Education insights | News
Measure edtech use and effectiveness in K-12 classroom for students success
October 21, 2022
It’s obvious that edtech usage has increased in schools since the start of the pandemic. But until now, there have been few attempts to quantify the shift on a large-scale.
Recently, State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released the results of their 2022 State EdTech Trends survey and report, tracking how “state education agencies and policymakers are adapting to a digital world post-pandemic while also identifying state priorities relating to technology and education.” The survey includes responses from SETDA members, state superintendents, and other senior state officials from all 50 states, plus Washington DC.
Understanding the state of edtech nationwide is important for K-12 school districts who want to ensure they are setting their students up for success after high school. Recognizing where gaps and opportunities exist can help districts make smart budget choices in the years to come.
Here are five important takeaways from the report:
1. Cybersecurity funding needs to become a higher priority
An alarming 70% of respondents reported that either their State Education Agency or at least one district in their state had been the victim of a cyber attack. Yet only 6% of respondents felt their states provided enough funding for cybersecurity. Cybersecurity was also one of the top three unmet technology needs respondents cited, along with training for educators to use instructional technology tools and funding.
Cyber criminals know that schools have been adding new technology without commensurate cybersecurity tools and resources in place to protect it. As states and districts set their budgets for the coming years, cybersecurity will need to become a bigger focus. Otherwise, schools may be forced to pay a higher financial penalty when cyber attacks succeed.
2. The education sector is still reeling from the pandemic
The top three education priorities cited were education recruitment, retention, and/or training; addressing learning loss; and equity. All three of these issues have been exasperated by the pandemic, which has led to reports of teacher burnout and challenges with teacher retention, increased learning loss, and increases in already prevalent equity gaps.
These deep-rooted challenges will not be solved overnight and may lead to more seismic shifts in the way education is structured. For example, some schools are turning to virtual teachers to supplement faculty needs while they figure out how to boost recruitment and retention. Some are also setting up tutoring programs and after-school study halls to help manage learning loss and provide greater technology access for kids who may not have it at home. Recovering from these challenges made worse by the pandemic will take time.
3. The next phase of edtech growth may center on optimization and efficacy
No respondents indicated that their state had too much edtech in place, but 57% felt they weren’t using the tech they had very effectively. Meanwhile, the top unmet technology need cited was training for educators to use instructional technology tools.
There are a number of ways districts can address training, including leveraging their schools’ learning management software to create online training hubs for teachers. These hubs can include self-serve courses that cover features and benefits of the major software programs being implemented. Schools may also need to allocate budget to bring in onsite training from edtech vendors. Relying on already-burdened IT teams and teachers to train people individually may no longer be a reasonable or realistic expectation.
4. There is room for more collaboration between State Education Agencies (SEAs), Local Education Agencies (LEAs), and school districts
Less than half of respondents said their SEA had direct conversations about the role of technology in supporting state priorities, leaving school districts to navigate these pressing challenges alone. Moreover, only 41% said that the people working on edtech at the state level were regularly included in broader technology planning and strategic conversations. There may be good reason for this — only 55% of states reported having a dedicated office for educational technology.
Technology strategy should be a universal priority for school districts today. This report sheds light on the opportunity that exists for SEAs to support their schools more actively with top-down technology recommendations and information sharing across districts. SEAs are in a unique position to understand what is and isn’t working for different districts and to share those insights with the state as a whole. Moreover, school districts may need to increase efforts to reach out to SEA edtech leaders, where they exist, and involve them in strategic conversations.
5. Data collection may need to become a bigger priority for LEAs and other stakeholders
When there are so many pressing issues to attend to, it’s understandable that SEAs, LEAs, and other stakeholders have not been focused on gathering data around edtech usage and success rates within their districts. According to respondents, 19 states currently do not collect any data about use or effectiveness of edtech tools, and only 8 states collect data about both use and effectiveness.
The problem with this lack of data is it enables school districts to continue spending budget on substandard or unnecessary products. It also makes it difficult for schools to identify when good products are being used ineffectively.
According to the report, one way to solve this is to invest pandemic-related government grant money into data collection and analysis: “The funding available through the American Rescue Plan presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in collecting the necessary information to inform how best to use technology effectively to support teaching and learning.”
How LanSchool and Lenovo can help
As an edtech vendor ourselves, we are committed to making a difference in education where we can:
- Our education bundle offerings help school districts stretch their budgets further across the categories of hardware, classroom management software, cybersecurity, and student wellness.
- LanSchool provides a complete library of product tutorials, making it easy for IT teams to launch the software and drive successful adoption.
- LanSchool Classic includes enterprise data collection that helps IT teams see whether LanSchool is effectively incorporated into the classroom on a school- or district-wide scale.
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