EdWeek’s Technology Counts is now available (online). A unique aspect of this year’s issue is that it marks the tenth year of this special issue and anyone interested is invited to view the previous 9 issues.
We have long used this research as a source of basic quantitative data on the technology resources available in schools. While always dated, the data used were fairly standard and it was possible to track change over time.
In recent years, the publication has taken to grading the accomplishments of individual states and even providing a feature allowing comparisons among states. I see that North Dakota was given a D+ in use of technology. This sounds pretty dire and happens to reflect what I would regard as the bottom line issue. I continue to be dissatisfied with how EdWeek operationalizes Use of Technology – student standards include technology, students are tested on knowledge of technology, state has a virtual school, state offers computer-based assessments. Is this what an educator or parent would think of when asked about the educational use of technology? Please call these variables something else. I am interested in whether students make use of technology in learning the subject matter they are expected to master. This goal has little to do with what students are expected to learn about technology, whether technology is used in evaluating their knowledge, or whether they have access to a virtual school. Unfortunately, EdWeek appears focused on data that are easily obtained from state reports, but have little to do with what students do in content area learning.