Education

Computers in the Classroom, Then and Now

April 22, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In case you needed a reminder about how far we’ve come in using technology in schools, I thought I’d send you to the Ed Week archives. Greg Chronister, our executive editor, passed along this story which ran in Education Week 25 years ago this week.

“Number of Computers in Schools Doubles,” said the headline, above the lede, which read: “Microcomputers were added to thousands of public-school classrooms during the past year, according to a new survey.”

The story goes on to describe how nearly 70 percent, or 55,765, of the nation’s elementary and secondary schools reported using computers for instruction in fall 1983, up from just 30 percent a year earlier. I was in my senior year of high school in New York state the previous fall, albeit in a Catholic school, and I can’t remember seeing a single computer in classrooms there.

By 1983, there was one computer for every 125 students enrolled in public schools. Apple brands dominated, according to the survey, representing about half those computers, followed by Radio Shack, Commodore, Atari, Texas Instruments, and IBM.

Fast forward to today. The data in 2009 Technology Counts show how far we’ve come. This trend story in Tech Counts, which came out last month, reports that for the 2005-06 school year, 3.8 students, on average, shared each instructional computer in the nation’s public schools. In South Dakota, just two students shared each computer, while in Utah, Delaware, California, Mississippi, and Rhode Island, there was one machine for every five students.

No matter where a child lives in the country these days, computers are a standard classroom feature. That may be why I get that shocked look from my children, and even some of my younger colleagues, when I remind them that “back in the day, we didn’t have computers in my school.”

I may be sensitive, but that look seems to suggest: “Wow, you must really be old.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure Webinar
A New Era In Connected Learning: Security, Accessibility and Affordability for a Future-Ready Classroom
Learn about Windows 11 SE and Surface Laptop SE. Enable students to unlock learning and develop new skills.
Content provided by Microsoft Surface
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Making Technology Work Better in Schools
Join experts for a look at the steps schools are taking (or should take) to improve the use of technology in schools.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: April 27, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 6, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 30, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
6 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 16, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
7 min read