Study finds students keep school computers running, and teachers need more tech training

Wednesday, June 5th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Students might be able to teach their teachers a thing or two about technology.

When it comes to keeping computers running, many school districts rely on students, according to a study by the National School Boards Foundation.

The group said the survey it commissioned of 90 of the nation's largest school districts also showed that teachers often aren't well trained to use technology in the classroom.

``With increasing pressures to improve student achievement and bridge the digital divide, school leaders need to better integrate technology into the curriculum as a major learning tool,'' Robin Thurman, director of the NSBF, said in remarks prepared for Tuesday's release of the survey.

Most Internet instruction is done in subject areas such as history, social studies and science, according to the survey. Eighty percent of school leaders say the primary instructional use of the Internet is for research that helps teachers shape lesson plans.

The foundation said new teachers are ``unevenly prepared for using technology as a tool for teaching and learning.''

Students seem to be putting their computer expertise to good use at their schools, which may not have the resources for technical support, the group said. Some tutor, others run help desks, and still others have earned network and software certifications.

Of the school districts surveyed, 54 percent reported that students were providing technical support for their districts. In 43 percent of districts, students troubleshoot for hardware, software and other problems, it said. Thirty-nine percent of districts said students set up equipment and wiring, and nearly as many districts report that students perform technical maintenance.

The findings were based on telephone interviews with officials who make decisions on technology in 811 school districts _ including 90 of the 100 largest districts, which represent 25,000 students.