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Is technology more important than textbooks?

30 Mar 16

A new survey out of the US has found open educational resources are used more often in the classroom that textbooks.

TES Global has released the findings of its second annual Teachers and Technology survey. For the second year in a row, the survey revealed near saturation of education technology; however, 2016 figures show that adoption of open educational resource in particular appears to be accelerating, with 73% of survey respondents reporting that they now use open resources more often than textbooks.

According to TES Global, adoption of OER has been buoyed by teacher word-of-mouth, as well as recent regulatory shifts.

This year's survey also provides a window into the uses of technology in the classroom. The data suggests that application of technology is broadening beyond its historic focus on intervention and remediation, and that adoption of online communication tools has reached a tipping point.

They survey found 84% of respondents are using technology to deliver whole-group instruction; 74% use it for differentiated instruction.  Seventy percent of teachers report that they are using technology to communicate with parents, reflecting a perennial focus on parent engagement - and confirming the broad-based adoption of online tools like Remind and ClassDojo.

The survey found the majority (93%) agrees that technology has most impacted the way they approach time management, as well as instructional delivery (88%).

Access to hardware also appears to be accelerating. This year's survey highlights an increase in access to hardware, and a substantial drop in connectivity challenges.

The survey found just 27% indicated that they lacked enough computers and tablets, although 37% say this is still the most wanted technology in their classroom.

Of the U.S respondents, 16% claim that internet connectivity is a barrier to successful use of technology in the classroom, compared to 35% in 2015.

Twenty five percent of the teachers surveyed would most like to see game-based technology in their classroom above any other single technology, including laptops.

Ten percent of teachers would most like to see virtual or augmented reality headsets enter the classroom, a 5% increase from last year.

"We are thrilled to see improvements around access to technology and high-quality open resources," explains Rob Grimshaw, chief executive officer of TES Global.

"Arming teachers with the tools they need to succeed is the right way to ensure that innovative technologies can impact student performance."

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