Thursday, May 1, 2008

2008 South Carolina Technology Grades

Thanks to Angela Maier’s post on Did Your State Make the Grade so that I could see how my state rated on technology compared to the rest of the nation. On Education Week’s 2008 State Technology Grades page, I clicked on South Carolina to see how my state was doing. (You can click on your individual state too).

South Carolina received an overall grade of B- which was higher than the average state.

I was pleased to see that 97% of our 4th graders had access to computers but was concerned when only 90% of our 8th graders had access. It seems like the older they get, the less access to computers the students have. It also mentioned that South Carolina doesn’t have computer based assessments. I’m sure this means overall because I believe in my district that we did computer based assessments but not all districts have the money or the capabilities or the leadership to incorporate this into their systems. Students per instructional computer was 3.8 and high speed internet-connected computers were only 3.6.

After reading this report, I began to think that now that we have this report, what are the districts going to do about it? Will they just look at it and shove it under a pile of papers or will they take positive action? Ignoring this won’t make it go away. Here are some ideas that could happen from this:
Parents: I hope some parents will see this report and bring it to their principal’s attention or maybe bring it to a School Improvement Council (SIC) meeting or to the Parent/Teacher/Student Association (PTSA). Start discussion on how improving technology can improve the school, and the community. If you have a technology background, offer to help the school discuss changes and ways to go about making these changes.

Teachers: Bring it to their principal’s attention or the IT person in their district. Start discussion on how to improve this score. Talk about how use of technology in the classroom can improve student performance, and differentiate instruction. See what changes you can make in your own classroom and actually follow through with these changes. Seek support and help if necessary.

Principals: Bring it to the Superintendent’s attention. Start discussion on how to improve score. If technology is better, wouldn’t that bring up test scores in schools? Discuss what changes need to be made on the individual school level and how to go about making these changes. Then actually follow through with these changes.

District: Technology people meet with Superintendent to see how score can be improved. Discuss how technology can improve the schools, the students, the test scores etc. Discuss what changes need to be made and come up with a plan for doing it. Then actually commit to making these changes.

Do you have any other suggestions?

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