High-tech classrooms need boost

Teachers and students told a congressional educational panel last week that great strides have been made toward integrating technology in the classroom, but more support from policy-makers and teachers will be necessary to make American classrooms truly high-tech.

"There are still a large percentage of teachers not making an attempt to integrate technology into the classroom," testified Rodney Rivera, a recent graduate of Delaware's Glasgow High School. Rivera said that the problem is due partly to lack of funding for software to integrate the technology into classrooms and partly due to a lack of knowledge on the part of teachers.

The hearing was hosted by Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.), chairman of a House subcommittee that administers major technology grant programs, including the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, and was attended by Delaware Gov. Tom Carper (D). The state received $1 million in 1997 and $2 million in 1998 from Technology Literacy Challenge Fund grants. However, 60 percent of Delaware's schools do not have the electrical capabilities to connect classrooms to the Internet.

The hearing, which included testimony from teachers, students and education professionals, focused on how effectively state and local schools have used federal funds and how best to use technology as an education reform tool in the future.

For third-grade teacher Sallie Reissman, who teaches at Lombardy Elementary School in Wilmington, Del., access to technology is the key for many teachers who still have little experience with computers. "Making a computer available to each teacher at their desk would allow them to become productive and comfortable with technology," Reissman said.

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