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Teachers: we want to choose classroom tech

TES survey highlights teacher demand for involvement in selecting tech for the classroom

Posted by Stephanie Broad | January 21, 2016 | Technology

A new survey of over 8,000 global teachers conducted by digital education company TES Global reveals that educators are demanding a bigger role in deciding which technologies are used in the classroom. 

The survey found that over half of teachers (59%) believe they should be the primary decision maker for what technology is used in their classroom, but only 36% are currently consulted during the process. Respondents said that teacher buy-in is not currently a major factor in purchasing decisions.

Rob Grimshaw, CEO of TES Global, said: “Teachers are closest to the needs and behaviours of students, so it’s not surprising they want to have a seat at the table. Education tech companies, school leadership, and officials must find more ways to let teachers voice their opinions, so that only the best and most effective technology makes it to the classroom.”

Colin Hegarty, advanced Maths skills teacher and founder of HegartyMaths, said: “For technology to really have the impact we all want, it needs to be designed with an obsessive focus on the theory of great teaching and learning. Who is better placed with this inside knowledge than a teacher? As such, teachers have a great deal of value to add to the creation of great edtech.” 

Other findings of the survey include the following: 

Demanding more classroom clout

  • In addition to demanding a greater say in selecting technology, teachers feel that: 
  • Budgetary pressures appear to drive much of edtech decision-making. 47% of respondents believe that cost is the number one influence on edtech selection, more so than student outcomes (22%) and teacher buy-in (7%).
  • Only 12% of respondents say school-based technology experts currently make decisions, but 31% of respondents say they should play an important role (second only to teachers).
  • UK teachers lag behind their US counterparts. In the UK, 25% of teachers say they make decisions about technology in the classroom compared to 37% in the US.
  • Half (43%) say parents should play the smallest decision-making role, with district or regional leadership not far behind (31%).

Teachers know best

Despite the feeling that research and the vetting of tools and technology are being undertaken at a higher level, teachers continue to create materials and classroom environments they feel are best for their students.

  • Most teachers learn about new technology by researching it on their own or by relying on their teacher peers in the same school or region (34% and 33% respectively).
  • Over half (59%) said that teachers are the best creators of classroom materials, while only 8% believe publishers should be the lead creators.
  • Mobile technology is the most used technology in UK and US classrooms (26% and 37% respectively). However, UK teachers use more educational games than their US colleagues (21% and 14%). 

Finding middle ground

Given that the process of researching and implementing new technology can be complex and time-consuming, however, many teachers indicated that they would welcome guidance and training that would equip them to select the most suitable edtech solutions for their particular classroom requirements. 

  • The majority (61%) would like to make decisions based on a defined set of options. Only 25% would prefer to make all decisions without someone else narrowing the options. 
  • The majority of teachers (57%) said that their teacher training programs failed to make them feel very or somewhat prepared for evaluating and using technology in the classroom.

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