Steljes: “Technology will only continue to evolve and, as a result, its use in the classroom will also change.” The whitepaper summarises research was carried out on behalf of Steljes by Censuswide. The survey was conducted in September 2015 via online interviews, with 216 teachers polled. This included 116 primary school and 100 secondary school teachers.
What follows is a summary of the research findings.
Steljes: “Technology will only continue to evolve and, as a result, its use in the classroom will also change.”
Technology has been used in education to some degree for the past few decades. The humble chalkboard and the overhead projector gave way to the whiteboard, and then the interactive whiteboard. But the evolution of technology didn’t stop there – instead desktop computers, laptops and even smartphones have made a steady appearance in the learning environment.
And while opinions of educators, parents and experts were initially divided on the use of technology assisted learning, the benefits of using different devices in the classroom are becoming clear. As an interactive technology specialist Steljes wanted to understand the way in which technology was being used in classrooms across the UK. The company commissioned an independent survey agency, Censuswide, to interview teachers from primary and secondary schools in the UK on their use of and attitude towards technology in the classroom.
The survey confirmed that interactive technology is used to good effect in the classroom. Users of interactive technology in the classroom were more or less evenly split in using it as an integrated part of teaching or using it now and then. 45 per cent of teachers said that it was an integrated part of their lessons that drove real learning outcomes, while 43 per cent indicated that they only used the technology on an ad hoc basis. Regardless of the frequency of use, both sets of respondents recognised the benefits of using interactive technology.
Not surprisingly, interactive whiteboards were the most used technology (82 per cent), followed by laptops (64 per cent), tablets (49 per cent) and interactive projectors (42 per cent). The conclusion was that interactive technology delivers an improved learning experience
Almost all of the teachers surveyed (97 per cent) said they agreed that interactive technology in the classroom delivers an improved learning experience. Only 3 per cent disagreed with the sample, equating to only six respondents. The survey asked about the specific benefits that the technology brought to the classroom, with nearly one in six (58 per cent) saying it increased engagement with students, while slightly more than half (53 per cent) indicating that it helped create a dynamic learning environment.
The survey revealed that teachers are not the best users of technology in the classroom. Three quarters of teachers felt their students were more technology savvy than they were. Given the ease with which children use technology and, considering the younger generations are considered so-called digital natives, this is hardly surprising. It does, however, highlight a potential need for more training for teachers and educators on both the use and benefits of different technologies in the classroom.
This is particularly relevant as 72 per cent of teachers felt that they weren’t using interactive technology to its full capability, with many identifying barriers like time, budget and lack of understanding that were holding back usage.
It is clear from the research that teachers believe interactive technology can deliver a better learning experience in the classroom — delivering benefits like improved engagement, accommodation of different learning styles and creating a dynamic learning experience. It also highlighted several barriers, the most important of which is a lack of teacher training.
Three quarters of teachers feel that their students are more tech savvy than they are, which may put them at a disadvantage when using the technology to prepare or deliver lessons. Other barriers include budget and lack of time in preparing content. Technology will only continue to evolve and, as a result, its use in the classroom will also change.
While the benefits of using interactive technology in the classroom may be clear, so too are the barriers to its full adoption and usage. To ensure that students and teachers are gaining the most benefit from these technologies, now and in the future, the barriers must be overcome.