Using Computers in School

While parents, K-12 students and educators agree that using computers in schools is essential to learning and student success, parents are dissatisfied with the technology skills their children are learning in schools according to a report released by Project Tomorrow(R), a national education nonprofit organization.

According to the survey, only one-third of parents and 40 percent of students in grades 6 through 12 believe that schools are doing a good job of preparing students for the 21st century. In contrast, more than half of principals surveyed believe they are doing a good job of preparing students.

“The disconnect between educators and parents reveals the need for schools to improve the integration of technology into the learning environment and students’ learning experiences,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “Parents do not feel that schools are effectively preparing students for the jobs of the 21st century, and view technology implementation as essential to student success.”

Parents believe that teachers need more training and more access to up to date technology and support school adoption of 21st century technology-infused approaches to teaching and learning, ranging from online textbooks to tools such as interactive white boards, laptops for students, computer projection devices and technology based organizational tools.

“As a parent, I want my son’s school to provide a world class education and prepare him with the skills he needs for the jobs of the future,” said Pam Young, a parent from Mission Viejo, Calif. “Using technology in school is key to achieving both of these objectives. I think it is essential that our schools provide opportunities for students to use a wide range of new technologies in the classroom, and that the teachers are well trained in how to use technology to increase student achievement.”

The findings are included in the report Learning in the 21st Century: Parents’ Perspectives, Parents’ Priorities, which examines parent responses to the aspirations of students for technology enhanced learning environments. The data is from Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up project, an annual survey which has collected and reported on the views of more than 335,000 U.S. K-12 students, parents and educators about online education and 21st century learning.

Many schools have words in the mission statement which indicate that they will prepare students to thrive in the 21st century and yet have teachers on their staff who are not proficient in the use of computers.  Obviously there is a disconnect between the words and the vision.