In its annual survey of states’ efforts to support technology in K-12 and higher education, the Progress and Freedom Foundation gave South Dakota a perfect score for the second consecutive year. Illinois, Tennessee, and Washington placed close behind South Dakota.
The survey compares states on measures such as their use of online technology for professional development, whether the training promotes innovative teaching techniques, and how educational resources are made available across the state.
Overall, the survey found that professional development investments are rising substantially. Thirty-six states initiated at least 10 new projects and spent at least $1 million last year to bring tech-savvy teaching into the classroom. Thirty-two states have a statewide education network that provides teachers with access to information on district, state, and national standards. More than half of states now require that newly certified teachers have taken some technology courses as college undergraduates.
The survey asked the following specific questions of each state, for which South Dakota earned the highest-possible rating in each category:
1. Is technology training or proficiency required of state colleges or universities as part of standard teacher education curriculum and certification? (Having state requirements in place earns the highest rating.)
2. What is the state’s funding for in-service professional development programs for training teachers on how to use technology in the classroom? (Providing more than $1,000 per teacher earns the highest rating.)
3. What percentage of individual students in the state have high-speed access to online learning resources? (Fifty percent earns the highest rating.)
4. Does the state Department of Education have the technology infrastructure to disseminate state standards and frameworks and/or make lesson planning, curriculum, and content resources accessible to its districts, sites, and teachers? (Having a statewide network in place earns the highest rating.)
5. Is the state Department of Education using technology to digitally collect, store, analyze, and/or distribute information on academic progress and performance of children in its public schools? (Data warehousing and mining being used across the state earns the highest rating.)
6. Are state education resources supporting projects that encourage innovative use of technology to create new teaching and learning models within the public school system? (Supporting at least 10 projects with a total of $1 million earns the highest rating.)