How widespread is the use of information technology in preschool through high school?
Since 1997, Education Week has published an annual fifty-state report on how U.S. middle and high schools are utilizing technology. The free online report, Technology Counts, provides extensive summary information and state-by-state data about level of access to technology, capacity to use technology, and actual use of technology.
Within these broad categories, the report tracks such information as number of students per computer, location of computers, level of Internet connectivity, amount of technology training that teachers receive, presence of a technology plan or technology standards, percentage of teachers using computers for planning, percentage of students using computers for learning, and various specifics regarding how computers are being used by academic subject.
As would be expected, the report evolves somewhat each year to address trends. For example, the 2002 report was the first to assess the prevalence of distance learning in schools: it found that twenty-five states allow for the creation of so-called cyber charter schools and that thirty-two states were sponsoring e-learning initiatives, include online testing programs, virtual schools, and Internet-based professional development. The 2003 report placed a strong emphasis on computer-based assessment and the overall effects of the No Child Left Behind Act on technology in schools. The 2003 report also was the first to assess the prevalence of handheld computer use for students (3% of schools) and teachers (7% of schools) and of laptop-lending programs (18% of schools).
For links to each of the Technology Counts reports from 1997 to present, see the Technology Counts Archive. If you have not registered with the site on a previous visit, you will be asked to register prior to gaining access to the reports. Registration is free.
As growing numbers of educational entities embrace educational technology, it is critical that the accessibility of these programs be addressed. Technology should enhance the learning experiences of all students and serve as an equalizer rather than a barrier to students with disabilities.