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Students Not Being Encouraged To Use Technology

Students insist that technology is important to them them now and will be in their future, and about half think their schools are preparing them adequately for college and career; but, according to a new report released Monday at the ISTE 2010 conference in Denver, CO, schools are still in need of some improvements.

Based on a survey of 1,004 students, teachers, and school IT professionals, the report found that students do not think their schools are adequately incorporating technologies into their classrooms or into their learning activities, despite the fairly deep penetration of technologies in schools. Sixty percent of students surveyed said their teachers regularly use technology to teach, but only 26 percent reported that they are "encouraged to use technology throughout the day."

The report, "2010 21st-Century Classroom Report," was conducted by O'Keefe & Co. on behalf of CDW Government. There's a margin of error of ±3 percent for the full sample, ±4.9 percent for the student sample, and ±5.6 percent each for the faculty and IT professional sample.

School IT departments are making technologies available--with about 65 percent reporting the availability of wireless Internet access and 90 percent saying student computing devices are available--but at the same time, student and faculty indicated they think integration is incomplete.

Only 9 percent of students and 18 percent of teachers said technologies are "fully integrated" into their classrooms. Sixty-six percent of students and 42 percent of teachers rated technology integration as a three or lower on a scale of one to five. Further, 64 percent of teachers aren't discussing 21st century skills with their students regularly or incorporating their feedback into lesson plans, according to the report, and nearly half (47 percent) are not designing lesson plans in a way that allows students to use technology during class. According to the report, 84 percent of students think technology is important or very important for their ability to study, and 94 percent said they anticipate "using technology to complete assignments in college."

"A decade into this century, the door to 21st-century skills remains locked for many students," said Bob Kirby, vice president K-12 education for CDW-G, in a statement released to coincide with the report. "Today's students need an interactive learning environment in which the technologies that they use outside of school are integrated into the curriculum. With that in mind, districts need to focus on providing a hands-on technology experience that translates to students' futures, whether in higher education or the workforce."

Further information about the report, including a link to the complete report, can be found on CDW-G's site here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .