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BELLTONES: What Teachers Know (and Don’t Know) About Technology—And Does Anybody Know They Don’t Know?

By Mary Ann Bell - Posted Jul 1, 2010
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A column I wrote for the January/February 2010 issue of MultiMedia & Internet@Schools was called “What Kids Know (and Don’t Know) About Technology.” The gist of the article was that, while youngsters are confident using new devices and applications, there are still important concepts, ethical tenets, and even basic uses that they need to learn. The aftermath of this publication was a surprise to me. I received a number of emails thanking me for the piece, and I was even contacted about working on a book based on the idea. This response has inspired me to address the same subject and questions to teachers and then also to administrators. So this is what I’ll be covering in this column and the one to follow.

As is my wont, I gathered information for this article via survey. I appealed to my usual support systems, LM_NET, TLC, and EDTECH and asked teachers, librarians, and technology specialists a series of questions about what teachers do know and what they need to know about technology in order to effectively work with today’s learners. The result of this poll, conducted via SurveyMonkey, can be viewed at

For response options, I used labels that I thought would clarify five levels of confidence, but I realized too late that they did the opposite for some respondents. I now wish what I had done was to give the levels 1–5 simple Likert values from least to most favorable. When I discuss the results, I am going to do so considering the results on a simple 1–5 scale, with 5 being the most positive response. If you do visit the actual survey site, remember to click on the links for comments. People were amazingly generous with their time in elaborating upon their answers.

Survey Results

So what did I learn? In many cases, responses were predictable, based on what I have seen exhibited by teachers who enter our program and take technology classes as part of preparation for school librarianship. With regard to basic applications such as office suites, educators fare pretty well. I had a cluster of questions centered on that area and here are the results:


This article is available in its entirety in a variety of formats — Preview (free), Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF — on a pay-to-view basis, courtesy of ITI's InfoCentral. CLICK HERE.

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