Advertisement

Schools' high-tech resources score well

April 11, 2001

Schools' high-tech resources score well



By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

While the Washington County school system is above the state average in technology resources, some individual schools have fallen below, according to a report from the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education.

continued

The report notes that some county schools are below average in Internet access and in the percentage of teachers who use computer applications in classroom instruction.

An inventory of technology resources in school systems throughout the state has been conducted since 1995 as part of the Plan for Technology in Education. The study measures access to equipment and networks, availability of technical support, level of teacher knowledge and skills, and use of technology.

Advertisement

The study shows that 93 percent of Washington County classrooms have Internet access, while the state average is 72 percent. Seventy-four percent of teachers said they regularly use technology in their lesson plans, while the state average is 67 percent.

Ninety percent of classrooms in Washington County have at least one computer, compared to 73 percent throughout the state.

Some schools, however, didn't fare as well as the county or state averages.

"The Washington County Board of Education is very aggressive in pursuing state funding for our technology, and we are proud of our accomplishments in getting computers and related technology into our schools," said Carol Mowen, the board's public information officer. "However, according to Betsy Klein, director of technology, we do not feel that our technology is sufficient.

"The reason is this: Equipment becomes obsolete virtually within a 3-5 year cycle, so we are constantly upgrading our computers and working to maintain the ones we have."

The report shows that at Winter Street Elementary School, for example, 30 percent of its teachers regularly use technology in their lesson plans, 37 percentage points below the state average and 44 percentage points lower than the county average. Sixty-two percent of its classrooms are wired to the Internet, also lower than the state and county averages.

Fountain Rock Elementary also was below state and county averages in the percentage of teachers who regularly use technology in instruction at 50 percent, but 100 percent of its classrooms have Internet access, the report states.

Mowen said the school system is using grant money, mainly through the Technology in Maryland's Schools (TIMS) program, to keep up with technology demands.

TIMS provides each school with $7,000 in professional development money to be used during the school's grant year. In addition, it provides schools with $42,000 for hardware, which is geared toward placing a computer in every classroom, and $1,000 for software, Mowen said.

Teachers complete technology training during summer workshops and in after-school workshops. They also train during planning time or school improvement team plan times.

They train on various programs, including Groupwise and Microsoft Office, Mowen said.

A lot of the training focuses on bringing technology into the classroom, in addition to helping teachers plan their lessons. Some of the technology used in the classroom includes graphing calculators for math, Internet lessons, Powerpoint, and probing software for science classes.

The technology report can be found at http://msde.aws.com.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|