Online Education: Putting the Pieces Together: It Is Time to Take the Final Steps to Integrate Technology into Education. (Internet)
Dyrli, Odvard Egil, District Administration
The annual Quality Education Data research report paints a positive picture of the current state of online connectivity in K-12 education: 97 percent of America s public schools and 84 percent of public school classrooms are now connected to the Internet, and 90 percent of teachers use it as a teaching resource. However, the report also notes that the average Internet use by teachers actually dropped in 2001 from 3.5 hours per week in school to 3.2 hours. Similarly, school Internet use by students also decreased significantly throughout the country, except for the Midwest, where usage increased from 1.5 to 1.7 hours per week.
Regarding educational applications, the report, officially called QED's School Market Trends: Internet Usage in Teaching 2001, found that more than 92 percent of teachers use the Internet for supplementary materials. But no more than 6 percent use online resources as a primary source for core curriculum materials. And while 96 percent of the students use the Internet for research, the second-most popular application, at almost 60 percent, was playing games. Furthermore, less than 50 percent of students used the Internet for any other educational purpose, including homework assignments, electronic field trips or online projects.
Some of the decreased Internet use by teachers may be traced to frustration and discouragement from lack of professional support. In this regard, the report found that barely 30 percent of teachers feel "well-prepared" to use the Internet in teaching, 33 percent of teachers are self-taught, and more than 83 percent rely on colleagues to learn about Web sites.
The CEO Forum (www.ceoforum.com) recently completed a five-year "School Technology and Readiness" study. It concludes: "It is now time to take the final steps to integrate technology into instruction to improve student achievement and ensure technology benefits students, teachers, administrators, parents and communities nationwide." The report states: "Schools that functionally reflect the culture of the past, rather than the demands of the future, will not prepare students to thrive in the digital age." The forum recommends focusing on 21st century skills including digital literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication, teamwork, and the ability to create high quality products (see www. …