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Teacher Techies

Educators are more tech-savvy today then they were just two years ago, according to a survey overseen by Project Tomorrow. The findings, based on feedback compiled from 35,525 teachers, reveal a substantial increase in educators' personal use of smart phones and Facebook, as well as a 50 percent jump in the use of podcast and videos in classroom instruction.

Another interesting revelation is that teacher interest in teaching an online class has grown by 76 percent since 2008. Homework also continues to be the number one way that teachers integrate technology use for student learning, above other methods such as note taking, providing feedback, or for facilitating group discussions.

The survey gathered the respondents' opinions on technology in three areas: mobile learning, online and blended learning, and digital content. Though the findings revealed that teachers are on board with the mobile learning trend, many still expressed concerns about student behavior that rises out of this type of instruction, such as the greater chance of students cheating on tests or becoming distracted with their electronic devices.

Based on the findings, the report concluded that even though teachers recognize the importance of technology for engaging student learning, staff capacity issues must be addressed in schools and more training and support for teachers must be offered before teachers are able to use technology for effective classroom instruction.

Besides teachers, others who were surveyed included students, parents, administrators, librarians, and technology leaders. The survey is part of Project Tomorrow's Speak Up series, which has been conducted annually since 2003. The goal of the series is to use the opinions and ideas gathered from educators and students in order to create new learning environments in schools.

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