Feb 28, 2013
A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and secondary school students finds that digital technologies have become central to their teaching and professionalization. At the same time, the internet, mobile phones, and social media have brought new challenges to teachers, and they report striking differences in access to the latest digital technologies between lower and higher income students and school districts.
Asked about the impact of the internet and digital tools in their role as middle and high school educators, these teachers say the following about the overall impact on their teaching and their classroom work:
The survey finds that digital tools are widely used in classrooms and assignments, and a majority of these teachers are satisfied with the support and resources they receive from their school in this area. However, it also indicates that teachers of the lowest income students face more challenges in bringing these tools to their classrooms:
ABOUT THE SURVEY
These are among the main findings of an online survey of a non-probability sample of 2,462 middle and high school teachers currently teaching in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, conducted between March 7 and April 23, 2012. Some 1,750 of the teachers are drawn from a sample of advanced placement (AP) high school teachers, while the remaining 712 are from a sample of National Writing Project teachers. Survey findings are complemented by insights from a series of online and in-person focus groups with middle and high school teachers and students in grades 9-12, conducted between November, 2011 and February, 2012.
Data collection was conducted in two phases. In phase one, Pew Internet conducted two online and one in-person focus group with middle and high school teachers; focus group participants included Advanced Placement (AP) teachers, teachers who had participated in the National Writing Project’s Summer Institute (NWP), as well as teachers at a College Board school in the Northeast U.S. Two in-person focus groups were also conducted with students in grades 9-12 from the same College Board school. The goal of these discussions was to hear teachers and students talk about, in their own words, the different ways they feel digital technologies such as the internet, search engines, social media, and cell phones are shaping students’ research and writing habits and skills. Teachers were asked to speak in depth about teaching research and writing to middle and high school students today, the challenges they encounter, and how they incorporate digital technologies into their classrooms and assignments.