EdTech Isn't Optional, It's Essential

Infographic on data from a national online survey of preK-12 teachers and administrators in the U.S.

June 21, 2013
Seeta Pai

CATEGORIES Common Sense News, Research & Studies, Technology Integration

How important do you think it is for teachers to use educational technologies in the classroom? During this school year, how often do you or your students use [insert type of educational technology] in your classroom? What are the biggest challenges to integrating educational technologies in schools? 

These are some of the questions we asked in a national online survey of teachers and administrators, conducted for Common Sense Education by Harris Interactive in May 2013. And here are some of the answers.

EdTech isn't optional, it's essential. An overwhelming majority of teachers (86%) and administrators (93%) think it's "important" or "absolutely essential" to use products (such as apps, computer games, websites, digital planning tools, or digitally delivered curricula) designed to help students or teachers. Almost all teachers (between 87% and 96%) agree the use of educational technologies increases student engagement in learning, enables personalized learning, improves student outcomes, and helps students collaborate. And 9 out of 10 teachers agree they would like to use more edtech in the classroom.

But demand outstrips usage. Despite their enthusiasm for edtech, far fewer teachers report using it frequently. Weekly, only:

  • 19% of teachers use subject-specific content tools
  • 31% of teachers use information/reference tools
  • 24% of teachers use teacher tools
  • 14% of teachers use digital curricula

And only 1 in 9 are implementing 1:1 or BYOD (bring your own device) programs.

Funding, Access, Time, and Training. What's in the way? The usual suspects. Teachers and administrators agree that the biggest challenges to integrating edtech in schools include funding, insufficient tech infrastructure, lack of time to implement, and training.

It's tough to find the good stuff. Three quarters of all teachers agree it's at least somewhat difficult to find out about high quality educational technologies for instruction, student learning, or classroom management. And a third spend an hour or more each week researching products to use. That's a minimum of half a day each month!

Get the scoop from our infographic, and stay tuned for a full report on the study later this summer.

What's your edtech setup and how do you find the best stuff? Register to post your comments. 

edtech use


University Of Maryland
College Park, MD
I agree with the "usual suspects." Focusing on the lack of time and training, edtech companies should work more closely to ensure that products are 1) trial tested prior to purchase 2) appropriately launched and used by implementers.
Audrey Carballo
Classroom teacher
Bob Graham Education Center
Miami Lakes, FL
Training is usually so broad spectrum, it's hard to pare it down to my subject area of music. There's tons of apps out there which the system will never allow me to use because of their filters. And, that's a shame. YouTube is an amazing teaching tool. I'm not on it trying to find out how dogs procreate. I want to use it to show actual lessons. To find those resources other places would take many, many hours. One of the best resources I've found are the kids themselves. They've got tons of time to seek out apps and test them out to see if they work. I ask for weekly suggestions and whoever gives me the best app, gets a prize.