The first annual report that tracks how state education agencies and policymakers are adapting to a post-pandemic digital world revealed that while some states have made great strides to support digital learning, many must do more to prioritize edtech.
The 2022 State EdTech Trends Report – published by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) in collaboration with the Whiteboard Advisors – provides data that highlights the work states are doing across the U.S. to provide useful, reliable, and safe technology to students and teachers, while also noting their vulnerabilities.
The non-profit – providing more than 20 years of dedication centered around digital learning and equity – surveyed state superintendents, officials from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, and the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as SETDA members.
The report presented four key findings. The first key finding – “states can more intentionally connect educational priorities and technological priorities” – is a result of respondents’ presenting similar goals for both education and technology.
SETDA believes that states can use edtech for their two top education priorities: educator recruitment and retention and addressing learning loss.
The report highlights Connecticut as a state that is using edtech to support its educational goals. The state recently passed a resolution that positions unprecedented, pandemic-related school technology investments as an inflection point.
“The resolution calls on all education stakeholders to ensure ongoing support for the essential conditions for learning in the 21st century – internet, devices, and the skills to use them – as well as sustained teacher professional development, among other priorities,” the report said.
The second key finding said that states vary in their approach and role relating to ensuring edtech program and product effectiveness. Nineteen states, the report said, do not collect data on edtech use and effectiveness.
Mississippi, however, is a state that does, and that data has helped educators and leaders identify where they are and what they need to continue their edtech evolution.
“States don’t have consistent definitions or categorizations for edtech” is the report’s third key finding.
“Creating better defined edtech roles, functions, and responsibilities within [state education agencies] will help modernize and support the use of technology for teaching and learning across the state, while also helping to ensure the sustainability – and impact – of state investments in both information and instructional technology,” the report said.
The final key finding highlights that many states report a disparity between their edtech priorities and their activities.
Cybersecurity was identified as the second highest tech priority (behind broadband) but remains the second highest unmet technology need for the states, according to the survey results.
Especially post-pandemic, in the digital 21st century, SEDTA believes that state leaders must be asking important questions about educational and technological priorities, how those priorities are supported with resources, and how they can work together to create technology-rich schools for all students.