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Survey gauges confidence in faculty’s ability to teach new technologies

Only half of parents and students believe in their schools’ ability to do a good job

by USC Annenberg staff

Do America’s schools have the tools and talent to train the next generation of technology users?

Only about half of parents and students say yes.

Barely a majority of parents and students think schools are up to the challenge of training the next generation of technology users.

Jeffrey Cole

A survey conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc. found that 56 percent of parents and students agree that the technological facilities in their schools are adequate.

The survey also found the same percentage of parents — but fewer students (46 percent) — agree that teachers are adequately preparing their children to use new technologies.

“America’s future is based on technology, yet barely a majority of parents and students think schools are up to the challenge of training the next generation of technology users,” said Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future.

“We believe that America can make great strides in improving education if a new generation of teachers from the Millennial generation — those born into using technology — has the opportunity to shape the next era of instruction,” Cole said.

Greg Bovitz, president of Bovitz Inc. and a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future, added: “It’s a clear case of digital adopters teaching digital natives. In the current classroom, the students have an innate advantage when it comes to technology.”

Millennial parents have less confidence

The survey found that the Millennial generation of parents have less confidence in either teachers or technology than do other respondents. Only 47 percent of parents who are Millennials (age 18-34) said teachers in their children’s schools are adequately preparing them to use new technologies, compared to 59 percent of non-Millennial parents. Fifty-one percent of Millennial parents said the technology in schools was adequate, compared to 56 percent of non-Millennial parents.

Perceptions of male and female students

The survey also reported differences in how male and female students perceive the technological facilities in schools and teachers’ abilities to educate about new technologies.

Sixty-five percent of male students vs. 50 percent of female students agreed that the technological facilities in their school are adequate. Fifty percent of male students compared to 43 percent of female students agree that the teachers in their school are adequately preparing them to use new technologies.

Survey background

Findings on the benefits and costs of technology were developed from the results of the Topical Survey, a new supplement to the center’s annual research study that covers issues such as privacy, social media use, use of technology at school, stress and technology, and norms regarding the presence of technology in social settings. The Topical Survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

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