Planning for Technology

Article excerpt

Rising enrollments and rapid developments in technology are the two primary reasons why communities need to renovate existing schools and/or build new ones. The National Association of Secondary School Principals recommends that high school enrollments have a maximum of 600 students. The six symptoms of the intoxicated zone are listed as defined by the Naisbitts. A formula for technology budgeting of 2 to 2, 1 to 1 to 1 is discussed. An assessment rubic is given to assess the status of ongoing technology. A long-range technology plan, "work-in-progress," allows for long term technology assessment. Schools should be centers of communities. This allows the community to use the technology within the schools. Some resources are listed to assist technology planners. A bipartisan bill will ease the cost of technology for some districts.

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It is reported that the members of the National Education Association (NEA) estimate that it will cost $322 billion to renovate American schools. This amount is projected to alleviate overcrowding, repair and restore existing conditions, and make schools "Internet friendly." According to Dunne (1/ 22/01), "education technology" will cost $53.7 billion while $268.2 billion is needed for school infrastructures. This amount is triple to the reported $112 billion estimate for the 1995 school repairs and modernization.

Overview

Communities around the nation need to renovate existing schools and/or build new ones. Rising enrollments and rapid developments in technology and are the two primary reasons for this need. The majority of schools were built 40 or more years ago, making it difficult to accommodate both the rising enrollments and technological developments. The reported life span of a school is 40 years, after which rapid deterioration occurs. It is estimated that $127 billion is needed to bring the schools in America into "good condition" for the 21st century (U.S. Dept. of Ed., 2000). The purpose of this article is to offer some solutions to problems relating to technology in schools.

Enrollments

Not much was done in the 1900's to address the needs of schools. Since then, costs for infrastructure upgrades have risen substantially. Schools continue to age and deteriorate. The average American school is 42 years old with almost a third of America's schools more than 50 years old. In a 1999 Department of Education report, "The Baby Boom Echo Continues," it was forecasted that school enrollment would increase by 4.7 million in both public and private schools to a record of 54.2 million students (Dunne, 1/22/01). Educators are not only attempting to reduce class sizes, but research indicates that schools with enrollments exceeding 800 can be detrimental to the learning process. Smaller schools encourage communities to develop "smart growth policies" leading to better neighborhoods and more livable communities" (U.S. Dept of Ed., 2000).

When renovating old schools and constructing new schools, the size requirements need to be considered. Educational experts (not named) believe that "super-sized schools" hinder both the social and academic success of students. School psychologists (also not named) suggest that administrators can help control school violence in smaller school settings. The National Association of Secondary School Principals recommends that high schools have an enrollment of 600 maximum. In contrast to this recommendation, there are 71% of children attending schools with enrollments of 1,000 or more students (Dunne, 1/22/01). These enrollment issues must be taken into consideration when planning for technology in schools.

Technology

Technology, the second primary reason, for the need to renovate and build new schools is addressed in the book, High Tech-High Touch. In the audio-tape used for this article, the authors, John and Nanna Naisbitt, claimed to examine the positive and negative impacts that technology is having today in their book. …

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