher concerns about lack of access to technology and lack of funding preventing them from effectively integrating technology into classroom curriculums. Researchers say technology is on the verge of transforming the learning environment radically but it’s not quite there yet. Technology is seen as an “empowering tool” when used effectively.

This is the survey’s fourth year and the impact of technology on the learning process can be seen in the results over time.

In 2004, 40 percent of teachers indicated technology had changed the teaching environment. By 2006, the number had jumped to 54 percent. The survey’s administrators call the survey a tool for teachers to indicate how much technology has positively affected the learning environment, and voice their support for further teacher development with regard to using technology effectively.

The impact of technology is seen most clearly through the eyes of teachers who have been in the profession for 10 years or more. Younger teachers are more likely to have been exposed to and used technology most of their adult lives and never knew the teaching profession without technology.

The survey results also revealed the most popular uses for technology.

80 percent of teachers indicated technology was important to teaching. Administrative functions like attendance and grading were made much easier by technology according to 88 percent. And nearly 90 percent said technology was vital to communicating with students, parents, administrators, and other teachers. Finally, 4 out of 5 teachers surveyed indicated they use technology when preparing lessons and for research purposes, and the same number used technology as a learning tool in class.

From the results it appears obvious teachers are increasingly embracing the use of technology in classrooms and believe technology is beneficial in improving academic performance. More teacher development in effective uses of technology appears to be a solid investment in our future.