Study shows Canadian teachers very positive about technology in their classrooms, while facing challenges to successful implementation
Ottawa (March 24, 2016) – As part of its ongoing study Young Canadians in a Wired World, MediaSmarts, Canada's centre for digital and media literacy, partnered with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) and its Member organizations to survey online more than 4,000 teachers across Canada about technology use in their classrooms. The findings, released in the report Connected to Learn: Teachers' Experiences with Networked Technologies in the Classroom, show a high adoption of various technologies in Canadian classrooms, while highlighting the challenges and barriers for teachers and students alike.
“Teachers understand the importance of ensuring that young Canadians learn the digital literacy skills they need to participate in the workforce and in society as engaged, responsible citizens,” said MediaSmarts Co-Executive Director Jane Tallim. “We hope these findings will be used to inform policy and practice to support them in achieving these goals.”
CTF believes networked technologies can contribute to a rich learning environment for students. “However, we need to carefully examine the relationship between pedagogy, curriculum and technology and to find ways how new technologies can support daily teaching practice for student learning, our top priority,” said CTF President Heather Smith.
The findings show that overall, 97 percent of teachers said their schools provide them with at least one type of networked device such as desktop computers, laptops, notebooks, Smart Boards or tablets. This suggests teachers are not only teaching students how to use the technology but also enabling the use of technology for learning. This is supported by previous research with students conducted in 2013 as part of the Young Canadians in a Wired World study.
How do teachers feel about the role of technology in the classroom? For the most part, quite positive: 79 percent agree networked devices made it easier for students to learn, and 74 percent agree such devices helped them match their instructional practice to students’ learning styles.
However, many teachers still face roadblocks in using networked devices to their fullest potential. Lack of support, professional development and up-to-date software were cited as major challenges. Furthermore, 83 percent of teachers said their school IT systems had blocked access to educational sites, and 19 percent said this happened frequently. Overall, half of Canadian teachers surveyed said they receive insufficient support to use new technologies to meet curricular goals.
Results from this study support findings from a 2012 CTF national survey of elementary and secondary teachers that highlighted a number of conditions required to make the use of new and emerging technologies more effective in the classroom. Conditions include on-going teacher professional learning on the best ways to use new technologies to support student learning, and increased teacher professional autonomy to determine when and how to use these technologies to support learning.
MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. Its vision is that young people have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens. MediaSmarts offers hundreds of digital and media literacy resources for teachers, parents and educators on its website mediasmarts.ca. @mediasmarts
Founded in 1920, CTF is a national alliance of Member organizations representing nearly 200,000 teachers across Canada. CTF is also a member of Education International (@eduint) which represents 30 million educators around the world. Follow CTF on Twitter:@CanTeachersFed and @EnseigneCanada.
Alex Hosselet, Marketing and Communications Manager, MediaSmarts
613-224-7721, ext. 231, firstname.lastname@example.org
Francine Filion, Communications Director, CTF