New Research Shows How Teachers Adapt to Rapidly Changing Technology

A new study titled The Common Sense Census: Inside the 21st-Century Classroom examines how rapidly changing technology affects K-12 teaching practices. The results show that most educators have adapted their teaching to address healthy use of technology with students but are often hindered when it comes to incorporating new technologies into the classroom.

A major focus of the study was how teachers work with students on digital citizenship, or the utilization of technology in order to engage in society. Approximately six out of 10 survey respondents use some type of digital citizenship curriculum or resource with students in their classrooms.

Nearly 70 percent teach an entire course on the subject. More than 40 percent of educators say they talk to students about media literacy. Digital drama, cyberbullying, hate speech, and privacy and safety are other popular subjects when teaching digital citizenship.

The vast majority of educators, at nearly 91 percent, believe these efforts are at least “moderately” effective in helping students make responsible and ethical decisions online.

While survey respondents generally agreed that technology is a good way to engage students, professional development and training in this area appears to be lacking. One-third of teachers say they have never or rarely use a technology product provided to them by their school or district.

Video streaming services such as YouTube, SchoolTube, and Netflix were cited as the most common digital tool in classrooms, with 60 percent of educators saying they utilize them.

For teachers in underserved communities, student access to technology continues to be a challenge. Approximately 12 percent of teachers [MCB1] from the study reported that a majority of their students do not have home access to the internet or a computer. The teachers who reported this were more likely to serve in Title I schools, according to the research.

The report was produced by Common Sense, a nonprofit organization dedicated to digital well-being and healthy technology use for kids and families. Over 1,200 K-12 teachers completed a national survey that contributed to the results of the study.