Conclusion

This brief report provides a broad view of educational technology use and interest among K-12 schools and innovators in the U.S. Some clear takeaways from this report that may be useful for decision-makers include the following:

First, researchers and innovators both seem to be currently focused on STEM subject areas, such as science and engineering, to the relative exclusion of the arts, social sciences, and humanities (cf., relatively low and dropping rates of Twitter interest in “#steam” vs. “#stem”). This reveals a possible need for schools, educational technologists, and others to refocus efforts on non-STEM areas to consider how technologies might be leveraged to rethink and improve practices in those areas as well.

Second, educational technology involves far more than pedagogical uses of technology, as evidenced by the preponderance and variety of non-pedagogical tools that school websites are linking to (e.g., Facebook, Google Sites). This frequent and pervasive use of digital technologies for community engagement, marketing, communication, and so forth reveals that educational entities and educator training programs should recognize and value the importance of these non-pedagogical tools and train professionals in their use to address the variety of non-pedagogical problems that educational institutions struggle with (e.g., community connectedness, parent involvement, teacher professionalism).

And third, because the community dialogue surrounding educational technologies is highly positive and technophilic, leaders in this area should consider how such positivity may be blinding them to the challenges and dilemmas that modern technologies introduce for schools, educators, and institutions. Privacy, professionalism, data ownership, information literacy, copyright, and monetization are all matters that should be of serious, emerging concern for decision-makers in this space. Yet, a recurring and persistent emphasis on only the positive elements of emerging technologies without a healthy dose of skepticism and accountability mandates means that the wellbeing of educators and students may be at perpetual risk as corporations seek to ride the recurring waves of educational technology buzz to ever-increasing profits.