Despite widespread national attention on school connectivity, 20 percent of surveyed teachers say they still struggle with lack of internet or device connectivity in their classrooms.
“My biggest challenge is dealing with the internet not connecting or a website not loading properly,” says Amy Bass, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Great Valley Elementary School in Stockton, Calif. Stockton is profiled in the survey. “Another issue that happens frequently is when our wireless display solution disconnects when I am in the middle of teaching something. It can be frustrating, but I try to use it as an opportunity to show my students how to troubleshoot and fix the situation.”
More schools are increasing their data-use practices–75 percent of surveyed teachers say data-driven instruction and intervention is a top trend in their school and district, compared with just 28 percent of surveyed teachers reporting the trend in the 2017 survey.
“It is extremely important to use data-driven instruction, because as a teacher, I need to know which concepts my students are struggling with,” Bass says. “I know if I need to reteach lessons or if I can simply review a lesson. I look at data frequently to see where my students are making errors, to both correct them and show them where they are making mistakes.”
Teachers who say they rely on data-driven instruction and intervention are more likely to conduct formative assessments (83 percent) and summative assessments (72 percent) to improve student performance based on data insights. Those teachers using data-driven instruction also are more likely to be high school teachers, the survey reveals.
Teachers say they also use data to improve student performance by identifying gaps in learning, combining different sources of data to identify student needs, by sharing gathered information about student strengths and weaknesses, and by providing parents with a quantitative overview of student performance.
Gamification is among tech trends on the rise. Last year, just 18 percent of surveyed teachers said they use game-based learning to increase student engagement, compared to 25 percent of teachers in this year’s survey.
Other tech trends include tools promoting creativity in learning; computational thinking, coding, and robots; design thinking in the classroom; social and emotional learning through technology; and maker education programs.
Teachers say technology is essential in helping students develop strong 21st-century skills. Most surveyed teachers say they use technology to help students build collaboration, teamwork, project-based learning, and creative thinking skills.
Google is a teacher and student favorite when it comes to hardware and software–Chromebooks topped the list for devices, and Google Classroom emerged as the favorite LMS.