Helping Teachers Embrace Digital Content

I am delighted to welcome you to the Weld North Blog! This blog will focus on tools, techniques, and tips from teachers for teachers who embrace technology in their commitment to transform teaching and learning in their classrooms. The promise of transformation through technology has been made in K–12 education countless times. Never before, though, have we been so close. The foundational pieces are there: devices, digital curriculum, and standards. But the last big piece is implementation. How do we get the right mix of digital tools, content, curriculum, and data into a repeatable, scalable, efficacy-based set of practices proven to help students master the skills they need?

Welcome, teachers.

Teachers are (and arguably always were) the key because no amount of technology and digital content can be successful unless it works in the classroom.

How do teachers feel about technology in their classrooms? Well, we know the members of Weld North’s Teachers Collective forum (TCF) embrace it fully. And a recent survey from Gallup and NewSchools Venture Fund* finds that many teachers want more of it.


Let’s look at a few of the key findings in the study:

More teachers want to use digital learning tools more often

  • About half of all teachers surveyed (53%) say they would like to use digital learning tools to teach more often.
  • About 6 in 10 teachers who use digital learning tools a few days per week or less say they would like to use them more often to teach.

Teachers see the benefits of technology

  • Among 15 possible selection criteria, teachers say that the most important factors for selecting digital learning tools for their classroom are:
    • Immediate and actionable data on students’ progress (35%)
    • Technology that allows for personalized instruction based on students’ skill levels (35%)
    • Tools that help engage students with school and learning (30%)
    • Digital solutions that are easy to use (30%)

Teachers embrace digital content that has quality instruction

  • The majority of teachers, principals, and administrators say digital learning tools support content that aligns with state standards or district initiatives.

We are not there yet, though. Digital solutions need to support the teacher more. Teachers need more evidence that these tools can work, and they need more training to help them implement effectively.

Less than 1/3 of teachers (27%) said they had a lot of information about the effectiveness of the digital tools they used. More than half of teachers (56%) cited lack of training as a "significant" or "extremely significant" problem. Nearly half say that some teachers believe non-digital tools are more effective. And 46% said the problem was that they weren't sure which tools to use.

This is where groups like the TCF can help—by providing insight into the ways digital curriculum and tools are working (and not working) for them. Those on the forefront, who are forging new methods of instruction through digital means, are invaluable to understanding how we can scale student success. Through the insights of teachers, we can help bridge the remaining gap to transformation.

For more information on Weld North or the Teachers Collective Forum, please contact admin@weldnorthed.com or explore this site.

 

*The NewSchools-Gallup survey was generated from a sample of 3,210 Pre-K through 12th-grade teachers, 1,163 principals, 1,219 district-level administrators, and 2,696 public school students. The surveys were conducted from January 29 to March 25, 2019. Access the full report to learn more.