Tech Savvy Educators

3 Lessons from North Carolina’s Public School Internet Rollout

The state is poised to provide internet access to all of its students.

The benefits of educational technology are clear. Technology can provide students with individualized learning platforms and instant feedback and assessment. It also allows teachers to more easily identify and address particular student needs.

However, in order for technology to achieve its maximum potential, it must be harnessed and implemented properly. This requires that the facilitator, the teacher, possess a certain set of knowledge and skills to understand how and when various tools best support their curricula. Unfortunately, many teachers aren’t provided which the proper training before being handed new tools.

Technology alone isn’t enough. According to Pew Research, only 50 percent of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers working in the lowest income areas consider their schools to be doing a “good job” providing resources and supporting teachers’ need to utilize digital tools in the classroom. Moreover, in a new nationwide survey of K-12 teachers conducted by digedu, 50 percent of teachers reported inadequate assistance when using technology in the classroom.

“The results of this survey indicate that a startling number of teachers frequently use technology without the training and ongoing support they need,” said digedu co-founder and president, Matt Tullman.

Levels of technological support correlate to teacher confidence in the benefits of educational technology. Or so a survey by CDW-Government, Inc. found. In fact, 76 percent of surveyed K-12 teachers responded that training is the key to increased technology use.

Addressing the lack of resources and support for teachers is a major component of effectively executing the K-64 initiative. It is integral that we ensure teachers feel comfortable utilizing the chosen technology in their classrooms. Many educational technology platforms come with some level of professional development, but this content needs to be taken advantage of in order for the tools to truly be effective.

If we want Catawba County and K-64 to be successful, we need to keep these facts in mind. The technology is only half of the story, and we need to make sure training and professional development are considered important, too.