K-20 Digital Advances Seen as Slow

By Katie Ash — June 29, 2010 1 min read
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K-12 and postsecondary institutions are moving toward a vision of technology-rich, 21st-century education, albeit very slowly, says a new survey by the education division of the Washington-based Software and Information Industry Association, or SIIA.

The vision, outlined by SIIA, measures schools on 21st century tools, anytime/anywhere access, differentiated learning, assessment tools, and enterprise support. Roughly 650 educators representing all levels of K-20 education participated in this annual survey, which is in its third year.

The survey, released at the ISTE conference here in Denver on Tuesday, found that postsecondary institutions were ahead of K-12 schools in every category except the development of data systems to track student data and achievement, which researchers attributed to the push for tracking student data in K-12 that was spurred by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Overall, education institutions scored highest on implementing security tools to protect student data and privacy, as well as securing high-speed broadband access for communication and administrative needs. Areas where education institutions scored the lowest included creating electronic portfolios of student work and providing online courses to ensure that all students have access to high-quality instruction regardless of location.

The overall average on all 20 indicators, on a scale of 0-100 percent, was 62.2 percent, which is 0.39 percentage points higher than last year’s results, and 1.34 percentage points higher than the results from 2008.

Karen Billings, the vice president of SIIA’s education division, said the slow growth could be at least partially explained by the economic downturn. However, to reach the goals outlined by SIIA’s vision anytime soon, education institutions are going to have to greatly increase their rate of progress, she pointed out.

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