PBS and Grunwald National Research Indicates Lack of Technology Infrastructure in Classrooms

By Michael Silbergleid

The following press release was issued by PBS:

K-12 teachers relying on free educational resources, such as media content, given budget cut-backs

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Released today, PBS and Grunwald Associates LLC national research report on teacher’s media usage, entitled “Deepening Commitment: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology,” indicates an insufficient capacity of computing devices and technology infrastructure to handle teachers’ Internet-dependent instructional activity. The national study also found that more than half of K-12 teachers report continued cuts in their school media budgets, increasing their reliance on free, quality content. Teachers spend 60 percent of their time using educational resources in the classroom that are either free or paid for by teachers themselves.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101019/DC84639LOGO)

PBS, a leading provider of free, streaming video from educational series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, first surveyed educators on their use of digital media and technology in 2002. Conducted annually, the PBS teacher surveys have found broadening adoption and deeper integration of digital media and technology in classrooms for all age groups, with teachers enthusiastic about new technologies.

“With direct feedback from educators, the annual Grunwald research is a valuable tool to drive our work in supporting teachers’ needs today and building the classroom of tomorrow,” said Rob Lippincott, SVP, PBS Education. “We have witnessed student improvement when a multi-platform, media-rich curriculum is combined with professional development(1) and are encouraged that teachers are increasingly integrating technology and digital media to increase engagement, promote creativity and differentiate instruction.”

Among the key findings in the “Deepening Commitment: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology” report:

  • Over half of K-12 teachers (62%) frequently use digital media in classroom instruction.
  • Cost continues to grow as the main barrier to using fee-based digital resources, with 46% of teachers citing this as a barrier, and 33% citing time constraints.
  • Three-in-four teachers (76%) stream or download TV and video content, up from 55% in 2007. These teachers are also accessing content in completely new ways, with 24% reporting that they access content stored on a local server, up from 11% in 2007. Their use of short video segments of three to five minutes in length increased this year, with 29% reporting this is the average length of video segments used.
  • Teachers view TV and video content as more effective when integrated with other instructional resources or content. More than two-thirds (67%) believe that digital resources help them differentiate learning for individual students, and a similar number (68%) believe TV and video content stimulates discussion.
  • Pre-K teachers are also seeing the benefits of age-appropriate content and technology, with eight in ten (82%) reporting use of digital content. Half of pre-K teachers indicate that fee-based content is not age-appropriate for their students.
  • Teachers see great educational potential in smart, portable devices, including laptops, tablets, e-readers and handhelds. Teachers value, use and want interactive white boards more than any other technology.
  • One in four K-12 teachers (26%) report membership in an online teacher community, such as PBS Teachers (www.pbs.org/teachers), citing connection, collaboration and shared resources as reasons to join.


Conducted in August 2010, the “Deepening Commitment: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology” survey is part of a series run by Grunwald Associates LLC, an independent research and consulting firm. The nationwide, online survey reflects the views of a representative sample of 1,401 full-time classroom teachers (1,204 K-12 public school teachers and 197 pre-K teachers in public and private schools). This sample was selected to represent teachers in urban, suburban and rural regions and in districts of all sizes. The full “Deepening Commitment: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology” report is available at http://www.pbs.org/teachers/research/.

PBS Teachers (http://www.pbs.org/teachers) is the national Web destination for high-quality, free, preK-12 educational resources suitable for a wide range of subjects and grade levels. With thousands of lesson plans, teaching activities, on-demand video resources, interactive games and simulations, these resources are correlated to state and national educational standards and are tied to PBS’ award-winning on-air and online programming. The annual PBS Teachers Innovation Awards recognize effective teachers and the instructional practices they use to help students reach their potential. PBS is currently accepting submissions for the 2011 PBS Teachers Innovation Awards (http://www.pbs.org/teachers/innovators/) to honor the best practices from preK-12 educators who inspire and engage students through innovative classroom techniques. PBS also provides a collection of interactive whiteboard games for educators on PBS KIDS (http://pbskids.org/whiteboard/).

About PBS

PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans — from every walk of life — the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches 117 million people through television and 20 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at http://www.pbs.org/, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, as well as http://www.facebook.com/pbsteachers and http://www.twitter.com/pbsteachers.

(1)  Source: Ready to Learn Summative Evaluation, http://cct.edc.org/rtl/index.asp

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