Survey: Ed-tech use falls short of desired goals

“This is because technology is moving so quickly, it’s hard to keep up with,” said Karen Billings, vice president of SIIA’s education division, during a webinar hosted by Connected Educator Month. “Yet, postsecondary institutions say they’re much close to their ideals than K-12 participants say. This is probably because, when it comes to technology use for learning, postsecondary [schools were] always ahead of K-12, and the students are older and are more prone to tech use on campuses.”

Many of the findings from this year’s survey were similar to those of last year’s survey. For instance, both K-12 and higher-education institutions ranked “enterprise support” as most important of the five technology measures, which Billings attributed to the need for accountability. Both types of institutions rated “assessment tools” as the lowest in importance among the five technology measures.

“This might change soon, thanks to the Common Core State Standards … movement,” said Billings.

The four ed-tech benchmarks with the highest current usage have remained the same for the last three years and are the same for both K-12 and higher education, SIIA said—led by security tools used to protect student data and privacy:

Regarding the seven educational goals identified by SIIA, K-12 schools are still further from reaching their ideals than colleges and universities, but both say they are closest to their ideal in “facilitating communication,” while both are farthest from their ideal in “nurturing creativity and self-expression.”

Although the results for K-12 schools and colleges are mostly similar, there are some slight differences, Billings said. For example, postsecondary institutions place a higher priority on “anytime/anywhere access” than K-12 schools, which is understandable given the campus atmosphere and students’ personal use of mobile devices on campus.

There also have been slight increases for both types of institutions in ed-tech integration for differentiated instruction, assessment tools, and information systems to track performance. Also, more institutions are closer to their ideals in broadband and security systems.

“Though participants still listed funding, leadership, time, and technology obsolescence as the main obstacles to reaching their ideals, the benchmark scores are consistent—indicating that, despite the tough economy, schools are still able to maintain technology integration plans,” Billings said.

“Also, judging by the … increases in broadband and security …, as well as the continued emphasis on enterprise tools, we might assume that school, district, and large campus goals are easier to manage than individual classroom goals.”

Meris Stansbury

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