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Implementing Educational Technology in K-12 Public Education: The Importance of Factors to Senior School Administrators in Pennsylvania

Implementing Educational Technology in K-12 Public Education: The Importance of Factors to Senior School Administrators in Pennsylvania
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Author(s): David Carbonara (Robert Morris University, USA) and Lawrence A. Tomei (Duquesne University, USA)
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 4
Source title: Emerging Trends and Challenges in Information Technology Management
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-019-6.ch306
ISBN13: 9781616921286
EISBN13: 9781466665361

Abstract

Use of Technology. The word “technology” has taken on several connotations during its relatively recent arrival in the middle of the 20th century. Technology has always been described from the perspective of hardware; specifically, devices that deliver information and serve as tools to facilitate a task and solve problems. From its initial ancestry, the definition of technology expanded in concert with the phenomenal increases in applications and further refinement to our collective understanding of how technology impacts teaching and learning. Technology and the Reality of Education. Between 1998 and 1999, the number of computers in the US schools increased 13 percent, and almost 80 percent of schools have Internet connections (Shelly, 2000). However, schools are experiencing difficulty in effectively integrating these technologies into existing curricula (Brand, 1998). The commitment to technology is incumbent upon all levels of all stakeholders involved in education. Administrators, teachers and parents, even the local community, must work together if learning is to benefit from technology. Yet, we all know from experience that it can very difficult to focus on integrating technology to support learning without overcoming basic technological equipment and facilities issues. Schools that serve students in economically disadvantaged areas typically have greater challenges than schools in more affluent communities. For some, buildings are so old that providing the necessary infrastructure is very difficult. For others, a lack of security is a problem manifested by outfitting computer classrooms with iron bars on outside windows. Schools in particular communities have severe access issues in part because of problems with basic electric service; many schools are simply unable to handle the additional load required by computer networks without major (expensive) modifications. Studies have found technology to be effective if it is embedded in other school improvement efforts (McNabb, 1999; Byrom, 1998; Goldman et al, 1999; and, Wilson & Peterson, 1995). Technology as a Teaching and Learning Strategy. Research investigations have also determined that technology contributes to raising student learning outcomes in two primary ways: (a) through active, meaningful learning and challenging collaboration, and (b) via real-life tasks involving technology as a tool for learning, communication, and collaboration (Jones et al, 1995). School boards are willing to spend money on preparing schools to be technology compliant, however, in today’s outcomes-based atmosphere, board members (and their constituents) expect tangible results. Research confirms that more computers, more hardware, software, and increasing the number of computer peripherals without giving teachers training hardly ever impact students. Many school districts have computers, laser disks, digital cameras, scanner and other technology equipment that are only used by a very small percent of the faculty. “One of the biggest barriers to effective use of technology in education is the lack of professional development” (Norman, 2000).

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