Teachers and Technology: 3 Key PD Topics

March 2015, Volume 38, Issue 7

Mobile technology is rapidly becoming ubiquitous in schools, but teachers need more training to integrate it into their practice. A mere 18 percent of new principals say they feel prepared to guide teachers in technology use—but the latest Rise and Shine brief can help.

Each month, NAESP surveys the 1,000-member National Panel of New Principals on the principalship’s most pressing challenges. The findings are summarized in the Rise and Shine brief, and the last issue highlights school technology use and specific topics for professional development.

By the Numbers

Most panelists’ schools have high-speed broadband connections, and the majority have laptops, iPads, Chromebooks, or digital media players in their classrooms. Two-thirds report that those devices are shared by up to 10 students, though 14 percent of panelists’ schools have 1:1 device strategies. BYOD—bring your own device programs—are on the rise, with 15 percent of panelists’ schools implementing it.

Most panelists report that their teachers are “very well” or “fairly well” prepared to use smart boards and digital cameras and to find effective online resources for teaching. Teachers, they say, are less prepared to teach in 1:1 environments, use apps, or teach with all-electronically delivered material.


Areas to Grow

The majority of panelists report that technology has helped them juggle daily administrative tasks and more easily report data to their districts and states. Only half, though, say that technology has helped improve student outcomes or boost teacher effectiveness. The first issue, principals say, is the need for more training; in a tie for second place are lack of time for teachers to build technology into their classroom structures and lack of comfort using the devices. (Interestingly, principals under age 40 are more likely to cite “lack of teacher comfort” as a major obstacle, but those over age 40 were more likely to frame it as a “lack of teacher time” problem.)

3 Key PD Topics

To bolster teachers’ tech know-how, principals report that there are three key areas for professional development:

  • Authentic technology integration into instruction. That means going beyond viewing technology as an add-on, or just using brain games, but rather, turning to technology as a way to enhance deep learning;
  • Keeping up with the latest online tools, especially the ones that work well and for what purposes; and
  • Advanced training on tech tools. This can build proficiency with blended learning.

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