Parents View Technology Education, Digital Literacy as Essential Classroom Priorities, CompTIA Spark Study Reveals

Classroom instruction and funding for technology education and digital literacy should be an essential priority to prepare middle schools and high school students for success, new research by CompTIA Spark, the social impact arm of CompTIA, reveals.

The CompTIA Spark “Parent Perceptions of Technology and Careers” report, based on a survey of over 1,100 parents across the country, found that 80% believe tech education and digital literacy should be an essential funding priority. Parents see this instruction as a source of critical skills for students that will help them succeed in school, in life and in their future career.

“Technology curriculum can help parents and educators open students’ minds to new learning opportunities and future careers,” said Charles Eaton, CEO, CompTIA Spark.

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Parents of middle and high school students have an overall positive impression of technology, its current status and its prospects for the future, although there is room for improvement in how parents and students view technology as a potential career

Two-thirds of parents surveyed say they believe that tech is moving in a positive direction, compared to 56% of students who participated in a previous survey. Parents of students who were already considering careers in technology were more positive about tech careers compared with parents of students who were ahead of their classmates in tech proficiency but were not considering tech careers.

Among the 14% of parents with a negative view of technology’s direction, their concerns include privacy and control of personal data; distractions caused by apps and devices; growing cybersecurity risks; and cyberbullying and the general lack of civility online.

“These responses show that parents see technology as a distraction to students, rather than a tool to help them learn,” Eaton said. “Our aim is to change these views by providing parents and students the resources they need to explore how technology can help them excel in their future careers.”

CompTIA Spark offers free technology curriculum for middle school classrooms. The curriculum is designed to give students the confidence and skills they need to succeed in today’s tech-powered world. Inspired by real-world work and the latest technology concepts, the curriculum can build students’ digital fluency and help them explore future career pathways.

CompTIA Spark’s focus on career exploration aligns with parents’ desire for more career guidance information for their children. Only 57% of all parents surveyed say their child’s school has adequate career planning resources. The percentage is slightly higher (61%) for parents of high school students, and lower (45%) for parents of middle school students.

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“Through this curriculum, we’re inviting middle schools to reinvent the tech learning experience and shape how tech education is delivered,” Eaton said. “Middle school students are more curious, creative and braver with learning. Our program helps students become confident real-world problem solvers and engages them early to address the leaky STEM pipeline.”

Overall, the numbers show parents slightly overestimate their children’s interest in tech careers. More than one-quarter of parents said their children were considering jobs in tech (27%), while students’ self-reported interest in tech careers was 22%. The study also notes a gender gap. Parents of high-school age boys (70%) were more positive about careers in tech than were parents of girls (63%) the same age. Overall, 32% of boys surveyed said they were considering careers in technology, compared to 21% of girls.

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