21st Century Learning | News

Survey Shows Decline in U.S. Educational Technology Progress

SIIA's 2011 Vision K-20 finds schools should do a better job of meeting students' personalized needs and provide higher-caliber assessment tools.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has released the results of its fourth annual national education survey. Findings show that educational institutions from elementary to graduate school levels are not making progress toward educational technology benchmarks laid out in the 2011 Vision K-20 Initiative.

According to the report, helping schools meet personalized needs of students and providing robust, timely and authentic assessment tools are the areas in greatest need of improvement.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • At 60 on a scale of 25 to 100, the average score on the 20 benchmarking statements was slightly lower than the average scores, 62, from the 2010 and 2009 surveys;
  • Scores on almost all benchmarking statements dropped slightly;
  • Use of technology-based assessment tools was the lowest ranked benchmark for the third year in a row;
  • Larger institutions tend to have higher scores than smaller institutions;
  • Postsecondary institutions generally scored higher than K-12 institutions; and
  • The two most successful benchmarks, security tools to protect student data and privacy, and the availability of high-speed broadband access for robust communication, administrative and instructional needs, were the same as in 2010.

In addition, on the five measures of progress, average scores ranged from a high of 67 for 21st century tools and 66 for enterprise support to a low of 45 for assessment tools, all representing declines from last year. The other measures, anytime/anywhere access and differentiated learning, had average scores of 63 and 54 respectively.

Average scores for the seven vision goals ranged from 66 for facilitating communication, connectivity, and collaboration to 46 for helping schools meet personalized needs of students, showing a small decline in scores from the last two years. The other goals are to support accountability and inform instruction, deepen learning and motivate students, manage the education enterprise effectively and economically, enable students to learn from any place at any time, and nurture creativity and self-expression.

The survey, conducted between July 2010 and July 1, 2011, measures institutions' progress against 20 benchmarks, and was completed by 486 educators and administrators, 90 percent of whom work in K-12 districts and schools. A pilot survey was conducted in 2008, and additional reports have been completed annually since then.

Thirty-six percent of the institutions represented in the survey were suburban, while 28 percent were rural or located in small towns, 21 percent were urban, and 15 percent were from medium-sized cities.

SIIA's K-20 vision calls for all institutions to increase student engagement and achievement, provide equity and access to new learning opportunities, document and track student performance, empower collaborative learning communities, maximize teaching and administrative effectiveness, and build student proficiencies in 21st-century skills.

The 20 benchmarks were:

  • Educational content is delivered flexibly in digital formats, media, and platforms;
  • Interactive, adaptive, multimedia courseware and simulations are used in teaching and learning;
  • Information systems provide digital student and achievement data that support instructional decisions by educators and administrators;
  • High-speed broadband access is available for robust communication, administrative, and instructional needs;
  • High-speed broadband access enables instructional uses that include collaborative learning, video-based communication, and other multimedia-rich interactions;
  • An institution Web site or portal provides the education community with access to applications, resources, and collaboration tools;
  • Ubiquitous, reliable access to resources and services is available through a multitude of mobile devices and access points;
  • Online courses ensure all students have access to high-quality instruction, no matter their location or schedule;
  • Access to online professional development resources, courses, and peer collaboration communities is provided;
  • Students have access to courseware and technology-based curriculum;
  • Electronic supplemental instructional resources and online tutoring are accessible to all students;
  • Courseware and learning management systems differentiate instruction;
  • Personal e-portfolios travel with students to demonstrate a wide range of skills and knowledge;
  • Computer-based or online assessments are used to inform instruction;
  • Technology-based assessments measure a full range of 21st-century skills and knowledge;
  • Information systems track performance and institutional data for educational accountability and decision making;
  • Educators have access to the level of technology resources, training, and support common to other professionals;
  • Robust enterprise applications and systems are in place to support institutional management and business activities;
  • Institution leaders use technology tools for planning, budgeting, and decision- making; and
  • Security tools are used to protect student data and privacy.

“Though slight, the decline in scores is disappointing. This is not a surprise as it has been an especially challenging year for education with the economic downturn and decreased budgets. And it will not be easy to close the gap between the current low use of computer-based assessments and the upcoming common core online testing requirements,” said Karen Billings, SIIA’s vice president for education. “SIIA calls on education leaders and public officials to increase support for, and adoption of, innovative technology-based educational models needed to meet the needs of today’s digital-native learners and prepare them for the digital, knowledge economy.”

SIIA is the main trade association for the software and digital media industries, and its education division serves and represents more than 180 companies that serve educational technology needs.

To view the full report on the 2011 Vision K-20 Survey, visit siia.net.


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