The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal association of the software and digital content industry, released the following statement in reaction to the Education Department’s school software study:
"As this study recognizes, proper implementation of education software is essential for success. Unfortunately, it appears the study itself may not have adequately accounted for this key factor, leading to results that do not accurately represent the role and impact of technology in education.
"A strong body of research demonstrates that implementation is crucial to the success of any technology. Whether a given school experiences the full benefits of a software application depends just as much on the planning, teacher training, school leadership, technology infrastructure, support, and technology use as it does [on] the technology itself.
"There are questions about whether these issues were adequately addressed in this study. SIIA has learned of a number of concerns, including unmotivated teachers, inappropriate match of technology design to local curriculum, inadequate student time on task, and resistance from districts about providing product training. It is also well recognized that year one of a technology implementation is too early to draw conclusions. Time is needed for teachers to be trained and gain comfort in adjusting their lessons.
"In recognition of this fact, SIIA provides a checklist for K-12 educators, providing specific guidelines to help facilitate the process (available at http://www.siia.net). SIIA will soon release a more extensive guide. Unfortunately, many of these well-recognized, key ingredients were missing in the study.
"SIIA, along with many educators and other stakeholders, is working hard to realize the potential of technology in our nation’s classrooms. The question is not if–but how, what, and under what conditions–technology is most appropriate and effective to meet the needs of students in this knowledge-based, global, digital economy. As the study indicates, the large majority of [participating] teachers said they would like to continue to use the products. SIIA believes success is being achieved.
"This study does not diminish the critical role that technology plays as an essential skill set for the 21st century, nor does it diminish the need to invest in modernizing our classrooms and curriculum to empower our students to achieve in the knowledge-based economy of the future.
"SIIA encourages members and educators to carefully examine the results of the ‘National Study of Educational Technology Interventions’ and to consider the positive effect that proper implementation would have on this study’s results. SIIA looks forward to working with the U.S. Department of Education and other stakeholders to refine the use of technology and the means for its evaluation."