Mumbai: Central Square Foundation, today, launched a study titled Teaching with Technology: Early Adoption of EdTech by Indian School Teachers, that analyses the availability and usage, perceptions, and challenges with technology adoption among teachers across India. The survey analyses these trends among 1,110 teachers across rural and urban areas and in schools with varying fee ranges.The survey reached out to networks with relatively better access to devices and training.
The survey found that teachers’ willingness to learn and use technology is high. Teachers who reported using computers use it more for showing audio-video lessons to students or getting them to practice skills.
Usage of computers falls significantly for purposes that require greater technical proficiency such as grading assessments and tracking student data.
On a weekly basis, while 70% of teachers who reported using computers, used them for audio and video demonstrations in the classroom, only 37% teachers reported using them for tracking student data.
Given teachers’ current willingness and adoption of technology, some key trends emerged as part of the survey:
Digital literacy and ICT training of teachers promotes usage- The survey highlights that willingness to use technology is much higher among trained teachers than untrained teachers. Moreover, trained teachers were more cognisant of the value of technology and more likely to use it than untrained teachers. While 90% trained teachers recognised the value of technology in lesson planning, only 69% untrained teachers perceived the value of technology for this purpose. Subsequently, usage of technology for lesson planning is also higher among trained teachers (51%) than among untrained teachers (33%).
Infrastructure conditions and access to devices vary among school types- Teachers used computers and mobile phones most widely among digital devices, at 83% and 68% respectively. 70% of teachers also reported using the internet.
However, close to half reported facing electricity and hardware challenges (51% and 45% respectively). These challenges were particularly compounded for schools in rural areas as well as for no-fee and low fee schools (that charge less than Rs. 12,000 per annum from students). 54% of teachers in no-fee schools reported electricity challenges as compared to 6% of those in high-fee schools (that charge more than Rs. 40,000 per annum from students).
Technology solutions such as tablets and smartboards are dominant in high fee schools. While 74% of teachers in high fee schools reported access to smartboards, only 2% teachers from no fee schools and 7% teachers from low fee schools reported access. Moreover an average of only 14% of teachers surveyed reported access to tablets, with the proportion of government schools being negligible.
Time constraints and lack of curriculum-aligned resources affect technology adoption: Teachers reported constraints on their time as a significant deterrent to their use of ICT. 60% of all teachers indicated challenges of time due to other responsibilities and 48% due to the need to cover textbook syllabus.
More than 75% of teachers who said that pressure to complete textbooks deters them from using technology said that increased availability of curriculum-aligned resources would enable them to use technology more. Additionally, 83% of teachers surveyed in vernacular medium schools asked for increased availability of resources in the vernacular medium.
Talking about teachers’ willingness to use technology and need to address their challenges, Ashish Dhawan, Founder and CEO, Central Square Foundation, said, “Our survey shows that teachers with better ICT training and access are using technology more often and for varied purposes. Increasing mobile infrastructure offers the opportunity of anytime anywhere access for teachers, allowing them to build pedagogical skills and connect with peers. Growing computer, mobile and internet access will also allow online forums to be catalysed as a tool for teacher professional dialogue and peer learning. To ensure that teachers are able to fully leverage the potential of technology, we need to ensure access to lower power devices and internet connectivity, train teachers to use technology at both pre-service and in-service levels, and develop curriculum aligned resources not just in English but also local Indian languages.