American high school students say schools are not meeting technology expectations


Technology skills are essential to a successful future,
according to the U.S. students surveyed in the second annual 21st-Century
Classroom Report, a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 high school students,
faculty and IT staff.


Ninety-four percent of students said learning and
mastering technology skills will improve their educational and career
opportunities, and 97 percent of faculty agreed.


Despite those results, just 39 percent of students say
their high schools are meeting their technology expectations. Noted one
student, I don’t want to type things just to say I used technology; I want to
be doing something I couldn’t do without it.”


The report, released by CDW Government,
a leading provider of technology solutions to government, education and
healthcare customers, seeks to understand how students and faculty want to use
technology, measure how classroom technology is evolving and identify
opportunities for continued growth.


Faculty and IT staff are making a concerted effort to
advance technology in the classroom, CDW-G found. Faculty say technologies such
as wireless Internet, interactive whiteboards and digital content are essential
to the 21st-century classroom.


Just one year ago, faculty limited must-have technology
to an internet connection, teacher computing device and LCD projector. This
year’s survey also found that 64 percent of IT staff say the technology at
their high schools is cutting edge or current, up from 41 percent in 2010.


Despite technology advancements, 86 percent of students note that they use more technology outside
the classroom than inside. Nearly all – 94 percent – say they use technology to
complete homework assignments, yet just 46 percent of faculty say they
regularly assign homework that requires the use of technology.


Students’ expectations of technology as a learning tool
are evolving nearly as fast as the latest technologies,” said Thomas E.
Richards, president and chief operating officer, CDW. The most successful
districts are adapting, even amid constrained resources, in order to foster new
opportunities for critical thinking and collaboration.”


Leading school districts are using digital content, an
emerging component of the 21st-century classroom, according to this year’s
survey. Eleven percent of districts are using digital content as an alternative
to traditional print textbooks, and 62 percent of IT staff said their districts
are considering it. Nearly three-quarters of faculty noted that digital content
is essential because of its ability to provide faculty and students with better
access to updated information.


Districts are looking beyond current budget challenges:
Despite the expectation that 47 percent of district IT budgets will decrease
from current levels during the next school year, 65 percent of districts plan
investments in classroom technology over the next two years.


Districts have an opportunity to leverage mobility
devices in the learning process, as students say smartphones (30 percent) and
MP3 players (36 percent) are essential tools in a 21st-century classroom.


High school students and faculty use technology to
communicate – but not necessarily collaborate – with peers. Asked about
technology as a communication tool, 59 percent of students say they communicate
with other students every day, but only 23 percent use it to collaborate on
assignments and projects with other students.


By Team
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