Despite advances in digital learning tools and efforts to close the ed-tech access gap, school budgets remain one of the biggest barriers to classroom technology access, according to a national PBS LearningMedia survey of preK-12 teachers.
Although ed-tech advocates campaign for technology’s seamless integration into instruction, only 22 percent of teachers surveyed said they have the “right” level of technology in their classrooms.
Sixty-three percent of teachers said budgets continue to be barriers to classroom technology access, and in low-income communities, 70 percent of teachers reported budgets are their main obstacle. Aside from funding, teachers reported that unfamiliarity with technologies (8 percent), a lack of knowledge about where to find proper technologies or a lack of training (8 percent), technologies’ incompatibility with current curriculum (7 percent), slow/poor/no internet connection (6 percent), and other various reasons (9 percent) as barriers to classroom technology use.
Socio-economic status also plays a role in other areas: 38 percent of teachers in affluent school districts reported high levels of parental support, compared with just 14 percent of teachers in low-income communities; and 38 percent of teachers in high-income areas have school board support, compared to 21 percent of teachers in low-income areas.
Computer access is not a problem for the majority of teachers—91 percent have access to computers or laptops in their classroom—but access to “newer” technologies is. Fifty-nine percent have access to interactive whiteboards, and teachers in affluent districts are twice as likely to have access to tablets as teachers in middle- and low-income districts.