I was sent this infographic by Paul on behalf of Adobe who together with Interface Magazine conducted a survey of 280 educators across New Zealand.
Further findings can be found on this Interface page.
Interface Adobe ICT in Schools
What are the implications of this for schools?
In a year just over half of the schools in NZ will have Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) giving 60% of students and teachers fast access to internet. So then the following questions need to be asked...
Do schools have the necessary equipment and infrastructure to access it?
Will all teachers make good use of it?
Does the rest of the community have the same access?
In one small country town I know, they already have UFB in the school, but the houses down the same road cannot get internet at all. Those teachers want to use online applications like Google Docs with their students and colleagues but they all have no access to it in their own homes.
Educators are saying that students will be able to be more self directed, they can create multimedia projects, online resources will be more available, and wider collaboration opportunities can be used. For the teachers who can manage this learning it will be a godsend, for the majority who can't it won't make any difference. As with all of the other barriers listed the same problems exist with the addition of Bring your own Device (BYOD), a great idea in theory... if your network can support the influx of devices and if the teachers are confident and knowledgeable enough to allow the students to use the devices in the classrooms. I am regularly seeing school networks struggling with the flood of extra devices whether it is through BYOD or the mass purchase of iPads.
I would contest the last finding of only 25% of teachers saying there is a digital divide between them and students. I would argue that the percentage is much higher than that and would like to see a survey result using a larger sampling. I still regularly have those discussions with some teachers, most who are excellent practitioners, who tell me that they don't need this equipment forced upon them, they didn't ask for it and they can't see how it is going to make any difference.
These teachers are scared of the technology, they are nervous when children are using devices, they don't understand how they are using them and feel they have lost control of their students to the internet.
As with all advents with technologies making their way into school, what often is the case is that there is not enough Professional Development (PD) with teachers to show how these tools can be used. It is not just the internet anymore, it is Digital Citizenship, Cyber Safety, social networking, cloud computing...all words and phrases that are terrifying to a lot of teachers.
So let's do it right this time, provide PD to teachers that will give them the knowledge, understandings and tools to be confident social networkers, who know how to be safe online, can use online resources and can positively include these tools in their teaching and learning practice.