Role of Computer Technology in Schools

Computer technology is becoming more crucial to education in the United States every day. Schools, now more than ever before, need to be incorporating computer technology into the curriculum. It is unfortunate that “even though the pace of technological innovation continues to accelerate in our society as a whole, in schools such innovation lags far off the pace”.

Several recent surveys report that computers are not being utilized to their fullest potential in schools. Computer technology is becoming increasingly important in the workplace today. A survey by the American Society for Quality Control indicated that 83% of respondents thought that computer technology made it easier for them to do their jobs.

To secure a position and advance in that position, it is essential that upon graduating high school students have developed basic computer skills in word processing, spreadsheets, desktop publishing and graphics. The passage of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act is a step toward the goal of widespread use of computer technology in our schools.

One hundred five million dollars in federal funds are being used to develop curriculum frameworks with computer technology plans. States are competing for $5 million to support technology planning activities that provide systemic reform and promote high standards of achievement. Even more recently, the federal government has shown that computer technology has a high priority in education reform.

One of the goals of President Clinton’s education agenda is to connect every classroom and library to the Internet by the year 2000 and to help all students become computer literate. Implementation of computer technology is a key priority in President Clinton’s 1998 budget with funding for education technology being increased to $500 million. State education leaders are concerned about the role of computer technology in schools.

For example, in 1990, the Michigan state board of education developed 14 goals referred to as “Education: Where the Next Century Begins.” A major goal of the plan was to design a five-year state technology plan. To incorporate computer technology in the schools the “Classroom of Tomorrow” program was initiated. The major goals of the program were twofold: (a) “to inspire Michigan students and teachers to utilize instructional technology and (b) to improve the skills of tomorrow’s workforce”. A program of accelerated computer distribution throughout the state was initiated to accomplish these tasks.