As children become more “plugged in”, principals have been tasked with a difficult decision—how can educators use these devices while also balancing their potentially harmful effects. While technology can help prepare students for success in school and beyond, things like screen time and social media are weighing heavily on principals’ minds as they decide whether to invest in more tech-based products.
When it comes to using technology for personalized learning, most principals are on board. A recent study conducted by Education Week Resource Center found 28% of school principals felt the personalized learning movement was a “transformational way to improve public education” and 31% said personalized learning is one of the many school improvement strategies available to public schools.
This data shows school principals are interested in learning more about the tech solutions available to them, but are still hesitant to make an investment. This is likely because of ongoing challenges faced in keeping up with technology and concerns about how these tools will impact students both in and out of the classroom.
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to bringing technology into the classroom is screen time. While 64% of principals felt students were spending an appropriate amount of time on screens in school, 95% of them felt students were getting too much screen time at home.
Striking a balance with screen time can be challenging. However, not all technology-based innovations are fully reliant on screens. Companies like Robo Wunderkind are finding ways to help students learn more about robotics with hands-on blocks and engaging lesson plans for grades K-4.
Screen time isn’t the only thing that principals are concerned about when it comes to students and technology. In that same study, 58% of principals were moderately to extremely concerned about students using social media during the school day, and 55% are extremely concerned about their student social media usage outside of school.
With cyber-bullying and internet-based crime on the rise, it’s no surprise that educators and school administrators have concerns. The good news is that as these problems arise, tech companies are working to find new and innovative solutions. For example, companies like GoGuardian have created software that monitors student’s internet usage to look for warning signs of suicidal ideation and self-harm. Including more of these software programs in school helps teachers monitor student’s digital activity, reach students who may be struggling, and play a more proactive role in preventing harmful behaviors online.
While there are some concerns around tech in schools, the opportunities these products provide for students are invaluable. With computers playing an integral role in the way society learns and communicates, technology is necessary for providing students with a well-rounded education.
Technology isn’t just important for education now, it’s vital when it comes to preparing students for future careers. According to the United States Department of Labor, technology based occupations are set to account for nearly 550,000 new jobs by 2028.
When asked about integrating computer science into public schools, 66% of principals responded positively, with 45% of those polled citing it as part of a well-rounded curriculum. Principals are beginning to understand how vital computer and coding skills are for preparing students for the future. However, many may be hesitant to invest in these tools if they feel they can only be used to teach one subject or lesson. Reminding principals and other administrators that STEAM/STEM products can be used across curriculum can help them feel more confident about their decision to invest in the latest technology. To learn more about how STEAM is being implemented into all areas of curriculum, check out our recent post.
In 2020, it’s understandable that public school principals have concerns when it comes to implementing new technology into classrooms. Current research suggests that principals want to add in these new tools and services, they just need a little more information on the products available to help students stay safe and reach their fullest learning potential. Curious to know how teachers feel about new technology in the classroom? Check out our post!
What are some technology-based tools you are excited to start seeing in schools?