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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Connecting Teachers and Students to the Best Digital Tools

The recent news about ConnectEd, a federal initiative to get Internet connectivity and the technology to use it into America's classrooms, is full of promise for today's students. But overcoming barriers to access is only part of the challenge of unlocking educational technology's potential to transform teaching and learning.

Teachers Want More Edtech

A recent national survey of teachers and administrators by Harris Interactive for Common Sense Media reveals that preK-12 educators are passionate about edtech. Eighty-six percent of teachers tell us that using apps, computer games, websites, digital planning tools and digital curricula in the classroom is "important" or "absolutely essential." Almost all of them (96%) agree that it increases student engagement, enables personalized learning (95%), and improves student outcomes (89%). And nine out of ten teachers say they'd like to use more edtech in the classroom than they do now.

Teachers Deserve Help

Despite their enthusiasm, teachers don't report using edtech very frequently. Even in 1-to-1 programs -- where students are assigned or bring their own computers, laptops or tablets -- on a weekly basis, just 15% of teachers are using subject-specific content tools, 37% are using information/reference tools, 18% are using tools for teachers, and 20% arte using digital curricula.

Teachers recognize that lack of funds and insufficient infrastructure are the biggest barriers to implementing edtech, but they also identify lack of time to implement, lack of training, and the problem of finding high-quality student and teacher tools to support learning and teaching. Almost a third (32%) of the teachers we surveyed say they spend an hour or more a week researching edtech products, and more than three quarters of them (77%) say it can be at least somewhat difficult finding high quality products. This is no surprise given the tsunami of emerging digital tools that are marketed as educational without third party validation. And that's where we see an opportunity to help teachers discover, use and share the best products that suit both their own needs and their students' needs.

Teachers Meet Graphite

Graphite is a free online resource that combines independent reviews of edtech products with rigorous ratings that have relevance and meaning to educators. Every product is evaluated for student engagement, how well it helps students learn, and the support it offers for teachers. And at the core of Graphite is a growing community of teachers who share their expertise with personal reviews and field notes about how they use each product, and what works best with their students.

We designed this as a resource that gives teachers the opportunity to select the right edtech tools for their needs. Whether enabling more personalized instruction, increasing student engagement, or providing tools that streamline classroom management, technology can play an important supportive role. We hope Graphite helps you and all teachers embrace technology's incredible potential to inspire, create, learn and teach.

Please use the comments area below to share any thoughts or suggestions.

Comments (10)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Margarita Finkel's picture
Margarita Finkel
Social media for e-learning & technology

Thank you for the article and the link James. Also, you can find many engaging conversations between educators here http://quib.ly/users/roberto . They mostly talk about challenges they face in this digital age.

Stephen Dodson's picture

Thanks for sharing the Graphite site information. Sifting through so many educational apps can take a lot of valuable time even for tech savvy instructors. Using sites like Graphite should free up more time for teacher training and the integration of new apps into existing environments. Without this consolidation of app related research, there would be many teachers duplicating their efforts.

miren's picture
miren
4th Grade transition teacher in Texas

Great resources for new teachers. In our busy schedule sometimes we do not have time to research much about new technology, therefore help from experienced teachers definitely help.

Jeanie Flowers's picture

Well, this is a very interesting article. I think the use of technology in education is very important, because, with all the apps and programs that we have nowadays we can learn in an easy way. Of course, the teacher has a really important roll in education because he is the one who has to guide their students to the knowledge.

Isabel Mercedes's picture

What a nice article . I think that the use of technology in the education is a good way to teach . We can learn more fast with those apps.
The graphite is great because is a resourse where we can find new edtech tools that it help to the teachers because it give a great opportunity to know about how it help us that apps. So that help to the teachers be update.
Its fantastitc that we can have those apps that help us to increase our skills in a great potencial and of course it can inspire us everyday to be better in our skills.

rosario's picture
rosario
english language

The main problem is that teachers are not all classrooms will have the necessary technology to teach their students. As for teachers is important because in this way using new teaching strategies for students to be more agile and more practical in the classroom. But it is a bit difficult because not all schools have the tools necessary to achieve this. And from my own prespective not all teachers use technology today because for them it is better to get the information from a good book, but for us as students is more practical.

Max Uicab's picture
Max Uicab
Go beyond the trimph

A great point of view. It's truly a shame that some schools lack of budget recently, teacher nowadays opt to use edtech for give more emphasis to education students and reinforce them giving them a more efficient way to learn. I just imagine how many wonderful classes they might make and have a more successful response from students. On the other hand, that's why one of the reasons teacher don't spend time in seeking more updated, dynamic, efficient materials, because they don't have enough resources, as well as, many teacher aren't familiar with some popular edtech to get an more interactive class. Although, there are teach who bet on anything for education, who take risks for their passion to teach and their endless commitment with students. For those teachers my best regards.

Sergio MT's picture

I think its a great article, I agree with the idea of EdTech, I mean, the teachers need the support of new programs that help to improve the learning of their students, but the students also need to make his part, I think that the teachers are making a great effort to learn how to use those tools, because there are a lot of resources that will help to the learning.
I think the technology is always changing and this is a great oportunity for the teachers to update his way of teaching, everyday someone is developing some new software o program and we need to take advantage of it!.
In conclusion, educational technology is the future of education and everyone need to adapt to the future.
This my opinion.

Oscar Nava's picture

For me the use of technology in the education it's essential and it becomes more important when you want to catch your student's attention. The big problem can be how to find the exact tool for each topic or exercise, we can get lost trying to learn every new resource it comes to the market. Here is where I find graphite.org a very useful site for all of us involved in the education. Most of the time we can use a lot of tools for free but if we don't even know them, we can not use them.

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