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Teacher Use of Digital Tools: Results of a Survey of District Teachers in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton and Neshaminy

When schools in Pennsylvania and across the nation were suddenly shuttered in March due to COVID-19, teachers were faced with an enormous challenge: how to effectively teach and engage their students remotely when the vast majority had never done so before.

In order to meet this challenge, teachers turned to an array of digital tools-such as Zoom, Google Classroom, and others-to plan and deliver instruction, engage students, and assess their progress. But how effective were these tools?

Research for Action conducted a survey to find out.

The survey reached public school teachers to gauge their opinions about on-line teaching tools. Survey responses revealed that:

  • More than 80% of teachers said that online tools are effective with most students.
  • Digital teaching tools were most useful for instructional planning and delivery, but were less effective for assessing student learning and keeping students engaged.
  • Notably, fewer teachers said digital tools were effective for teaching students with special needs and those who are dual-language learners than for general education students.
  • Over 80% of teachers report that they would continue to use on-line tools, whether teaching remotely or in-person.
  • Teachers felt strongly that they need professional development to continue to teach effectively using these tools.