What follows are excerpts from Learning in the 21st Century: Parents’ Perspectives, Parents Priorities from the Project Tomorrow project by Blackboard k-12. So, yes – Blackboard k-12 would like to see more technology in schools. And, yes – this eleven page report captures the thinking of a lot of parents regarding technology in schools. Please read these selections I am sharing here.
As you read what follows – put on your ‘parent’ or ‘citizen of the world hat’ and consider your thoughts related to this issue.
While parents, principals, and teachers told us technology is important for success, parents’ levels of satisfaction with specific technology uses in schools painted another picture. Project Tomorrow asked parents how satisfied they were with the use of technology at their children’s school. Almost one-half were satisfied with Internet safety and privacy of personal information; however, nearly 80 percent did not think that students spent enough time using technology. Their responses uncovered a noticeable lack of enthusiasm or understanding about the ways in which technology was implemented in the classroom:
• Only 35 percent found the amount of technology available for student use to be acceptable and only 33 percent thought that the use of technology for academic purposes was acceptable;
• 26 percent rated the quality of hardware and software as acceptable;
• Just 25 percent thought that schools placed the appropriate priority on technology;
• When it comes to teachers’ skills in using technology and the technology skills students were learning, approximately one-third of the parents found those to be acceptable;
• 20 percent did not know what technology was available at their children’s school.
Parents were dissatisfied as reflected in the data above and their students were dissatisfied as well. Parental perceptions may be influenced by what they hear from their children and thus, reflected in parents’ responses. Students in 6th-12th grades pinpointed these points of frustration:
• 31 percent of the students responded that not being able use their own computers or mobile devices was a barrier to learning;
• 11 percent stated that computers and other tech equipment simply was not available to them or the software is not good enough (14%);
• 35 percent stated that teachers were limiting their use of technology;
• 43 percent stated that school filters or firewalls blocked the websites they needed to use for assignments.
Parents Envision Improvement . . .
So if parents were less than enthusiastic about the ways schools are currently harnessing the power of technology, what did they think would improve the situation? Like their students, parents supported creating technology-rich environments for students and their responses indicated that they believed that teacher training and appropriate tools for teachers are important parts of the equation. First and foremost, they wanted their children to receive training about how to use technology for schoolwork (42 percent). Next, parents thought that classroom teachers should receive training about how best to integrate technology into instruction (41 percent) and the tools should be integrated into daily instruction (34 percent). Then, parents wanted schools to have enough technology for all students to use (38 percent) and that the products are current and high quality (33 percent).
Please click here and scroll down to this report and click on it to read the full report.