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Time remains a big barrier to better technology implementation

While many educators feel more optimistic about teaching, concerns about technology access and training persist

The use of digital resources and tools in classrooms is at an all-time high, but educators still say they need more time and training if they are to effectively integrate technology resources into their curriculum.

Ninety-six percent of the more than 1,200 teachers surveyed in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s fourth annual Educator Confidence Report say they see the many benefits of using ed-tech tools in the classroom, with 63 percent citing improved student engagement as the top benefit. But despite that enthusiasm, 52 percent say time to integrate the tools into their curriculum remains the biggest barrier to more effective technology use.

Technology has helped educators:

  • Improve student engagement with learning (63 percent)
  • Improve ability to deliver differentiated, individualized instruction (52 percent)
  • Improve ability for students to access instructional content anytime/anywhere (50 percent)

Nearly all surveyed educators (94 percent) say establishing a meaningful connection with students is the most important part of learning, but 53 percent say they worry that today’s growing emphasis on technology use might impair the growth of important personal relationships.

Despite misgivings about tech use, 80 percent of surveyed teachers say technology has empowered them to strengthen their teaching practice, though 69 percent say they also think they haven’t yet fully realized technology’s full potential to improve workflow and save time.

If that time-savings potential were fully realized, 76 percent of teachers say they would use that extra free time to work more closely with students needing intervention–57 percent would work individually with students and 52 percent would offer enrichment opportunities.

Teacher confidence in using ed tech is steady–58 percent of those surveyed say they are extremely confident or very confident in their ability to use ed tech in instructionally effective ways.

A majority of educators use social media to explore teaching and instructional content (80 percent), to communicate or interact with students’ families (74 percent), and to interact with other educators (72 percent).

There are a few key elements prompting educators to feel more optimistic about the state of teaching in 2018–53 percent of educators feel good about teaching. That’s largely due to a renewed focus on critical thinking in the classroom (46 percent), collaborating with colleagues on student instruction (54 percent), and the use of data to inform teacher instruction (45 percent).

But, as always, bright spots are tempered by concerns. In this case, the availability of tech tools and the professional development to accompany those tools remains a concern, and more educators are worried about how they can successfully differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all learners.

Teachers also worry about an over-reliance on technology to solve instructional challenges and the implications of teacher accountability requirements.

Many educators (69 percent) worry about teacher salaries, and 60 percent worry about a lack of funding. Forty-two percent say their school or district has not adequately addressed school safety issues.

Inconsistent access to ed tech and variations in outlook regarding its efficacy exist across schools of differing socioeconomic status. Despite having less access to technology overall, teachers in high-poverty schools are more likely to report experiencing improved student achievement from ed tech (41 percent versus 22 percent of teachers in low-poverty schools).

“The 2018 HMH Educator Confidence confirms what we have always known: nothing is more important than the teacher-student relationship,” says Jack Lynch, HMH president and CEO. “It’s critical that we listen to educators. This data brings us closer to those we serve and deepens our understanding of how we can partner with and support educators in our shared goal of improving student outcomes for all learners.”

The survey, created in collaboration with market research and data analytics firm YouGov, explores educator sentiment toward the teaching profession, including key drivers such as use of educational technology in the classroom, equity, funding, school safety, and more.

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