Teachers Know Best
: What Educators Want From Digital Instructional Tools 2.0
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All eyes
on EdTech

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is proud to present a new report revisiting how teachers currently use digital instructional tools in the classroom, teachers’ attitudes toward digital technology, and teachers’ perceived effectiveness of digital tools.

Only 59% of teachers perceive the digital products their students use frequently to be effective.

Teachers want more and better resources for every grade level and across every subject area. In fact, only 59% of teachers believe that even the products they use most frequently in classrooms make the grade-really serving students’ learning needs.

Ineffective products

Teachers are looking to edtech for help.

The research also uncovered openness to digital resources. The vast majority of teachers believe edtech resources have the potential to be effective at supporting instructional strategies to meet students’ learning needs.

Infinite phones

Investors are hungrier than ever.

Teachers’ hunger for new resources isn’t surprising-but the unprecedented appetite from investors might be. Venture funding to edtech companies in 2015 is setting new quarterly records.

With so many needs, and so much financial attention, now is the time to make your idea or product a reality. There’s never been a better time to make a positive impact in our nation’s schools.

Don’t just mind the gap…address it.

We prioritized the most important digital product efficacy gaps in the current product offerings: K-12 English language arts (ELA), high school social studies, high school math, and K-5 science. Could your product focus on one of them?

Wherever you start, keep these findings in mind.

Perfect the teacher and student experience

Teachers rank ease of use a primary factor when considering digital resources. Is your idea or product designed to address the unique challenges of teachers and students?

Prioritize alignment to college and career-ready standards.

Standards matter to educators. 60% of K-8 teachers cite Common Core standards alignment as a necessary feature in any resource. Does your idea or product help students meet the standards?

Turn educators into advocates

More than two-thirds of teachers rely on the recommendations of other teachers or administrators when deciding which products can be most helpful in the classroom.

Plan for procurement process

Teachers buy only 4% of the resources they use with their own money.

Does your product address one of the priority gap areas?
Could it?

Gap Areas

Elementary 1 Elementary 2 Elementary 3 Elementary 4 Middle 1 Middle 2 Middle 3 Middle 4 Middle 5 Middle 6 Middle 7 High 1 High 5 High 2 High 3 Middle 9 Middle 8 Elementary 2 High 4 High 8


Across all grades, less than 60% of ELA teachers report the digital products they use frequently to be effective.

Middle school ELA teachers are least likely to have access to sufficient digital and non-digital resources to meet the standards.

Middle 1

Social Studies

While middle school social studies teachers are more likely to report that digital and non-digital resources are not available and sufficient to meet the standards, high school social studies teachers are more likely to rate the digital tools they use frequently as less effective.

High 1


Math teachers in high school are more likely to report that digital and non-digital resources to meet the standards are not available and sufficient. They also are more likely to perceive the digital tools they use frequenctly to be less effective.

Elementary 2


K-5 science teachers are more likely to find the digital tools they use frequently to be less effective, while those in grades 3-5 and 9-12 are more likely to say that digital and non-digital resources are not available and sufficient to meet the standards.

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  • Now let’s get started

From educators to entrepreneurs, from kindergarten to 12th grade, everyone agrees our nation’s classrooms need more effective digital resources. Pairing these findings with your ideas will do more than help you make a great product. It will help you make a difference for students and teachers.