A recently released survey from Front Row Education has found educational technology to be increasingly popular among K-8 students as a result of a "game-like feel." In addition, students are found to be more focused when using this technology than when participating in most other classroom activities.
Released by Front Row Education, a leader in individualized math and ELA resources for K-8 students, the study found over 40% of K-8 teachers will spend 20 hours or more on professional development. Of this group, 15% will spend over 50 hours.
While many of these teachers will receive their professional development close to where they live and through their own school district and school, online courses and conferences are also increasing in popularity as ways to attain new learning skills over the summer. Many of the teachers plan to focus on increasing their skills pertaining to technology tools. Pedagogical practices, student engagement, and content writing are all topics that closely followed in popularity.
Survey results found 95% of teachers plan to introduce new technology into their classrooms in the next school year. Almost half, 48%, said they would like to evaluate those technologies over the summer months, with 13% saying they plan to decide which technologies to implement before the end of the current school year. Meanwhile, 22% said they would wait for the new school year to begin before making decisions.
In order to decide which technologies to introduce, over 90% of teachers said they would use the tools themselves first in order to evaluate their usefulness in the classroom. Other methods cited include testing the technology directly with their students at the beginning of the school year (66%), watching videos on how the technology works (64%), reading about the product (40%), asking other teachers to demonstrate how to use the tool (36%), and asking their own families to explore how they work and offer their own reviews (28%).
The survey suggests that teachers are focusing more on technology as a result of how students are responding to online learning. Many survey participants noted students are enjoying using technology in the classroom more than they are when participating in other activities throughout the day. While teachers ranked recess and physical education above technology in terms of student enjoyment, activities such as art, group projects, lunch time, music, and library were all ranked below.
Teachers stated that the use of technology in the classroom felt to their students like they were playing a game, noting it is one of the top reasons for their enjoyment of the time they spend on such devices. Other key reasons for enjoyment include the interactivity involved in online tools, the fact that it breaks up their day, and a more personalized experience.
In addition, 89% of teachers stated that students were more or somewhat more focused when using technology than they were with any other activity.
"It is incredibly rewarding to confirm across the board what we've seen firsthand– students enjoying their time using technology in the classroom," said Sidharth Kakkar, CEO of Front Row Education. "While our number one priority is ensuring students are learning to the best of their ability, an added bonus is that they have fun. We hope this translates into building ongoing confidence and a love of learning long after they leave the device behind."