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Today’s students are digital natives, meaning they were born with sophisticated technology, and will never know what it’s like to live without it. Digital literacy, however, demands more than just understanding how to use technology; it requires the ability to think about the information at a student’s fingertips, as well as how to judge a source for accuracy. Moreover, the endless options students have available are better curated by skilled instructors who can help navigate this sometimes-overwhelming technology and Internet age. Research showed that teachers felt one of the most important features in a classroom learning space is the incorporation of technology. Technology has the power to transform education, make it more personalized, and to easily supplement the textbook curriculum as needed.

How Important Teachers felt the Incorporation of Technology is in their Classroom

Technology Considerations in Completed Construction or Renovation by School Type

With respect to completed construction or renovation across different school types, one of the most mentioned considerations that were part of that process included accommodating new technologies, especially among teachers from senior high schools (48%).

Technology Modifications

Teachers were asked what types of tangible modifications were made in completed construction or renovation projects. They were also asked what modifications should be made in schools that need improvement. The top noted modifications among all respondents included technology improvements, power and Internet accessibility, and the addition of smartboards. Smartboards were included in the question because they not only function as a whiteboard/chalkboard, but provide a variety of technological features offering ample opportunities for interactive learning.

Technology Modifications in Desired Projects by School Type

Power and Internet accessibility selections increased with grade level, with the fewest selections by elementary school respondents (51% compared with 58% overall) and the most from those at the senior high level (71% compared with 58% overall). Senior high school teachers were the least likely to want new or improved makerspaces (29% compared with 31% overall).

Dave Jenkins, Director of Operations at EHOVE Career Center17 had this to say about senior high school teachers desiring power and Internet upgrades: “It makes sense that senior high school teachers would request updated flexible power more than those from younger grade schools. In lower grades, most schools have implemented technology using the cart model, while middle and high schools have implemented 1:1 take-home programs. The increased power also allows for STEM-related technology items and maker-spaces.”

Key takeaways

Classroom teachers want technological improvements: Planning spaces with technology in mind is key, especially since it has become a ubiquitous part of education, from organizing data to personalized learning capabilities. It is no surprise that over 70% of teachers who think a renovation is necessary in their schools mentioned technology as a desired modification.

Fast and consistent Internet access is critical to keeping technology-rich schools functioning. MDR’s Teacher Talk Technology report indicated that 77% of teachers nationwide have access to wireless Internet in most places on their campuses for both teachers and students.19 In terms of Internet speed, however, only 5% believed that the Internet access provided by their school was “lightning fast,” although 75% reported that their Internet was good enough or better than average. About one-in-five indicated that their school’s Internet speed was slow. There is still room for improvement in many schools across the U.S.

About this Research and Methodology

State of the K-12 Market 2018: The Impact of Learning Spaces on Student Success, is based on an online survey conducted by MDR, with a nationwide sample of K-12 public school educators. Teachers and librarian/media specialists were sent an email invitation to take the survey and 1,685 completed it. Data collection occurred from May 24 through June 17, 2018. Respondents were asked if their school had undergone a construction or renovation in the past five years, or if their school has a renovation planned in the near future. If neither was the case, they were asked if their school is in need of a renovation. Throughout the report, how the respondents answered this question will be referenced for perspective. Nearly one-fourth of the respondents work in schools planning a renovation, over one-third reported construction took place recently, and nearly two-thirds believe their school needs construction or a renovation in the next five years. This points to the importance teachers place on having modern, updated learning spaces in which to teach. Learn more about MDR Education reports at mdreducation.com

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