The Current State Of Technology In K-12

We know that many schools are leveraging digital technologies to enhance student learning, improve professional development, and streamline administrative tasks. But the truth about the internet (which I think most of us understand by now) is that lots of people talk about lots of things, and we don’t always get to see what is actually happening in real life. Thus, we always like to check out handy infographics like this one that cover trends and developments in the use of technology in K-12 among students, teachers, and administrators.

A Few Thoughts

86% of teenagers say they will purchase a smartphone for their next device. This makes me ask myself: are most teenagers really buying/choosing their own devices, or does it have more to do with their parents choices? Finances, existing family mobile plans, upgrade your phone every two year programs, and technology available at school may play a role in this too. Also, I’m pretty sure that when I was a teenager I told lots of people that I was “planning on getting’ a car for my 16th birthday. Sure I was! But I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter since I didn’t have the money.

Only 15% of technology spending in schools goes towards curriculum software, and only 18% to hardware. Keep in mind that the 18% to hardware likely comprises computers for administrators, etc, and is not necessarily for student (or even teacher) use. 37% is spent on IT services to support the technology – which seems like a lot to me, but I wonder if this is realistic. Does anyone know?

53% of schools report using digital tools to protect student data and privacy. 53% represents the highest percentage of schools prescribing to any of the mentioned uses of digital tools. While we appreciate the importance of protecting student data and privacy – only 53% are using digital tools to do that? It makes us wonder how else other schools are protecting their student data. Are 47% of schools still keeping their students’ data locked in file cabinets?

Only 3% of schools report using digital tools for assessment, and another 3% for online learning access. Since it seems like these are two edtech topics that are often spoken and written about, the gap between that and only 3% use seems a bit low.

65% of schools report having a digital strategy. Again, this makes us say – only 65% !? Assuming digital strategy includes way off in the future plans as well as current usage and near-future plans, that also seems a little low!


K-12 Technology Usage




  1. Telia

    April 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I thanks you for this information and I believe for school to have better ratings, the use of technology needs to go up.

  2. Gary

    April 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    >>> 37% is spent on IT services to support the technology – which seems like a lot to me, but I wonder if this is realistic. Does anyone know?

    That number is very realistic, and on the low side. Technology infrastructure is not cheap, and as more and more devices get brought into a school district, the bandwidth requirements go up. In the days before software-as-a-service (SaaS), and cloud-base instruction, school networks could be created cheaply (less need for Internet back then). Now that everything requires a pipeline to the web, it requires a bigger and bigger pipe to get reasonable performance. It also requires support contracts to maintain that bandwidth pipeline. Unless a district is really small, sharing a consumer-based ISP connection (Comcast, AT&T, WOW, etc.) is not going to provide the type of throughput needed for all of today’s streaming educational content. The need, hunger, and demands of educators for streaming multimedia content and online instruction is putting a lot of stress and costs on school IT budgets. So, to sum up, yes, 37% to support infrastructure and support is not only realistic, it’s low for the overall technology budget of a district. While hardware to connect to the Internet is going down in cost (for example, you can pick up some really nice sub-$100 Android tablets to use in education), the ISP costs (bandwidth costs) are going up, as are labor and support costs with maintaining the growing bandwidth needs. Schools cannot, in this day and age, set a static technology budget. They should be bundling in expected increasing costs.