U.S. public schools continue to invest broadly in technology to improve teaching and learning, according to a new technology report, The K-12 Technology Review 2005, released by Market Data Retrieval (MDR) at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC). Investments in hardware comprised the largest component of technology budgets during the 2004-2005 school year. However, there was also significant spending on data management systems to help districts meet the reporting requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and to provide educators with detailed student-level information for individualized instruction to improve student achievement.
Mobile technologies have become increasingly popular, with laptops now available in 54 percent of all schools, accounting for 17 percent of the total computer inventory (compared with only 13 percent the prior year). The availability of wireless networks has more than quadrupled in the past five years, and wireless connectivity is now available at 45 percent of schools. This year's report also includes data on other classroom technologies, including projection systems (in nearly one-half of all schools), digital whiteboards (in 30 percent of schools), video-streaming (in 30 percent of schools), and digital photography equipment (in two-thirds of schools).
In addition to providing a snapshot of technology spending and use at public schools, The K-12 Technology Review 2005 also includes new sections on purchasing practices, requirements, and preferences, as well as on teachers' use of e-mail. Other key findings of the comprehensive report are:
Technology Spending and Trends • Well over three-fourths of all districts reported that 2005 budgets remained the same or increased over 2004 levels. • Projections for 2006 indicate that roughly 70 percent of districts expect their budgets to be the same or higher than in 2005. However, 15 percent expect decreases by 10 percent or more, and another 10 percent of districts project decreases between 5 percent and 9 percent.
• The most important technology need for 2006 is for more hardware or hardware upgrades, and the top technology investments planned are for computers for student use and network and infrastructure upgrades.
Purchasing Practices, Requirements, and Preferences • Nearly one-half of all schools now use online purchasing for instructional materials and supplies, a significant increase over prior years. • Districts purchase technology from a variety of sources, with direct purchases from the provider being most prevalent (79 percent). Other popular ways to buy are through a co-op buying agency, consortium, or regional education center and from retailers. • Most large districts are required to purchase technology-related products from a preferred vendor list, while most small districts have no such requirement. • The majority of districts have identified one hardware brand for new purchases in order to reduce support issues. Dell is cited most frequently (by 43 percent of districts), followed by HP/Compaq (by 19 percent) and Macintosh (by 17 percent).
• One-third of districts are required to purchase only software/online content that was backed by scientifically-based research.
• Virtually all teachers have personal school-based e-mail accounts that can be easily accessed in their classrooms (by 95 percent), homes (by 55 percent), and other locations. • During the past year, 15 percent of teachers ordered an education-related product as a result of an e-mail advertisement—three times more than five years ago when only 5 percent did so. • Teachers are most likely to respond to e-mail messages offering an education-related product or service from companies with whom they've done business in the past (44 percent) and from those which they had requested information (34 percent). However, teachers appear to be somewhat open to e-mail offers from other sources. • More than one-half of teachers have ordered an educational product over the Internet during the past year. The most common items were books, but the range of products ordered was extremely varied. • Free shipping, sample products, and other no-charge incentives that might be offered by education marketers were most appealing to the majority of teachers.
The K-12 Technology Review 2005 is based on results of three separate surveys conducted during the 2004-2005 school year. A school survey was completed by technology specialists from more than 22,000 schools between October 2004 and March 2005. Additional surveys were completed by nationwide samples of districts and teachers in May 2005. The report sells for $195 and is available in PDF format.
To learn more about MDR's research reports or to order reports, visit http://www.schooldata.com.
Source: Market Data Retrieval, http://www.schooldata.com