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Teacher Training Needed to Meet Technology Needs in Classrooms

China tops the United States in technology integration in schools.

High school students want more technology integration in classrooms, a recent study shows.
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As more students grow up as digital natives, there is a greater need for high schools to adapt to technology changes. In a recent study by Dell, which surveyed 1,575 high school and college students, teachers, and parents in the United States, China, and Germany, 9 in 10 respondents said technology helps students' abilities to learn. But 82 percent across the globe also noted that technology needs to play a bigger role in classrooms.

While all three nations universally agree on the importance of technology in schools, China trumps the United States and Germany when it comes to using it in the classroom. According to the study, 53 percent of Chinese students reported that devices are integrated throughout their curriculum, compared with only 29 percent of U.S. students and 27 percent of German students.

[See why high school grads in China are more prepared for college.]

Chinese students also stated that they spend more time on computers or mobile devices during school hours, with 57 percent noting that they spend one or two hours engaged in technology—compared with 34 percent of U.S. students who said they spend the same amount of time each day.

One reason for the discrepancy in the United States may be the lack of technology training some teachers receive, notes Caleb Clark, director of the educational technology program at Marlboro College Graduate School.

"The big picture is that teachers aren't trained well enough in how to integrate technology effectively into their classroom," Clark notes. "Most teachers would say they get thrown technology without having people there to train them."

[Get three tips for using technology in the classroom.]

This may be worrisome to some students, including 90 percent of U.S. students who reported in the Dell survey that technology in the classroom is beneficial to preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow. But, notes Clark, it's the teachers who use the technology, not the technology itself, who will be responsible for preparing students for these future jobs.

"It's up to the people who help the students use technology," Clark says. "If they're good teachers who really help them [learn to use technology], then they will become better students and professionals. But by itself, technology will not make [the students] better."

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