The Teachers Know Best project, started by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013, examines how teachers use digital instructional tools in the classroom, their attitudes towards technology, and whether they believe existing digital tools are effective. According to the most recent report, over 93% of teachers use digital tools to guide instruction.
- Top three considerations when making a purchase: cost-effective, time-saving, and ability to tailor to individual student’s needs.
- Two-thirds of all teachers (67%) now think that digital and non-digital resources are available and sufficient to help students master subject standards, up from 55 percent in 2013.
- A majority of teachers (58% across all subjects found digital tools effective. However, key gaps still exist in all subject areas and grades.
- Despite their confidence in digital tools, teachers say that these tools make up just 25% of the resources they have to teach standards.
- Teachers also believe digital tools are most effective for enrichment activities and core instruction (54% and 47%, respectively). Only one in three believe they are effective for remediation.
- Barriers to access keep more teachers from using digital tools than do all other challenges, including teachers’ approach to instruction, discomfort with technology, or availability and sufficiency of digital resources.
Areas for further research include product effectiveness, teachers as purchasers, the voice of students and what they think of digital tools, and involving students and teachers in product development. The report makes two main recommendations for product developers.
- Product developers should continue to work to fill perceived gaps in the market—in part by identifying and addressing specific standard, subject, and grade-level needs cited by teachers.
- Developers should make their feedback process more transparent.
Read Teachers Know Best – What Educators Want from Digital Instructional Tools 2.0 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.