Creative Inquiry Instructional Tech

Robots, Software, Web 2.0 tools, and what PD teachers want!


Of the 50 teacher who participated in this survey only a handful have heard of or used robotics for instruction in their classrooms. We asked about Sphero, Wonder Workshop's Dash and Dot and Lego Mindstorms. The only robot that has actually been used by the surveyed teachers is the Mindstorms (n=5).

Software Programs

We asked about several software programs commonly available for teachers. Over half of the teachers had used Excel (n=34) and less than half had used iPhoto (n=20). Less commonly used programs included Inspiration/Kidspiration concept mapping software (n=7 each) and iBooks Author (n=4).

Web 2.0 Tools

We asked the teachers about the familiarity with and use of 16 different types of Web 2.0 Tools. The most commonly used tools included Prezi (n=19), Writing Tools such as Penzu, Evernote, and Google Docs (n=18), Quizlet (n=15) and Classroom Response Systems such as Kahoot, Plickers, Quizzizz, and Socrative (n=13). The other 12 types of tools had less than 10 users each including:

  1. Concept Mapping Tools (n=3)
  2. Post-it Like Notes (Padlet, Lino) (n=7)
  3. Cartoon Generators (n=3)
  4. Infographics (n=1)
  5. Speaking Avatars (n=1)
  6. Flipped Classroom Tools (TedEd, Vialogues, EduCanon) (n=2)
  7. Online Posters (Glogster, Smore) (n=4)
  8. Voice Thread (n=2)
  9. Social Bookmarking (n=3)
  10. Timelines (n=2)
  11. Thinglink (n=2)
  12. Blendspace (n=1)

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What do you think are the greatest needs regarding PD with technology in your classroom?

Bring me the technology!!! One of the most common response to this question was MORE TECHNOLOGY (n=15). One teacher stated the following:

"I don't need any PD on technology in my classroom if I'm not going to HAVE any

technology in my classroom. If I actually AQUIRE technology in my classroom, I

absolutely MUST have proper training on how to use it myself before I can begin to use it

in my classroom. Technology is useless to teachers without the proper PD on how to use

it." Which brings me to the next category...

Basic Training (n=19) - The most common response was the opportunity to learn practical skills and refresh knowledge of tools and technology that is out there. Some representative teacher responses include:

"Knowing what is available and examples of how to use it with my standards."

"There is just so much out there, it's hard to keep it all straight & not get confused. So

maybe just getting a few things in training & do them well??"

"Just to keep me up to date with all the new technology and different programs."

Other categories of interest include:

Training on basic apps for iPads or Chromebooks (n=11)

A few teachers in this category wanted specifics for reading, chorus, and band.

Time (n=5)

Finding the time to learn how to use the tools or fit them in the day is a challenge.

Management (n=4)

One particular teacher stated, "Having the tools needed to keep students on task more often. For example, the ability to blank the screens of all students when the teacher needs their attention. Another example would be to have the ability to open the same program on all computers simultaneously."

Interactive Whiteboard (n=2)

Three teachers did not have specific technology needs including the following statements:

  1. NA
  2. Tech Stinks
  3. I don't know what I don't know. Also this survey made me feel very stupid.
(I feel indifferent for #2 and sorry for #3!)

So What Does This Mean?

Teachers really have a basic lack of understanding of how they can use robotics in their classroom. There are excellent applications for literacy, math, and science with robots. Just got to teach them about it!

Teachers need an opportunity to learn more about different software and Web 2.0 tools in their classroom through professional development. Training and updating their skills was the number one need expressed and this is also evident in their lack of knowledge of robots, web 2.0 tools and certain software programs.

Teachers also need up-to-date, working technology. If schools can't provide these, teachers need to be aware of funding and grant opportunities for technology.