A research study involving more than 300 educators from around the world reveals that using both interactive whiteboards and personal devices such as tablets or PCs in the classroom provides more value than using either on their own because it enhances the ability to shift easily between whole-class, small group and individual learning. Educators additionally indicated that interactive whiteboards can drive more value than PCs or tablets alone. The survey also found that instructional technology works most effectively when it is combined with teacher training, high-quality digital content and implementation best practices. The study was conducted by Filigree Consulting, an independent consulting firm specializing in technology research, on behalf of SMART Technologies Inc., a leading provider of collaboration solutions. According to the study results, 70% of the educators who had a high-level of collaborative learning adoption combined with best practices reported receiving above average returns on their technology investment, including gains in student achievement. By contrast, nearly half of the educators who had implemented instructional technology without a developed strategy reported below average returns.
Administrators, teachers and IT specialists from North America, the United Kingdom, India, Europe and Asia, encompassing a range of school and jurisdiction sizes, participated in the research. The results of the study have been published in a white paper entitled Instructional Technology and Collaborative Learning Best Practices: Global Report and Recommendations. It concludes that while the best value from technology adoption comes from those who implement a variety of instructional technology tools and focus on best practices, only 20 percent of those surveyed had achieved this level of maturity. Participants who followed this approach reported up to three times greater results than those at a lower level of collaboration maturity on outcomes such as:
- Ability to test and implement new teaching models
- Tangible gain in student achievement
- Student engagement as measured by decrease in absenteeism and decrease in discipline referrals
- Retaining and recruiting quality teachers
- Teacher efficiency and effectiveness
- Improved student experience
“It takes more than technology to transform classrooms into collaborative learning environments,” says Jeff Lowe, Vice President, Marketing, SMART Technologies. “This research clearly shows that a comprehensive instructional technology solution, supported by a strategy that includes professional development, digital content and a strong implementation plan delivers the greatest value from technology and enables improved student outcomes.”
Based on the survey, an assessment tool has been created allowing teachers and administrators to determine the value derived from their instructional technology and key areas to work on in order to move to the next level of maturity. The assessment tool consists of an online survey that can be taken by any member of an organization. The survey will then produce comparative results based on education best practices and offer recommendations on how to implement further initiatives to achieve better outcomes and reach a higher level of maturity related to technology investments.