Tech in curriculum still evolving
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jan 15, 2002
Although most K-12 students have access to computers and the Internet in
public schools, just how well those tools are being used is unknown, according
to a nationwide report released Jan. 15.
In 2001, 94 percent of schools were connected to the Internet and the
ratio of students per computer with Internet access was 7-to-1, an improvement
from 1998 when the ratio was 20-to-1, according to "CyberEducation 2002,"
the latest in a series of such reports by AeA (www.aeanet.org), a high-tech
industry association, and co-sponsored by the Nasdaq Stock Market Inc.
However, William Archey, president and chief executive officer of AeA,
said the issue isn't computer and Internet access anymore, but how technology
is incorporated in the curriculum. "It's still evolving," he said. "It still
has a long way to go."
The report said that in 2000, 27 percent of teachers felt very well
prepared to use computers and the Internet for instruction, up 7 percent
from 1998; and 39 percent felt moderately prepared, up 2 percent from 1998.
Twenty-six states require technology training for an initial teacher
license, but only three mandate that teachers take a technology test to
obtain it. North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia test students
on technology, but only North Carolina requires students to take tests on
computer literacy before they graduate, Archey said.
Michaela Platzer, AeA vice president for research and policy analysis,
said there are U.S. Education Department studies looking at technology usage
in schools, but it's too early to draw conclusions. Nationwide, she said
technology integration into the curriculum is sporadic and usually comes
from a teacher's initiative rather than a school or district.
She said it's a lot to expect for teachers to learn to use the tools
for instruction when they are burdened with many other duties. Another issue
is that older teachers may not be as technologically proficient or eager
to incorporate computers and the Internet into the classroom.
Platzer said the private sector could offer technology training classes
to teachers or provide sabbaticals to their employees to teach in schools.
But vision and leadership has to come from all over, she added.
The report provided a state-by-state analysis of technology access in
schools; achievement scores in math, science, reading and writing; and performance
standards for students and teachers. AeA officials said the report is meant
to provide a benchmark for states particularly in science and math proficiency.