There are some sobering educational technology statistics emerging from a January 2008, E-School News survey:
Nearly three out of four school leaders say they don’t have enough IT staff to support their needs effectively, according to the survey. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they can’t maintain their network adequately, 63 percent said they can’t plan for new technologies, and 76 percent said they have trouble implementing new technologies.
Those of us who have been advocating for educational transformation would do well to pay attention to these numbers. Without a stable and reliable technology infrastructure can we confidently make the case that using these tools will have a positive effect on teaching and learning?
If teachers take the plunge and begin using technology and shifting their classroom practices, will they be rewarded with solid and successful experiences; or will they be frustrated and disappointed with technology which is unstable, unreliable, and unpredictable?
Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said their IT budget isn’t enough to support technology assets they’ve already purchased, and nearly 70 percent said it’s not enough to meet their district’s IT expectations.
In one district with which I work, the teachers association wrote a letter saying they would no longer use the network until it was ‘fixed’. By throwing down the gauntlet and bringing attention to an issue that was being ignored by “the powers that be”; they actually forced the issue and action was taken to clean up the awful technology conditions that existed in their building.
We can talk all we want about the potential that technology holds for the future of our childrens’ education; but without addressing the growing problem of undermanned and underfunded IT infrastructure and support; it will be difficult to maintain our hard won accomplishments, never mind take bold new steps forward.
No matter what districts say, where they put their money and resources is generally an indication of what they truly value.
They understand the importance but are not as supportive financially.’ Similarly, 81 percent said IT security is viewed as a district priority—but only 38 percent said it’s funded accordingly.
On the tactical side properly supporting our educational technology investment is a must. On the strategic side, we need to give some serious thought to how we can create and document the value of edcuational technology in such a way that it would be unthinkable not to fund it properly.
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