Broad Adoption of Ed. Tech. Is Slow, SIIA Survey Says

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — June 29, 2009 2 min read

More of the nation’s schools have tapped into high-speed Internet access to allow for greater and more efficient use of online tools for learning, concludes a survey released here June 28.

Schools are also seemingly well-equipped to secure student data and provide safe access online, according to the survey by the Software & Information Industry Association.

But schools’ progress toward broader adoption of educational technology and using it to improve instruction and student learning is slow, and most have not been able to incorporate tech-based assessment tools to the degree they need. Overall, schools and districts reported that they are 62 percent of the way toward meeting benchmarks for school technology use, just a 1 percent improvement since last year. Those goals were outlined by the Washington-based SIIA, which represents education technology companies, in collaboration with publishers and education organizations.

The “SIIA Vision K-20 Survey” suggests that schools might be ramping up their capability to use tech-tools in the classroom, a trend that could provide incentive to publishers to develop the kinds of innovative products teachers need to improve instruction and raise achievement, Karen Billings, SIIA’s vice president of education, said at a press conference. Tight education budgets, however, could be a roadblock to schools’ purchase and utilization of such products in the foreseeable future.

“They are inching along very slowly. We were hoping for five to six percent improvement in meeting the goals, then we’d be getting closer to our vision in five years,” she said. “But at one percent a year, we’re not going to see it in our lifetimes. That’s a bit disconcerting.”

21st-Century Benchmarks

The release is timed to the kickoff of the National Educational Computing Conference, or NECC, which runs June 28-July 1 and is expected to draw thousands of educators, researchers, and education technology experts and companies.

The report synthesizes the answers of 500 respondents to 20 questions about the use of technology in schools, and compares their responses to those offered when the survey was first conducted last year. The latest survey was conducted this past spring.

The SIIA proposed the benchmarks for incorporating technology into the school curriculum and instruction. The goals include utilizing 21st-century tools for teaching and learning; providing anytime/anywhere access to educational technology for teachers and students; using technology to enhance the education enterprise; offering a range of learning options and resources to close achievement gaps; and using technology-based assessment tools.

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