At SparkFun, we love hearing from educators - the feedback we receive is used to make the services and products we provide align with real needs. One tool we use annually (-ish) is a survey. Many educators have requested that we share the results...so, without further adieu, here are some key points from the Spring 2018 Survey of K-12 Educators. The grand majority of respondents were teachers in grades 6-12, with some representation from library/media speciliasts and technology directors.
Which Standards Do You Use?
In terms of standards, the majority of respondents use the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Common Core State Standards. or State Standards. In addition, standards that were brought up frequently under "Other" include: American Association of School Librarians (AASL), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Project Lead the Way (PLTW).
Programming and Hardware?
It is no surprise that the majority of respondents teach some form of programming and that, for the most part, instruction includes a combination of both hardware and coding. Where we did find some interesting trends are in the programming languages educators are using. Like other industries, Python is growing rapidly compared to previous surveys; additionally, more educators noted the use of Scratch and Arduino in comparison to years past.
What Are Educators Interested in Teaching?
When asked what they are most interested in teaching with hardware, survey respondents called out a variety of topics. Per typical trends, robotics, coding, and fabrication (3D Printing, CAD) were ranked as the top three. This continues the same trends as previous years. In terms of growth, IoT, virtual reality, paper circuits, and data collection/analysis all seem to be gaining some traction.
What Concepts Are Being Taught?
Many different concepts are being taught through the use of hardware and coding. This was an open-ended response. Here is a snapshot of the text analysis. If you are interested in a pretty great collection of concept videos, visit our concept library and video resources.
Overall, educators are using a variety of technologies to either teach standards directly or to provide hands-on instruction to engage students. We found the survey results to be incredibly informative - we hope you also get some benefit from them. If you are thinking about integrating fun STEM projects into your instruction, please take a look at the materials and services from SparkFun. Also, please check out our Concept Library and Concept Videos - we built them based on educator requests and feedback.