09/10/2012 04:12 pm ET Updated Sep 10, 2012

Technology In Schools: Poll Finds K-12 Teachers And Parents Support Greater Digital Use In The Classroom

A recent poll by the Leading Education by Advancing Digital Commission has found that the vast majority of K-12 teachers and parents support greater use of technology in education, and believe that school systems should do more to improve access.

The poll, which surveyed 883 parents and 812 public K-12 teachers, determined that 96 percent of teachers and 91 percent of parents think that applying technology to teaching and learning is important to the education of American students today. More than half of both audiences also believe that technology will play a much bigger role in educating students during the next decade.

Responses also indicated that the country is somewhat or far behind the curve when it comes to American public schools’ use of technology in education, especially when compared to other parts of the economy.

When it comes to investing in resources for students, 89 percent of teachers and 76 percent of parents would rather spend $200 per pupil on an Internet-connected device, than $200 for new science textbooks for each student.

However, teacher responses also highlighted potential problems associated with the implementation of said technology; 82 percent feel they are not receiving the necessary training to use technology to its fullest potential in the classroom.

According to the poll’s results, an overwhelming percentage of both parents and teachers believe that home access to high-speed Internet provides students with a significant advantage in the classroom. On that note, low-income parents place a greater emphasis on successfully integrating technology into their children’s education, seemingly because they are less likely to have access to broadband Internet at home.

More of the poll's findings:

Teachers and parents believe that technology can play a very helpful role in addressing many of the most important goals for improving education today, particularly with regard to these items:
  • Providing more individualized and flexible learning
  • Offering more hands-on learning opportunities
  • Helping students become more engaged in their own learning
  • Making closer connections between the classroom and the real world
  • Exposing students to experts outside the classroom and different perspectives on issues

Furthermore, both parties acknowledge the degree to which technology can better enable teachers to provide faster feedback to students.

While the use of technology in the classroom has been on the rise across the country, low-income schools in particular have found themselves on the wrong end of the digital divide.

"It's an obstacle," Karen Cator, director of the Office of Educational Technology in the U.S. Department of Education, said in June. "We do need to figure out ways that students, regardless of Zip code, regardless of their parents' income level, have access" to technology inside and outside of schools.