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Preparing Educators to Teach Tech Skills

Posted on 11/01/2018


A recent survey regarding technology in K-12 schools asked the question: are we preparing our kids for the jobs of tomorrow? Although the report surveyed over 2,000 K-12 educators, the findings give those of us in adult education an opportunity to step back and reflect on our own efforts to equip adult education teachers with the technology training necessary to impart tech skills to our students.

According to the survey based on a previous PwC and Business-Higher Education Forum report, 77% of all jobs by 2020 will require some degree of tech skills. There is a need, then, to determine the digital skills that business leaders want future employees to possess and the ability of schools to teach students those skills. After surveying the K-12 educators, six trends were identified:

  • Most K-12 teachers are not confident teaching higher-level tech skills, like data analytics, computer programming languages, website design/creation, and robotics.
  • Tech-related courses are offered to high school students, but more schools need to offer data analytics and app design/creation courses to high school students.
  • Students do not spend much time in school actively practicing the higher-level tech skills needed for job readiness.
  • Teachers want more support from their districts.
  • Even though tech in schools is on the rise, students’ lack of access to devices and the Internet at home makes it challenging for teachers to integrate tech in the classroom.
  • Students in underserved schools are even more likely to lack access to tech at home.

Given these findings, where can schools start to close the gap?

  • One of the statistics in the survey is that students spend a majority of time (60%) consuming – e.g., watching videos – and only about a third of the time creating – e.g., producing videos. Obviously, in order for students to acquire and strengthen tech skills, this statistic need to flip.
  • Schools can also consider offering more tech-related training for teacher professional development, either through technology workshops, or asking how technology can be integrated into curricular or instructional workshops.
  • Schools can periodically survey students to determine how much access students have to technology outside of the school, and consider ways to extend the learning by beginning to blend instruction by adding an online component to the face-to-face classroom.

As a reminder, the Technology and Distance Learning Plan is a WIOA deliverable that agencies use to lay out their tech-related goals for the year (due January 31, 2019). The process of creating the Tech Plan is helpful for agencies to think long-term about how to address this student tech skills gap, through professional development, technology purchases, and student use of technology. Through this process, agencies can strategize on how to continuously work on developing the tech skills of educators for the benefit of students.

Source: Are we preparing our kids for the jobs of tomorrow? External link opens in new window or tab