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Aspiring Teachers Outpace Current Ones in Tech. Use, Survey Finds

By guest blogger Mike Bock

Aspiring teachers are using social media and online resources at much higher rates than current teachers to develop their skills as educators, a new report concludes.

The report focuses on ways teacher candidates use technology in their training. For example, nearly 50 percent of students in college teaching programs use online podcasts and videos to aid their studies, and 58 percent took an online class at some point in their academic careers.

social media chart.png"This increased access and familiarity that aspiring teachers have with emerging collaboration and organization tools in their personal lives translates into a more self-directed approach for their own professional development," the report concludes.

The survey also asked principals about how they expect teachers to use technology. Seventy-five percent of principals said they expect teachers to be able to leverage technology "to create authentic learning experiences", and 82 percent of principals said they want teachers to use technology to communicate with students and parents.

The survey, which was commissioned by Washington-based Blackboard Inc. and Irvine, Calif.-based educational nonprofit Project Tomorrow, polled 1,350 education students from colleges and universities around the country, 59 percent of whom were undergraduates under the age of 23, as part of the annual Speak Up report.

The findings from Project Tomorrow's report build on previous reports about teachers' digital habits, such as the National Association of State Boards of Education's report, "Born in Another Time: Ensuring Educational Technology Meets the Needs of Students Today—and Tomorrow", which examined how teachers use technology in the classroom, and found less-than-desirable results.

The NASBE report concluded that many teacher-preparation programs fail to give teachers the tech skills they need, partly because they instead focus heavily on other priorities such as pedagogical theory. My colleague Sean Cavanagh wrote a more detailed recap of the report, which you can find here.

A survey from PBS LearningMedia released Monday found that 60 percent of teachers—and 75 percent from low-income schools—indicated they would like to have more classroom technology. In addition, the survey found that teachers generally view technology as a "teaching tool" rather than an "administrative tool" or a "self-learning tool used by students." Read my colleague Liana Heitin's summary of the survey here.

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