This May, the makers of the online learning platform Kahoot! released a report about the spread of data-driven teaching and other changes involving technology in the classroom. The research findings help explain to parents the impacts of technology in the school environment and the direction in which educational technology use in your children’s lives may be heading.
Kahoot! is a game-based platform used for classroom instruction. It allows teachers to present material as trivia and students to choose answers from individual devices. The platform is free for teacher-use, and it has gained significant popularity; 47 percent of teachers now use Kahoot! in their classrooms. Additionally, Kahoot! has platforms for businesses to gamify their training sessions, team bonding, and presentations.
When I graduated high school in 2017, many of my teachers had started to use Kahoot! in their classrooms. Most of the classes that used Kahoot! were humanities. It served as a fun and engaging platform to study vocabulary in language classes, conduct review sessions for history tests, and create English reading checks. Upon hearing the distinct Kahoot! background jingle, my classmates and I would whip out our cell phones, log-on to the app or on the website, and enter our class’s game with the entry code our teacher would share with us. After choosing our name for the game (less-strict teachers permitted students to choose funny names), the trivia would begin. Each question would appear on the board, and students would hustle to answer the question as quickly as possible-- timing counts! After each round, the top-five highest scores are presented on the board.
My experience with Kahoot! was generally positive; I learned many Spanish vocabulary words and mastered a lot of material for my Advanced Placement Comparative Politics class through the trivia games. In addition to helping students like me, Kahoot! is helping educators and parents understand the changing landscape of technology in the classroom with EdTrend reports.
This year’s report is based on a survey of over 1,500 K-12 teachers from across the United States and data from the Kahoot! platform, which has over 70 million monthly users.
In terms of understanding how and why technology is being used in your child’s classroom, the following findings are particularly impactful.
Three in four teachers reported data-driven education as a top EdTech trend in their school or district. EdTech is a broad term that includes the study and practice of using technology to facilitate education. This statistic has increased drastically from last year, when only 28 percent reported data-driven education as a trend in their school or district. Data-driven teaching means that teachers periodically collect data on students’ progress and use that information to adjust their teaching. The report found that data-driven instruction is particularly popular among high school teachers. “This [increase in data-driven education] shows that teachers are now using data to consistently adjust their teaching based on student performance and needs, rather than relying on one-off testing methods,” the report says.
One in two teachers reported that educational technology tools that promote creativity and individualized learning are becoming increasingly popular. After encouraging data-driven instruction, promoting creative thinking was the next most common response from teachers as to the trends they observe concerning EdTech in their school or district.
Another reported trend in EdTech was a drastic increase in popularity of gamification. 25 percent of teachers responded being in favor of the use of gamification, or the application of game-like activities to teaching exercises. This is up from 18 percent last year. Kahoot! found that teachers use gamification to increase student engagement.
One in two teachers reported lack of funding as a problem for technology adoption, and 89 percent of public school teachers cited this as an issue. Therefore, while many teachers are experiencing fundamental changes in the classroom due to the integration of technology, others still lack access due to financial barriers. This is a significant limit on the growth of some of the EdTech trends. The next most-reported barrier for teachers in implementing educational technology was the lack of proper training to understand and adopt it. One in five teachers in the U.S. is still affected by lack of internet or device connectivity in the classroom, according to the report.
With respect to how educational technology use promotes 21st-century skills and prepares students for the workforce, teachers reported using technology to encourage working in teams and collaboration, engage in project-based learning, encourage creative thinking, and more. Overall, the survey indicates that technology in the classroom has grown into a major platform for teachers promoting real-world skills.
The survey is much more extensive than these five findings, and reading the whole report reveals interesting and useful details about how your child’s teachers are using technology, what changes teachers are observing, and other evolutions in schools. Together, the results from the survey produce a primary takeaway: technology’s presence and influence in the classroom is on the rise with teachers encouraging students to use devices throughout the day for educational purposes. In response to significant shifts, parents must understand and stay up-to-date on the role of technology in education to be well-informed and involved in their child’s educational journey.