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learning.now: at the crossroads of Internet culture & education with host Andy Carvin

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May172006

Technology Counts 2006: Did Your State Make the Grade?

In case you haven’t seen the last issue of Education Week, they’ve released their latest Technology Counts report. Each year, Ed Week takes an in-depth look at education technology in all 50 US states. They assign the states edtech report cards, analyzing how well they stack up against each other in terms of technology access, local tech standards for both students and teachers, data collection systems and other factors.

One of the most important contributions of Technology Counts each year is their update on the state of technology access, using data collected by Market Data Retrieval (MDR).

In 1996, about two-thirds of public schools had Internet access, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. By 2003, virtually every public school could go online. Perhaps even more striking, high-poverty schools, as well as their low-poverty counterparts, could boast near-universal access to the Internet by that point….

From 1999 to 2002, student access to instructional computers improved dramatically in all types of schools. The ratio of students to computers dropped from about 5.7-to-1 to 3.8-to-1 during that period. The pace of improvement was somewhat faster in high-minority and high-poverty schools, a development that helped narrow the technology-access gap between such schools and those with lower concentrations of nonwhite and economically disadvantaged students.

But since 2002, the average level of access has barely budged, remaining close to four students per instructional computer. Yet even though the overall level of access to instructional computers appears to have reached a plateau, striking differences exist from state to state. In the average public school, 3.8 students share every computer used for instructional purposes, MDR data show. In some states, such as Maine and South Dakota, schools have an average of only two students for each computer. At the other extreme, the student-to-computer ratio exceeds the 5-to-1 mark in California, New Hampshire, and Utah, a level of computer access less than half of that found in the leading states.

This year’s issue devotes special attention to data collection, examining best practices in various school districts around the country. It also offers a snazzy tool for comparing the edtech report cards of different states, with the data displayed side-by-side for easy review.

How did your state do in this year’s report? Do you think the grade assigned to your state is on the mark? -andy

Filed under : Policy, Research

Responses

Hi Andy,

Interesting that my state, Minnesota, gets a “D” in technology (second from the bottom according to this study), yet we do very well on student achievement by any measure.

Some discussion of this at:

http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2006/5/4/minnesota-bottom-in-tech-tops-in-education.html

Doug

Here is an article I wrote in 2003. It caused the Editor of Education Week’s head to explode.

http://www.districtadministration.com/page.cfm?p=443

BTW: The best way to move up EdWeek “studies” is for your state to be more punitive. The more name calling and punishment you can direct at kids and teachers, the better!

While you ponder the EdWeek rankings, ask yourself why a newspaper full of ads and that costs $50+/ year is a tax-exempt non-profit organization?

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