Pencils? Check. Paper? Check. Whiteboard? Check. Technology? Big check. Today’s teachers are increasingly using technology in one form or another in their classrooms. In 2019, just before the pandemic hit, Common Sense Education released their report “The common sense census: Inside the 21st-century classroom.” They surveyed 1,200 K-12 educators to explore “what it takes to support teachers and prepare students as schools navigate the growing presence of technology.”
The completed report details how teachers, primarily in elementary and middle school settings, used technology in their classrooms.
As reported in The Journal, 95% of respondents indicated they used technology in their classrooms. The most-used tool, 60% said, were video streaming services such as YouTube, with productivity and presentation tools, including Google G Suite for Education and Microsoft Office, coming in a close second at 54%.
Social media ranked as the least favorite technology, with only 13% of teachers saying they used it in their classrooms.
What’s perhaps more interesting is that some of the least-used tools were ranked by teachers as being the most effective for engaging their students in the learning process. These included:
- Health and wellbeing tools: used by 25% but were rated effective by 75%
- Digital creation tools: used by 25% but were rated effective by 73%
- Assistive technology: used by 29% but was rated effective by 69%
What was perhaps the most unexpected result was that 24% of those surveyed said they thought assistive technology gives students who use it an “unfair” advantage over those who don’t.
As technology makes greater inroads into the educational market, 80% of teachers reported having computing devices in their classrooms, with 40% having 1-1 devices and 30% using one device for five or fewer students. Sixteen percent of classrooms were “bring your own device” learning centers, with the percentage being higher (20%) in affluent areas than those in non-affluent areas (13%).
Fully 12% of teachers said the majority of their students didn’t have access either to a computer or the internet at home, a statistic that would become more significant in early 2020 when the country went into COVID lockdown and education moved entirely to remote learning.
Two years later, as schools are mostly returning to in-person learning, the lessons of how to more effectively use technology in the classroom are coming to the forefront. So, readers, how do you see technology in the classroom today? Do you feel it’s more or less important than in 2019 when the survey was completed? And what path do you think educators should take to incorporate — or not incorporate — technology into classrooms at all levels? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.
 Vega, V., and Robb, M. B. (2019). “The Common Sense census: Inside the 21st-century classroom.” Common Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/the-common-sense-census-inside-the-21st-century-classroom-2019.
 Nagal, David. (May 8, 2019). “How Teachers Use Technology in the Classroom.” thejournal.com. Retrieved from https://thejournal.com/articles/2019/05/08/how-teachers-use-technology-in-the-classroom.aspx.