Edtech overload? Survey finds state education leaders could do more to help

Data on whether edtech programs and products are being used effectively is not universally collected, survey finds.

Officials in your state may be giving you and your educators adequate guidance—and financial support—in using school technology to its full potential. Only a few states, however, collect data on the effective use of school technology.

Billions of dollars are spent annually on edtech and those investments obviously skyrocketed during the pandemic. However, not all of the programs and products are being used effectively, and that information is not being universally collected, according to the 2022 State EdTech Trends Report, a survey of state education leaders just released by the State Educational Technology Directors Association.

These sentiments may indicate that educators in some districts are now becoming overwhelmed with ed-tech and that state officials could be offering more assistance. “Nobody thinks there’s too much technology in education, but only 8% of respondents think more edtech is needed,” the authors of the survey write.

SEDTA surveyed edtech directors, state superintendents, chiefs of staff, and other senior state officials. Here are the report’s major findings:

  1. Cybersecurity shortcomings: 70% percent of respondents said the state education agency or at least one district in the state was the victim of a cyberattack but more than half reported that their states provide “very little funding” for K-12 cybersecurity.
  2. Lack of focus on effective edtech: Half the respondents said schools have “a lot of edtech programs or products, but we don’t always use them effectively.” And only eight states report collecting data on the use and efficacy of school technology.
  3. Support structures? Just over half of states operate an educational technology office. The names of these offices, their roles and functions, and positions within state education agency organizational structures vary greatly.
  4. Connecting educational priorities and technological priorities: Many officials reported a gap between edtech priorities and state activities. Only 48% of the survey’s respondents agreed that their state education officials have explicit conversations about the role of technology in supporting state priorities.

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Answering these questions will help district and state leaders further demonstrate edtech’s potential to improve student learning and achievement.

Leaders are also now hoping to tackle some “next-level” ed-tech challenges, such as diversifying instruction through technology, cementing teachers’ confidence in using tech and integrating it into preservice programs, and developing sustainable infrastructure, the authors of the report said.

Attention, please: How rare is it for schools to allow cellphone use? 

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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