Two-thirds of district administrators and 58 percent of principals included a mobile device for every student as part of their vision for the ideal school of the future—yet 76 percent of teachers said they were worried that such mobile devices would be a distraction in their classrooms.

Two-thirds of teachers said they use technology as a teaching aid, the survey revealed, and nearly half (46 percent) said they use software to help students develop skills in reading, writing, or math. But far fewer teachers—less than 25 percent—are using game-based learning environments, podcasts, video, or real-time data (such as Google Earth or National Weather Service information) to help students develop higher-order thinking skills.

For the first time, the 2009 Speak Up survey polled pre-service teachers enrolled in colleges of education—and the results suggested that these schools have some work to do in preparing future teachers for 21st-century instruction.

Pre-service teachers who responded to the survey said they were primarily being trained to use productivity software (53 percent), create multimedia presentations (44 percent), and find digital resources to include in a lesson (40 percent). Far fewer are learning to create electronic portfolios of student work (31 percent), create videos, podcasts, or web sites to teach a topic (28 percent), or use animations, simulations, and games within their instruction (19 percent).

Still, aspiring teachers are more likely than their future colleagues to use digital resources in their classrooms. Across the board, these future teachers expressed more interest in using digital media tools (79 percent vs. 66 percent), Flip video cameras (38 percent vs. 17 percent), virtual simulations (28 percent vs. 5 percent), and video conferences or webinars (19 percent vs. 8 percent) to enhance their instruction.

This new generation of teachers also is five times more likely to incorporate electronic portfolios for their students (54 percent vs. 10 percent).

The next generation of teachers might find their strongest allies among district administrators, instead of fellow teachers or their principals. Overall, district administrators were more likely than principals or teachers to recognize the value of using mobile devices for learning, the survey suggested.


2009 Speak Up survey: Educator results