November 10, 1997

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Vol. 17, Issue 11
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In poll after poll, parents say technology is essential to a child’s education. Many educators believe it’s the missing linchpin of school reform. Business leaders consider it a mandatory part of a student’s preparation for the workplace. And policymakers at every level of government are spending more money on it each year.
What gets measured, gets money, some policy analysts say. The flip side—what gets money, gets measured—may be equally true. Perhaps for both reasons, state policymakers are showing greater interest in getting accurate, up-to-date data on technology in public schools.
Were it not for the age of the students, this 8th grade language arts classroom could easily be mistaken for a modern office in some sleek, glass-and-steel building downtown.
Technology has literally helped open schoolhouse doors for disabled students and given impetus to the “full inclusion” movement, which calls for teaching disabled students in regular classrooms whenever possible.
Classrooms that use technology wisely and integrate it into the curricula are hard to come by.
There is little nationwide data on what percentage of teachers have received technology training, and even less on what form that training has taken. But a 1994 survey by the U.S. Department of Education shows that only 15 percent of the nation’s teachers had had at least nine hours of instruction in educational technology.
Library media specialists can be a big help to teachers who want to learn more about technology, three experts who have experience in the position say.
As technology flows ever faster into the nation’s schools, many administrators say they’re feeling swamped by the challenges of putting it into place.
Much has been made of technology’s ability to open schools up to the world via the Internet and satellites. But technology is playing an equally powerful role in opening schools up to their local communities.
School technology has become the educational initiative du jour for lawmakers across the nation and of every political stripe.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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