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Technology in the classroom – 3 things we learnt from teachers

Teachers often find the analogue alternative more appealing, says Laura McInerney...

  • Technology in the classroom – 3 things we learnt from teachers
  • Technology in the classroom – 3 things we learnt from teachers

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1 | Computer says no!

It’s a busy day at school. You’re getting observed. Of course, today’s the day the computer will fail, right? Actually, a lot of days have such failures, as our recent survey of Teacher Tapp users showed.

On any given work day, 44% of teachers reported at least one piece of technology had failed them. So if you had to reboot today, you’re unlikely to be alone.

Why is the rate so high? Maybe it’s because one in three teachers use Apple Mac laptops at home as their primary device, while schools almost uniformly use Windows devices. Could a lack of continuity in operating systems explain why teachers are more error-prone?

The aged nature of technology in schools can also be problematic, with computers grinding to a halt as their capacity is overloaded. On the upside, 26% said they felt excited at the possibility of being able to use new technology in their classrooms.

2 | Teachers prefer textbooks over chatbots

Never underestimate the joy of old-school analogue products for teachers. When offered the choice between three resources: an editable set of worksheets, textbooks, or an AI-driven chatbot for their classroom – only 15% of teachers said they wanted a chatbot and 46% wanted new textbooks.

Perhaps contrary to expectations, it was the creative and practical arts teachers who selected the chatbots at higher levels.

Most technology tends to target maths and science teachers, but that’s seemingly not where the appetite is!

That could possibly be because those teachers are less likely to use worksheets or textbooks, but it could also show their willingness to try new things.

Given that we recently found maths teachers are those most likely to use interactive whiteboards, but least likely to let pupils near the technology, it just goes to show how much the appetite for interactive pupil resources can vary by subject.

3 | Are pupils using computers in school?

Not that much! On a randomly selected day we found that 70% of classrooms had zero students using even a basic tablet or computer, never mind anything more advanced.

We asked people about the lesson they were teaching at, or nearest to 11am, and only 13% of teachers had an entire class using a device – a figure that included ICT/computing lessons.

In part, this will be due to there being insufficient access to computers and tablets. Most schools can’t afford a device for each pupil, and most won’t have the charging facilities to enable it, even if they could.

It could also be that teachers have become used to technology letting them down, and consequently prefer tech-free methods of teaching.

Indeed, 57% of teachers said they expect technology to fail when delivering a lesson where students need to use it – yikes!

For more snappy insights like this, and to be part of the panel, please join in via the free Teacher Tapp app – available to download for iOS and Android. You will learn something new every day.


Laura McInerney is an education journalist and co-founder of Teacher Tapp. Follow her on Twitter at @miss_mcinerney.

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