By June 2001, 99 percent of America’s public schools will be connected to the internet, according to a new report from market research firm Quality Education Data (QED). That’s up from 95 percent at the start of this school yearand it’s just one of the interesting findings of the new report, according to Jeanne Hayes, QED president.
QED’s “Internet Usage in Public Schools 2000, 5th Edition,” also reveals a change in exactly what teachers are using the internet for, Hayes said.
While past studies indicated that teachers use the internet primarily for research, this year’s study shows that 81 percent of teachers surveyed now use the internet to evaluate curriculum material.
“One of my favorite findings is the fact that teachers are now finding and evaluating curriculum material using the internet, rather than just using it for research. That really shows a move towards a more vibrant use of the internet,” Hayes said.
The new report also reveals that a growing number of educators are using the internet for lesson planning and professional development.
The study polled a random sample from QED’s National Education Database, which contains all public schools in the United States. The company conducted 400 telephone surveys with public school teachers. The study contains a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
The majority of those surveyed said the internet has played a positive role in educating U.S. children. Of the teachers who said they use the internet to teach, 38 percent said it has given them access to more instructional materials and resources.
The overall “Internet Usage as a Teaching Aid” findings reveal that the vast majority of those surveyed, 80.8 percent, use the internet to evaluate curriculum material. Nearly 79 percent use the internet for doing research, and 72.7 percent use it for eMail and communication.
A little over half of the respondents, 53.2 percent, said they use the internet for professional development, 52.9 percent use it to create presentation tools, and 52 percent use it in lesson planning.
Only 13.6 percent of respondents use the internet to make online purchases.
“The use of the internet seems far more widespread now for finding materials to guide curriculum. I expected more skepticism, but everyone really seems ready to move forward with the internet in the classroom,” Hayes said.
“Using curriculum materials found on the internet opens up resources never before available to teachers,” she added. “This [study] shows the rapid adoption of web sites designed to deliver curriculum and professional development tools to teachers. We have also found that state departments and school districts are creating annotated links to curricular materials for their teachersoften including materials that correlate to state standards.”
Of those teachers who use the internet in teaching, 31 percent report that the web gives access to better instructional materials and resources, and 27 percent of teachers indicated that the internet helps them and their students do better research.
Only 18 percent reported that they do not feel they are teaching any differently as a result of the internet.
Another interesting finding involves the use of internet filtering software by grade level. In 1999, about 58 percent of all elementary, middle, and high schools reported using filtering software.
Those figures changed in 2000, most dramatically at the middle-school level. The percentage of schools that use filtering software stayed about the same at the elementary level, but jumped from 59 percent to 67 percent at the middle-school level and, less markedly, from 58 percent to 64 percent at the high-school level.
Quality Education Data