Investment in educational hardware and software, while “a major component in educational restructuring and reform initiatives,” has not been matched by coordinated efforts to train teachers to use the equipment effectively, a new report from the Southern Regional Education Board concludes.
Writing in a preface to the report--which surveyed the planning and purchasing patterns of state precollegiate and postsecondary programs in the group’s 15 member states--Mark Musick, the board’s president, questions whether investment in new technology is outpacing “the training necessary to realize its potential.”
“In the area of greatest investment--public schools--few teachers have progressed beyond the simplest computer operations, and most schools have not even begun to explore ways to fully integrate technology into the daily curriculum,” he writes.
Mr. Musick concludes that states, therefore, “need to address this basic question: ‘Are we in a position to take best advantage of educational technology today and more advantage of the technology of tomorrow.?’”
The document, entitled “Plans and Investments in Educational Technology: A Status Report for the S.R.E.B. States,” contains highlights of state technology plans for grades K to 12 and postsecondary education as well as detailed summaries of technology-related activities in the states.
The report notes, for instance, that:
- The Alabama Department of Education is expected to submit a multi-year request to the state legislature this year to allocate $7 million annually to support educational technology.
- Universities and selected public schools in Mississippi are participating in “Mississippi 2000,” a public private telecommunications project involving the International Business Machines Corporation, Apple Computer, and Northern Telecom.
- A measure in Texas would expand the state’s Integrated Telecommunications System to serve public schools.
- The state of Virginia is expected to spend $4.7 million in the 1992 fiscal year to finance technology acquisitions for local schools to meet the mandates of the state’s six-year plan for educational technology.
The report also contains recommendations for steps that states should consider as they move toward an information-based curriculum.
The report notes that “planning strategies need to become more systematic and that there is relatively wide support among telecommunications planners in the S.R.E.B. region for systems-planning methodology.”
It also notes that there is a “critical absence” of research on faculty interests in technology and an “unmet need” for evaluative research on the effectiveness and efficiency of information technologies.
Copies of the report are available for $10 each from the Southern Regional Education Board, 592 10th St., N.W., Atlanta, Ga. 30318-5790.
A version of this article appeared in the January 29, 1992 edition of Education Week as S.R.E.B. Report Laments Lack of Technology Training