August 29, 2005 10:17 AM PDT

Study: Teachers coming to terms with computers

Teachers are increasingly incorporating computers into their workdays, but more for administrative record-keeping than as teaching tools, according to a study released Monday.

The majority of U.S. teachers are comfortable using computers for daily tasks like e-mail, attendance and posting information about classes on school intranets, according to CDW Government, which provides advice on technology to schools and government agencies.

Seventy percent of middle- and high-school teachers use e-mail to communicate with parents, while just over half use intranets to take classroom attendance. About 54 percent integrate computers into their daily curriculum, the survey found.

That pattern may arise from the nature of the training available to teachers, which has tended to focus on administrative rather than instructional applications, the study notes. A good portion of teachers--more than 85 percent--say they are trained on the Internet, word processing and e-mail software, but 27 percent say they have had little or no introduction to integrating computers into lessons. Thirty-one percent said they had no technology training in 2004 or 2005.

Still, overall use of technology in schools this year has grown among elementary and secondary teachers compared with last year, CDW Government said. The survey, conducted by Scholastic subsidiary Quality Education Data, sampled 1,000 public school teachers in March and April.

Of those surveyed, more than 61 percent of teachers said there were not enough computers in their classrooms.

Additionally, elementary-school teachers are more likely to use computers in instruction than their middle- or high-school counterparts, by a margin of 12 percent, the survey said. Elementary teachers are nearly 20 percent more likely to have access to computers in the classroom, as opposed to having the equipment in a computer lab or media center.

"Closing the gap between administrative use and instructional use appears to be more a question of where computers are located, as opposed to just the number of computers available," Chris Rother, vice president for education at CDW-G, said in a statement.

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use of computers in schools by teachers
It is not so surprising that priorities for teachers use of computers to do attendence was chosen over the use of computers as a teaching resources. In business, the same thing happens. Decisions made by management concerning hi atech are first made to make their jobs easier and, then, if it may make the line people's jobs easier all the better. Few, are decisions made in the reverse priority.

Who makes decisions about setting the priorities? School management, of course. And what are they interested in, things that make their jobs easier and gathering attendence is one that they have to answer to.

Secondly, what teachers may choose to use as adjunts to current curricula may not be ones that are "authorized" for classroom use as this would be letting teachers make decisions not within their domain.

Do I sound bitter about this? Yes, because I've seen it happen over and over again and, unfortunately, will continue to happen.

Alan J. Zell, Ambassador Of Selling
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