“Technology in schools, by the numbers”

Schools around the nation are struggling to merge with the new electronic age. Here's a statistical look at how they're doing.

“Keeping up with technology in school is a national problem. Here are some figures from a survey conducted by the Milkin Exchange on Education Technology and published in the magazine “Education Week.’’ Coupeville and Oak Harbor school officials say that local schools conform fairly closley to the survey findings.• Three of every four U.S. public school classrooms have at least one computer designated for instructional use. • Multimedia computers, defined as having a sound card and a CD-ROM drive, make up 45 percent of all computers in public schools. • The number of U.S. students for every instructional multimedia computer dropped from 21 in 1997 to 13 in 1998. • Eighty-five percent of schools are connected to the Internet, with 58 percent having access from at least one classroom, 54 percent having access from a computer lab, and 70 percent having access from a library/media center. • Forty-four percent of classrooms are connected to the Internet, an increase of 41 percent since 1994. • Across the nation and in many states, high-poverty schools are less likely than other schools to have Internet access. • The vast majority of teachers have had some training in education technology. But in 1997, 40 percent of teachers reported having had no formal training in using the Internet.• Two-thirds of teachers say they spend two hours or less per week using the Internet for instruction. • All but eight states provided funds for education technology in fiscal 1998. State spending ranged from $500,000 in Vermont to $230 million in California, for a total of $1.7 billion. • States draw on a variety of sources to pay for technology other than their general funds. Georgia and Indiana, for example, depend heavily on lottery revenues. In Missouri, a 1-cent tax on video rentals brings in $1 million a year. In Idaho, a $28 million donation from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation will account for the majority of the state’s technology spending this school year.”