New Data on Digital Learning Reveals Emerging Trends and Top Challenges for K–12 Students and Teachers

While an increasing number of schools across the U.S. are embracing digital learning, a new study from Schoology – the leading K-12 learning management and assessment platform – reveals that too many students still lack access to technology in the classroom and at home. This is just one of several major findings released today in the State of Digital Learning in K-12 Education study, which provides an in-depth view of the biggest challenges, opportunities and priorities related to digital learning and student achievement in K-12 schools.

“Our State of Digital Learning research gives educators from across the country an important lens to help make informed technology decisions for their schools and districts,” said Justin Serrano, President of Schoology. “We’ve seen an increased interest in and focus on utilizing technology to improve instruction throughout the years, and we want to help improve EdTech through our innovative products and research.”

Nearly 9,300 K-12 teachers and administrators from across the U.S. – most having more than 10 years of experience in education – responded to the survey, making it one of the largest K-12 surveys ever conducted. The study explores several topics, including obstacles to student learning, challenges teachers face, the role and impact of technology, digital citizenship, emerging EdTech trends, the most effective instructional approaches, and the impact of professional learning communities on professional development.

Key findings of the report include:

Digital learning remains inaccessible for many children

The challenges that educators face include a lack of infrastructure, budget or access at home – all of which are beyond a teacher’s control. Around 35 percent of teachers felt that student access to technology was a major digital learning challenge, while nearly a third of administrators listed technological infrastructure as a top digital learning challenge.

Strategic approach required to reduce complexity for teachers

Nearly 38 percent of teachers surveyed said juggling multiple tools for teaching and learning is a challenge. At some point, incorporating too many tools without a strategic approach to doing so can become more burdensome than helpful.

Internet safety is a huge concern

More than 34 percent of respondents cited internet safety as the number one digital citizenship concern, yet an equal number of respondents do not have a digital citizenship program in place or are not encouraged to discuss the topic with students.

Social media is finding its place in the classroom

About 40 percent of schools allow social media for educational purposes only, while nearly 20 percent have an openly permitted social media policy. These numbers speak to the notion that institutions are increasingly meeting students where they are.

Professional Development (PD) needs an upgrade

Digital learning needs to extend beyond the K-12 classroom and into teacher PD opportunities. Most PD courses are still conducted via in-person workshops, with 60 percent of schools and districts relying on periodic workshops.

You can view and download the study at

About Schoology

Schoology seamlessly connects learning management with assessments so that school districts can improve student performance, foster collaboration throughout their community and personalize learning for every student. Every day millions of students, parents, faculty and administrators from nearly 2,000 K-12 school districts leverage Schoology to advance what is possible in education. For more information, visit