Forty-two percent of teachers said that their students use cell phones mostly to look up information in class.
Access and socio-economic status continues to impact how ed-tech is used. Of teachers who said they feel their school is behind on digital technology, 15 percent teacher higher-income students, while 39 percent teach low-income students.
A majority of students use web-based tools and resources for a variety of purposes. Ninety-four percent use online search engines, 79 percent access assignments online, 76 percent submit assignments online, and 75 percent use online encyclopedias.
When it comes to ed-tech’s benefits, 99 percent of teachers said that the internet gives students a much broader range of resources, 76 percent said the internet and search engines are “mostly positive” for student research, and 65 percent said that today’s students are more self-sufficient.
However, teachers pointed out negatives associated with using classroom ed-tech tools as well. Eighty-seven percent of teachers said that students are easily distracted and have shorter attention spans, 64 percent said that digital technology distracts students more than it helps them when it comes to academics, and 60 percent said students have trouble finding credible sources of information.
Some teachers indicated that personal technologies, which are not used for educational purposes, also impact academic and social development at school. Seventy-one percent of teachers said these technologies hurt students’ attention spans, 58 percent said they hinder students’ ability to write, 48 percent said it lowers the quality of students’ homework, and 42 percent said personal technologies impair students’ critical-thinking abilities.
Research indicates that in order to effectively implement technology, schools and districts should not rush to purchase the latest and greatest technologies before researching and examining the big picture, they should develop a sound plan for implementation and use, they must understand the technologies’ limitations, and should evaluate the purchase price of the technology along with the total cost of ownership and return on investment.