Survey finds generational gap in teachers’ comfort with digital technologies

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Only 44% of teachers age 55 and older are "very confident" with new digital technologies.

Only 44% of teachers age 55 and older are “very confident” with new digital technologies.

Younger teachers use technology in their classrooms with more confidence than teachers aged 55 and older, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in collaboration with the College Board and the National Writing Project.

Though the majority of teachers use technology in their jobs, older teachers use digital tools less frequently in their classrooms and are more likely to admit that their students are more adept than they are at using digital tools. The results show:

  • 64% of teachers under age 35 describe themselves as “very confident” when it comes to using new digital technologies as compared with 44% of teachers age 55 and older
  • The oldest teachers are more than twice as likely as those under age 35 (59% vs. 23%) to say their students know more than they do about using the newest digital tools
  • Overall, the vast majority of AP and NWP teachers utilize the internet and other digital tools at least once a week to keep up with developments in their field (80%), find content that will engage their students (84%), and gather material to help them create lesson plans (80%)

This data is part of an online, non-probability sample between March 7 and April 23, 2012.  This survey was conducted among advanced placement (AP) high school teachers and National Writing Project teachers in middle and high school currently teaching in the U.S. and its territories. 2,462 teaches in all were surveyed.

One thought on “Survey finds generational gap in teachers’ comfort with digital technologies

  1. Sheilah

    In what I suspect was a much smaller study a year or two ago in Canada, the opposite was found. Older teachers who are comfortable with their control of the class and have a good understanding of classroom dynamics were the ones who felt freer to let the kids use technology.

    Younger, more inexperienced teachers kept much tighter control over everything and were less willing to hand technology over to kids to do their own thing.



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