As the school year kicks off, it is important for K–12 IT leaders have their fingers on the pulse around education technology to make informed decisions about where to put their efforts. To help, here is a round-up of some of the notable surveys, statistics and stories to have come over the past few months.
IT Leaders Share How They Help K–12 Staff Embrace Tech
In 2019, for the first time, the Consortium for School Networking asked in its annual survey of K–12 IT leaders, “How do you envision your technology department supporting teaching and learning?” Here’s how they responded:
- 76 percent: Be more responsive to educators’ IT needs
- 73 percent: Support best of breed technology tools for educators
- 63 percent: Reduce complexity through single sign-on and rostering
- 51 percent: Support two-way data exchange to surface useful data to educators
- 49 percent: Surface real-time data for educators pulling together multiple sources of information
What Threats Face K–12 Schools?
How significant of a threat are certain types of cyberattacks? An Education Week and Consortium for School Networking survey of about 300 education technology leaders offers some insights — and surprises.
- Fear of Phishing: A majority of the survey respondents (55 percent) say they consider phishing scams a significant or very significant threat — an increase of 8 percentage points from 2017.
- Eying Identity Theft: There was a tiny year-over-year uptick of concern for one other type of cyberattack — identity theft — with 17 percent of respondents labeling it a significant threat. That’s 1 percentage point higher than in 2017.
- Underestimating Threats: Fewer education technology leaders surveyed viewed every other type of cyberattack — malware/viruses, ransomware attacks, unauthorized disclosure of student data, DDoS attacks, unauthorized disclosure of teacher data — as significant threats.
- Passing on Password Policies: Most leaders say their district has a formal password policy that is widely followed, but about 45 percent do not.
Using Technology to Put the 'A' in STEAM
Schools are finding new ways to take a digital approach to learning across K–12 subjects. That’s long been true in science, technology, engineering and math, which have been at the forefront of digital integration.
But as the educational focus expands to include arts in a STEAM approach, teachers are finding new applications for this kind of technology to encourage digital creativity in their classrooms.
That’s key to preparing students for the jobs that will be available to them when they graduate. In a recent study on creative problem-solving, Adobe found 86 percent of educators and 85 percent of policymakers believe students who excel at problem-solving will have better-paying jobs in the future.
Researchers encountered a discrepancy in the soft skills employers want, and the time and software it takes to build those skills. Authors of the study conclude that globally, 79 percent of educators say there’s a lack of time designated for creativity, and 73 percent say there’s a lack of access to software in classrooms.
Educators see tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud and Spark for Education as ways to help students use the arts to build needed problem-solving skills. “It’s very important in the 21st century for students to have the ability to be creative — not necessarily to be artsy, to have an arts background, but to be creative in approaches to a problem.
To see just how schools are using Adobe Spark for Education, check out "How Digital Art Classes Are Blazing New Trails."