The 2022 State EdTech Trends Report revealed that states’ education agencies and policymakers must do more to prioritize edtech in a post-pandemic digital world.

The first annual report – published by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) – provides data that highlights the great strides some states are taking to provide useful, reliable, and safe technology in the education sector, but also takes note of where they are often falling short.

The report presented four key findings. The first key finding says that “states can more intentionally connect educational priorities and technological priorities.”

The non-profit believes that states can utilize edtech to better accomplish educator recruitment and retention and address learning loss – the top two education priorities among respondents.

The state the report spotlights is Connecticut for applying edtech to support its educational goals: passing a resolution that positions unprecedented, pandemic-related school technology investments as an inflection point.

“The resolution calls on all education stakeholders to ensure ongoing support for the essential conditions for learning in the 21st century – internet, devices, and the skills to use them – as well as sustained teacher professional development,” the report said.

The report’s next point found that states vary in their approach and role relating to ensuring edtech program and product effectiveness. Nineteen states do not collect data on edtech use and effectiveness, according to the report.

Here they highlight Mississippi – a state that does collect data on edtech. Educators and leaders can use the data to identify their edtech evolution based on where they are and what they need to continue.

The report’s third key finding urges states to establish consistent definitions and categorizations for edtech.

“Creating better defined edtech roles, functions, and responsibilities within [the education sector] will help modernize and support the use of technology for teaching and learning across the state, while also helping to ensure the sustainability – and impact – of state investments in both information and instructional technology,” the report said.

Finally, the report found a disparity between states’ edtech priorities and their activities.

Respondents claimed cybersecurity as their second highest tech priority but also remains the second highest unmet technology need for the states.

With this report, SEDTA is urging state leaders – particularly because they are post-pandemic, digital 21st-century leaders – to ask important questions about educational and technological priorities, how those priorities are supported with resources, and how they can work together to create technology-rich schools for all students.