SOURCE: Thinkronize, Inc.

November 19, 2008 06:00 ET

Survey: Educators Want Solutions to Avoid Traditional Cookie Cutter Instruction

New Research Commissioned by Thinkronize Shows More Than 85% of Principals and Teachers Want Web Resources to Help With Differentiated Instruction; More Than 60% Agree That Districts Should Invest More in Digital Resources

CINCINNATI, OH--(Marketwire - November 19, 2008) - Although educators agree that individual children learn best in different ways, today's classroom is not well equipped for customized learning. In a new national survey of principals and teachers released today, more than 80% of educators expressed a need for resources that enable differentiated instruction to reach all students -- based on the different reading levels, prior knowledge, interests, and learning styles students bring to the classroom. More than 85% of those surveyed wanted access to Web resources that can help accomplish this.

This third annual survey, "Schools and Generation 'Net," was conducted in October 2008 by Interactive Educational Systems Design (IESD), an independent research firm, and was commissioned by Thinkronize, Inc.

Today's teachers are challenged to find resources that are both aligned to state standards and designed to engage every child in the learning process. The survey found that more than 70% of principals and nearly 70% of teachers expressed a need for assistance in finding resources that meet state curriculum standards. And four out of five educators (80%) agreed that they need multimedia Web resources, such as digital images, video, animation, and voice, to both stimulate and motivate their students.

"It is evident from this survey that principals and teachers need and value resources that foster differentiated instruction and that much of this material comes from the Web," said Thinkronize CEO Randy Wilhelm. "We need to re-look at the $4 billion spent on instructional print materials and invest those dollars in digital resources that provide every child with a customized learning experience, every day."

The survey results indicate that many educators agree with Wilhelm. More than 60% of principals and teachers responded that their districts should be spending more of their instructional materials budgets on Web-based resources and other digital resources.

"At a time when the need for powerful educational resources has never been higher, this study of educator's needs and wants shows a strong desire to transition from print to online resources delivered through the Web," said David Thornburg, Ph.D., futurist, lecturer, author and director of global operations, Thornburg Center. "Anyone who has any questions about the design and implementation of these resources needs only to look at the survey details for solid affirmation of this shift in content access, and the charge to meet these needs in ways that are flexible and of value to teachers and students alike. This study shows, clearly, the benefits that await those who make the transition."

Survey results also confirmed that the Internet represents a widely used and valuable resource for K-8 students, with more than 75% of teachers reporting that they were using the Internet for instructional purposes on a regular basis. And when planning and implementing instruction, about 75% of teachers and more than 85% of principals strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that student searching on the Internet has been integrated into the curriculum.

However, principals and teachers have significant concerns about students' abilities to find resources on the Internet that are a good match for their instructional needs. More than 80% were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about students finding resources with content that is neither age nor grade appropriate. And approximately two-thirds of principals and teachers were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about students getting useless or irrelevant results when using search engines like Google® or Yahoo™.

This survey of 497 principals and 796 teachers in K-8 was conducted online in October 2008. It has a margin of sampling error of 2.7% across both types of educators. The margin of error is 3.5% for teacher findings and 4.4% for principal findings.

About Interactive Educational Systems Design (IESD)

IESD is recognized in the educational technology and publishing communities as a leader in research and analysis, and instructional design consulting. IESD conducts research on educational issues, programs, and products (both technology and print-based) -- and provides a variety of consulting services related to program and product development, evaluation, implementation, and marketing. IESD's clients include education publishers, technology hardware manufacturers, government agencies, non-profit institutions and school districts. For more information visit www.iesdinc.com or phone 212-769-1715.

About Thinkronize

Founded in 1999, Thinkronize is a leader in the digital delivery of K-12 educational content and is dedicated to enhancing the education of today's youth with highly effective technologies that deliver the rich educational value of the Internet to every child in a safe, relevant, easy-to-use format. With the mission to help every child learn and a belief that technology can transform education, Thinkronize was first to market with a standards-based educational search tool, utilizing the services of Academic Benchmarks (www.AcademicBenchmarks.com), the premier provider of comprehensive standards-based K-12 educational databases, alignment tools, and integration products. Thinkronize's flagship product, netTrekker d.i., is the #1 educational search tool in K-12 schools and is currently used in over 21,000 schools nationwide. Peers, educators, and parents have honored Thinkronize and netTrekker d.i. over 25 times for its contribution to education. In 2007, netTrekker d.i. was named the Best Education Solution in SIIA's CODiE award competition. In addition, Thinkronize was named to the 2007 Inc. 5000 and 2006 Inc. 500 lists as one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States. The company was founded by Robert Reinders and currently serves over 12 million students in all 50 states, including adoptions by key districts and states nationwide. For more information visit www.Thinkronize.com or phone 877-517-1125.

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