What do educators really want from technology today?

Over the years, DiamondIT has worked with hundreds of K-12 schools in improving their IT infrastructure, as well as updating their hardware and software.  As such, we have heard numerous testimonials from educators and school IT pros about their technology needs when looking to invest or upgrade technology. The main IT requirements identified for area schools were affordability; ease-of-use; workability and excellent customer service.

Recently, Education Week put out a Market Brief report that looked at many of these same issues.

As the technology giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Scholastic and others vie for education market share, Education Week surveyed over a 1,000 K-12 teachers and administrators to learn what educators are looking for when investing in technology to teach, inspire and engage their students.

Let’s take a look at some of the results:

Educators/Administrators are investing in technology over the next year.

  • The Education Week survey reported that 70% of administrators interviewed expect their investments in educational technology to grow over the next year.

So, which tech giant is taking the educational market share?

  • The Education Week survey found that Google for Education is taking the lead in the hearts and minds of educators. The Education Week report cites, “More than half of educators would choose Google. Just 13% favored the next most popular option, Apple Education. And 9% would hire Scholastic…”
  • The reason that Google came out ahead, according to 52% of educators, is that Google products are perceived as easy to use, affordable, and innovative. “It is compatible with other educational sites and easy for students to access at home,” a Houston-area teacher wrote in the Education Week survey. “Many children don’t have computers, and Google makes it easy to do assignments from their phones.”

And what hardware and software are favored by educators?

  • The Education Week report conveyed that 90% of administrators expect to increase their investment in Google Chromebooks and 40% of educators responded that Chromebooks are what they are using in classrooms – a 27% rise over PC laptops.
  • The next-closest competitor is the iPad.
  • In addition, the study also reported that more than two-thirds of educators use Google’s G-Suite and/or Classroom most often for school-related purposes, while 17% use Microsoft Office 365 and/or Classroom.

  • That said, while Chromebooks are seeing a rise in popularity, Education Week wrote that educators are still concerned with issues around privacy, security, and durability of Chromebooks.
  • In addition, in terms of what devices can support student achievement, Education Week reported that educators’ perceptions of Chromebooks are slightly less favorable than of other devices used in U.S. classrooms such as PC laptops and iPads.

Engaging Students – iPads Win Out:

  • The Education Week survey found that when it comes to engaging students, Apple Education stands out. “…Upwards of 80 percent of frequent iPad users say the devices help improve student engagement, compared with 64 percent of frequent Chromebook users.

What Do We Make of This?

The technology landscape is ever evolving and the popular software or hardware of today can change in a millisecond.  While some may look at this survey as a windfall for Google for Education, the bigger picture is this: as solution providers we need to look beyond just the brand (as there are many excellent educational technology solutions in the marketplace today) and turn our efforts into supporting the specific goals of each school or district.

The overarching end game is always the same: student achievement. It is up to us to work with educators to find right the combination technology solutions that will help prepare students for an amazing future.

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DiamondIT has successfully helped hundreds of schools with their technology needs – whether it be investing in infrastructure to upgrades in hardware and software. DiamondIT can also help educational institutions navigate the intricacies of the funding process for IT services. For more information on what DiamondIT can do for your school or district, please contact  www.diamondIT.pro.