Phi Delta Kappa – a US teachers professional association – use Gallup to carry out a poll of 1,000 Americans about their attitudes to education, teachers and related areas in the public schools system. There’s some interesting statistics in there (which made me wonder whether Australia is similar, or very unlike the US education system), as well as some hot political issues that are current in Australia too. For example, there’s a question about whether standardised test scores should be published for individual teachers (parents marginally in favour). You can read a summary of the survey here, and the full report here
There is a specific section about ICT in education, which makes interesting reading. Here’s a couple of interesting things I found:
ICT is very important to learning, but less so for ‘academic success’
70% thought that is was very important ‘that all students have access to computer technology’, but only 52% thought that access to computer technology was very important ‘for ensuring student academic success’.
They don’t explore the reasons for this – I wonder if it is a reflection of the disjoint between learning (often using technology) and the exam process (often pen and paper based)?
See page 15, Table 17
Which is better – a more effective teacher online, or a less effective teacher in the classroom?
This was the question that the survey asked:
“Suppose a school wants to offer a new class and is considering whether the class should be taught online or in person. Would it be best for the school to hire a more effective teacher who was only available to teach over the Internet or would it be better to use a less effective teacher who could teach the class in person?”
I was really surprised by the result – almost evenly split:
- More effective teacher online – 46%
- Less effective teacher in person – 50%
I feel there could be hours of debate about why parents answered this question in particular ways. But if you were considering talking about the use of video conferencing and online learning to support a wider curriculum, you’d know from this that half the room may not like the idea, whilst the other half would be focusing on the quality of the teacher on the other end of the video link or system.
See page 16, Table 22