- 98% of educators use digital tools at work, with educators with ten years or less of teaching experience saying they had more confidence in using the tools but committed less time to using them each week compared to their more experienced counterparts, according to the 2017 Educator Confidence Report released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
- Nearly one-third of teachers reported that a lack of professional development in these subjects was of great concern to them, and 48% of surveyed educators said that classroom coaching was particularly beneficial in terms of helping them understand educational technology in a more effective manner.
- However, 86% of those surveyed saying they had spent their own money on some form professional development around tech training. Professional development was seen as being second only to informal discussion with colleagues in terms of what was most beneficial for self-education in utilizing digital tools.
The notion that younger individuals may be more familiar with tech tools, and therefore require less professional development and time with them, is an idea which could be leveraged to not only cut costs on formal training, but provide leadership opportunities for newer teachers in the school. Educators reported that they often gleaned the most insight from “informal discussions” with colleagues; tapping younger educators as points of reference for staff could benefit both age groups — teachers with experience but less knowledge of digital tools would have a consistent resource on the faculty with whom they could brainstorm and troubleshoot issues. Newer teachers could benefit from this additional, albeit informal, responsibility as it introduces them into the school community and culture in an organic, unobtrusive manner.
Additionally, school leaders could look to students as another potential source of professional development for digital tools and techniques. Last year, at Creekside Middle School in Patterson Unified School District near San Francisco, CA, students had the opportunity to engage with their teachers about how they could use the new tech for classroom instruction. The opportunities are numerous; better communication can be established between teachers and students, and students may feel more invested in the school if they feel like they have contributed to its’ success in a tangible manner.