Three in Four U.S. Teachers Say Open Educational Resources Are Used More Often Than Textbooks

Annual survey results suggest that connectivity and hardware barriers are falling as online sharing enables broad-based adoption of digital resources

Mar 08, 2016, 10:00 ET from TES Global

AUSTIN, Texas, March 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

TES Global, digital education company and home to the world's largest online teacher network, today published the findings of its second annual Teachers and Technology Survey. Conducted in January and February 2016, the survey gathered opinions on classroom technology from nearly 1,000 American teachers.

For the second year in a row, the survey revealed near saturation of education technology; however, 2016 figures show that adoption of open educational resource in particular appears to be accelerating, with 73% of survey respondents reporting that they now use open resources more often than textbooks.

Adoption of OER has been buoyed by teacher word-of-mouth, as well as recent regulatory shifts. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education issued new regulation that requires all copyrightable intellectual property created with grant funds to have an open license. According to a 2015 report from Hewlett, Creative Commons-licensed works have increased from 50 million in 2006 to 1.18 billion in 2015.

This year's survey also provides a window into the uses of technology in the classroom. The data suggests that application of technology is broadening beyond its historic focus on intervention and remediation, and that adoption of online communication tools has reached a tipping point.

  • 84% report that they are using technology to deliver whole-group instruction; 74% use it for differentiated instruction.  
  • 70% of teachers report that they are using technology to communicate with parents, reflecting a perennial focus on parent engagement - and confirming the broad-based adoption of online tools like Remind and ClassDojo.
  • The majority (93%) agrees that technology has most impacted the way they approach time management, as well as instructional delivery (88%).

Access to hardware also appears to be accelerating. This year's survey highlights an increase in access to hardware, and a substantial drop in connectivity challenges.

  • Just 27% indicated that they lacked enough computers and tablets, although 37% say this is still the most wanted technology in their classroom.
  • 16% claim that internet connectivity is a barrier to successful use of technology in the classroom, compared to 35% in 2015.
  • 25% of the teachers surveyed would most like to see game-based technology in their classroom above any other single technology, including laptops.
  • 10% of teachers would most like to see virtual or augmented reality headsets enter the classroom, a 5% increase from last year.

"We are thrilled to see improvements around access to technology and high-quality open resources," said Rob Grimshaw, chief executive officer of TES Global. "Arming teachers with the tools they need to succeed is the right way to ensure that innovative technologies can impact student performance."

Today at SXSWedu, Grimshaw will be discussing these survey findings and predictions for how technology will shape the future of education.  More details on his panel can be found here.

About TES Global 

TES Global is a fast-growing and digital education company committed to supporting teaching and learning. Our mission to help improve performance and standards in education by both supporting teachers with a portfolio of tailored digital services, and by providing the world's most respected higher education data and analysis. We are home to the world's largest online community of teachers, with 7.9 million registered users. For more information, visit

About SXSWedu  

The SXSWedu Conference & Festival fosters innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders across a variety of backgrounds in education. The four-day event affords registrants open access to engaging sessions, interactive workshops, hands-on learning experiences, film screenings, early-stage startups and a host of networking opportunities. By providing a platform for collaboration, SXSWedu works to promote creativity and social change.

SXSWedu is a component of the South by Southwest® family of conferences and festivals that includes SXSW® Music, Film and Interactive; SXSW Eco® and SXSW V2V®. Internationally recognized as the convergence gathering for the creative arts, SXSWedu extends SXSW's support for the art of engagement beyond musicians, filmmakers and new media innovators to include society's true rock stars: educators.

Join the passionate and innovative community at SXSWedu, March 7-10, 2016 in Austin, Texas. For more information, please visit