A majority (86 percent) of educators believe that technology needs in schools will increase over the next three years, according to a recent survey by the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Human Development and the EdTech Evidence Exchange, a nonprofit affiliated with the university.
With the sudden shift to remote learning due to COVID-19, achievement gaps among students in U.S. schools widened. But technology may be a key resource for addressing that challenge and its lasting impact on student learning, educators said.
“The results of this research underscore the critical role that technology must play in helping schools provide individualized — and equitable — instruction in the coming months,” Dr. Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education and board chair of the EdTech Evidence Exchange, said in a press release. “In the wake of the pandemic, it’s become more urgent than ever that we work to better understand what technologies work in what contexts — so that schools and districts can select and implement edtech in ways that can improve learning outcomes and mitigate persistent racial and socioeconomic disparities.”
Key Remote Learning Insights to Consider from Last Spring
The survey asked nearly 800 teachers and administrators nationwide about their remote learning experiences in the spring and their needs moving forward. Here are other takeaways from the report:
- COVID-19 had a negative impact on students’ academic learning: 76 percent of educators said the pandemic had a fair amount, a lot or an extreme amount of negative impact on student learning, making it the top challenge for educators. Educators also noted that they struggled with job stress and mental health.
- Schools should prioritize individualization: 82 percent of educators surveyed said students will need more individualized instruction to meet their needs.
- Teachers need more professional learning opportunities: 27 percent of teachers reported participating in a formal professional development session for technology-based remote instruction while 56 percent said they relied on informal, self-initiated learning.
- Learning from others is essential: 53 percent of teachers said they want to get information from educators in contexts similar to theirs to make the best decisions about selecting or implementing edtech.