Study Finds Scarce Use of Technology for Learning in U.S. Classrooms

A new study released by AdvancEd found that, despite the rapid proliferation of technology tools and digital content, examples of technology being used to enhance student learning are barely evident in American classrooms.

The study by AdvancED, the country’s largest accrediting and school improvement organization, included over 140,000 direct classroom observations over three years. According to the report, while the use of technology is pervasive in almost all walks of life, “in the classroom, students are not actively using these technologies for learning.” AdvancED’s research found that “there are still relatively few classrooms in which the use of digital tools and technology is a regular part of a student’s school experience.” 

“AdvancED research has found that examples of technology being put to use by students to strengthen learning are barely evident in classrooms today” 

Among the troubling observations were that in only 20.1% of classrooms was the use of technology to gather, evaluate and/or use information for learning very evident. In fact, in over half of all classrooms observed, there was no evidence at all of technology being used in this manner. Moreover, in only 16% of classrooms was use of technology to conduct research, solve problems and/or create original works for learning very evident; in only 13.9% of classrooms was use of technology to communicate and work collaboratively for learning very evident.

These findings are troubling indeed. Consider the profound gap between students’ use of technology in and out of the classroom. According to the report, “Given that students are constantly using technology to communicate through chatting, blogging, emailing, texting and gaming, it is surprising that this routine part of students’ daily lives is not being leveraged for learning in their K-12 classrooms.” 

The AdvancED research shines new light on the widely-held view that integration of technology is becoming prevalent in the classroom. “While numerous surveys suggest that the pervasive use of tablets, smartphones, laptops and digital education content in the classroom is expanding and changing the role of teachers, the AdvancED study found little evidence of technology being used by students to strengthen learning in classrooms today.” The report notes that most prior analysis was based on teacher surveys rather than the comprehensive classroom observations on which this study was based. 

”Students thrive when the teacher requires technology use not only for researching and writing but also to solve problems, work collaboratively and develop creativity.” 

At Creative Learning Systems, we are dedicated to closing this technology gap in the classroom. Our SmartLab programs put technology directly in the hands of students through personalized, project-based learning. SmartLabs engage all learners with hands-on, minds-on applied technology and promote problem-solving, collaboration, communication and creativity. Learn more about SmartLabs at: 

Source: The Paradox of Classroom Technology: Despite Proliferation and Access, Students Not Using Technology for Learning – AdvancED research by Ludwig van Broekhuizen, Ph. D. Download the full AdvancED report here:


Marathon Oil to Fund SmartLab at Texas City High School

This fall, Texas City High School will have a brand new SmartLab thanks to the generosity of Marathon Petroleum Co. and their support of local education. The Marathon SmartLab complements the Blocker Middle School SmartLab funded by Valero Energy Corporation in 2013. Together, they provide Texas City ISD students with an opportunity to explore hands-on, project-based STEM education throughout their secondary school career.

Texas City ISD provides a national model for corporate support of local K-12 education. The Texas City ISD Foundation for the Future works closely with local business and community leaders in support of their schools. For their corporate partners, these STEM labs provide valuable publicity and help build a pipeline of future high school graduates with the skills to contribute to their organizations.

Creative Learning Systems is proud of its role in supporting this extraordinary public/private partnership. Learn more here.

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