A Gallup poll surveying teachers in the US reveals that, overall, they believe technology has had positive impacts on the learning experience. However, concerns remain, some of them serious, about the effect on students’ physical and mental health. These are some of the results from a Gallup Panel web study administered to 497 K-12 teachers in the US and published earlier this month.
According to the study, 42% of teachers consider the effects of digital devices on education “mostly helpful,” the only question where benefits seem to outweigh the downsides. 28% considered devices “mostly harmful” and 30% see them as neutral.
On the physical and mental health questions, the responses are more worrying. Devices are considered “mostly harmful” on physical health by 55% of respondents (versus 4% considering it “mostly beneficial”) and on mental health by 69% (versus 4%). The study does not dig deeper into the reasons why so many teachers would see devices as so noxious, but it does share that initiatives to ban devices in the classroom remain controversial, with plenty of people on either side.
Optimism about the arguably increasing role of technology in the classroom is higher in key groups in which the survey is split. Namely, parents (87%), K-8 teachers (48%), and teachers under the age of 40 (51%) all see the benefits as higher than what the survey respondents as a whole reports.
It is estimated that 72% of teens and 82% of high school students own a mobile device, which they usually take to school.
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