Despite the rapid infusion of computers into American schools, inequities persist in access to educational technology and how it is used to enhance learning, an Education Week report to be released this week concludes.
Technology Counts 2001: The New Divides, the fourth edition of the newspaper’s report on the state of school technology, examines the disparities in access to, and the use of, such technology. The 106-page report is scheduled for release May 10.
The report reveals that the number of students per computer in the nation’s poorest schools has dropped to an average of 5.3, just slightly above the national average of 4.9. But a package of stories in the report illustrates that disparities still exist—especially for poor children, minority youngsters, girls, low-achieving students, rural students, students with disabilities, and children learning to speak English as a second language.
“We need to move beyond counting machines and the limited vision of the digital divide that goes along with it,” said Virginia B. Edwards, the editor and publisher of Education Week.
Included in the report are results from a new national survey of 500 middle and high school students. The survey, which looked primarily at students who have access to computers at home and at school, found an evolving gap between technology’s promise and the reality of how it is used to support student learning.
For example, while 88 percent of the students surveyed said that having good computer skills is “somewhat” or a “great deal” important for career success, only 40 percent said that knowing about computers is “extremely” or “very” important to how well they do in school.
Education Week subscribers will receive their copies of the report, dated as the May 10 issue of the newspaper, by mail. The report also will be available on the newspaper’s Web site after 8 a.m. Eastern time that day, at www.edweek.org/tc01.
A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2001 edition of Education Week as Technology Report Finds Inequities