- Report Published -
|Studying Incentives to Advance Computer Assisted Instruction|
|Department of Education|
|HJR 118 (Regular Session, 1986)|
|For years educational institutions at all levels, business, the military, government, and the home have used elements of technology for educational purposes. Training films, video and audio tapes and discs, radio and television programs, and telecourses have been and continue to be used in various ways for instruction. With the availability of the microcomputer, computers have joined the list of educational technology tools. The number of computers in the nation's K-12 classrooms is estimated to be 1,075,000.|
Most Virginia schools have at least some computers, but only a relative few have them in sufficient numbers to provide significant student access. A sampling of Virginia school divisions revealed an average of one personal computer for every 41 students. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University which queried principals and teachers at 2,361 public and non-public elementary and secondary schools, states that during an average week at a typical computer-using school, only one-quarter of the student body used computers. Likewise, 37 percent of elementary school teachers used computers, compared to only 15 percent of secondary school teachers.
The accumulation of evidence on the effectiveness of computers in education has been restricted by the limited access of students to computers and by the relative newness of the technology in education. But enough evidence has been gathered on the relatively limited applications of computers in education to give confidence that the technology can produce effective results. The National Task Force on Educational Technology report, April 1986, states that "the computer is a device uniquely suited for education."
Virginia has reason to be proud of those school divisions that have taken a leadership role in the application of computer technology. However, resources in most school divisions have only allowed computer applications in programs such as computer science/math, business computer applications, and computer literacy; support is not widely available for the total integration of the computer in the K-12 curriculum. Although all school divisions are required to offer computer literacy instructional units for all students, a small percentage have the opportunity to use the computer as an instructional tool in subsequent classes and school assignments.
Many Virginia educators still lack basic computer literacy skills, and a majority have received no formal inservice on teaching with the computer. In addition, most educators do not have access to computers and training to enable them to use instructional management and productivity software.
Virginia's public schools should be developing a technology-based educational environment where computers are not used as "add ons," but are an integral part of the educational system. To offer this environment, most Virginia schools will need many more computers, students and teachers will need much more access to them, and our educators will need more knowledge about how to use them effectively in the teaching/learning process.
Consequently, the recommendations contained in this report call for ongoing planning at all levels concerning the implementation of educational technology with adequate funding and support mechanisms to implement those plans, for a revision of existing curriculum to include the skills and knowledge required by an information-age society, for employment of computer technologies to improve the teaching/learning process, and the massive training of educators to use technology both as a teaching and personal productivity tool.