Teachers: Give us better tech training, support

After more than decade of investment in school technology, educators say they still don’t feel adequately prepared to integrate instructional software into their classrooms and aren’t getting the technical support they need to fully impact student achievement, according to a joint study by the nation’s two largest teacher unions.

Released June 10 by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the study–called Access, Adequacy, and Equity in Education Technology–examines the state of educational technology resources and support in public schools across the country, as reported by classroom teachers and instructional assistants.

Although they often have access to computers and the internet in their classrooms, many teachers don’t feel adequately prepared to use technology to enhance their lessons, the report suggests. What’s more, many teachers in urban schools say they have insufficient or outdated equipment and software.

“Teachers and students should have the same level of technology in schools that is being used outside of schools. How can we expect our teachers to provide kids with the education they need to join today’s high-tech workforce without the necessary equipment and training?” asked NEA President Reg Weaver.

The report shows that most educators use technology for administrative tasks, but substantially fewer use it for instruction. Although most educators believe that technology is essential to teaching and learning, they are less likely to use technology when the technology is outdated and has not been maintained.  Educators also say they would like better support and technical assistance for using both software and hardware, especially in urban schools.

“When you see the overall condition of many of our schools and the support they receive, it is really not surprising that so many schools are lagging in technology,” said AFT President Edward J. McElroy. “This is just one more indicator that policy makers need to set a much higher value on supporting our public schools and our students.”

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