As we wrap up summer and resume the rigor of strategic planning, this is an ideal time to reflect on recent trends in our schools. Below, Sarah Van Duyn, Managing Content Director of K-12 Education Practices at Hanover Research, reflects on trends in technology research requests across the K-12 landscape.
1. Evaluating classroom technologies: School districts have made significant technology purchases in recent years, based on the assumption that these technologies will lead to more engaged learners, facilitate students’ acquisition of technology skills, and lead to cost efficiencies. Following the district-level implementation of classroom technologies, districts are now beginning to plan for rigorous evaluations of these technologies.
Classroom technology program evaluations should include quantitative and qualitative measures that examine the efficacy of the technologies to promote teaching and learning.
- Qualitative measures used in technology evaluations may include school documents (such as student work samples and curricula), as well as student, teacher, administrator, and parent surveys.
- Quantitative measures used in technology evaluations may include student performance data and data regarding the amount of time spent using classroom technologies.
Combined, these qualitative and quantitative measures can provide districts with critical information regarding the benefits of classroom technologies, as well as areas in which the district can refine technology implementation to improve teaching and learning.
2. Best practices in transitioning to digital textbooks: The replacement of hard textbooks with digital textbooks provides school districts with exciting new opportunities to enhance learning and prepare students for the 21st century workplace. For many districts, however, this transition is a huge change that requires a comprehensive implementation plan.
Research-based best practices for digital textbook transitions can help districts think through critical digital textbook implementation considerations, including device selection and acquisition, school network speed and access point needs, adequate IT support, learning management system integration, and professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators. These best practices must then be transformed into system-wide practices and policies that support sustainable transitions to digital textbooks. For additional information, see our recent report on digital content in the classroom, which explores practices, challenges, and opportunities associated with the transition to an all‐digital learning environment in a 1:1 Chromebook school.
3. Professional development for technology integration: The need for effective professional development has long been a hot topic of conversation for school districts. Recently, the increasing use of technology in the classroom has re-framed the professional development conversation to include new ways to support teachers in the integration of technology in instructional practices. Effective technology integration requires a cultural shift away from traditional instructional practices and towards technology-based instructional practices designed to improve learning. To facilitate this cultural shift, districts are looking towards learner-centered professional development opportunities for teachers that include collaborative learning environments, online repositories of tutorials and lesson plans, and coaching.
The key to successful professional development is to provide ongoing, customized support to teachers, rather than one-off or infrequent professional development opportunities. Frameworks such as the TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) or the International Society for Technology Education’s Essential Conditions may also be used to structure districts’ strategic planning for ongoing professional development that facilitates the integration of technology into teaching and learning. For further resources to help educators adapt to new technological advances, see this article on 7 PD tips for your instructional technology integration plan.
Bio: Sarah Van Duyn is a Managing Content Director of K-12 Education Practices at Hanover Research. Sarah has been serving Hanover’s partners for over four years and holds an MBA and an MA in Education from the University of Michigan, and a B.S. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University.