The New Jersey Department of Education today released the results of its statewide survey of technology use in the public schools. The report profiles New Jersey's ongoing expansion of technology in key areas to create opportunities for increased student achievement and more effective information delivery.
The results, highlighted in the booklet Technology for Learning: A Survey of Its Use in New Jersey's Schools, present a statistical picture of how schools are preparing their students for life in a world that is changing rapidly as a result of technology. Just over 75 percent of the state's 2,442 schools responded to the survey.
"I have always considered the growth of educational technology in New Jersey to be among our highest priorities," said Governor Christie Whitman. "As a result, we have invested money and resources into many initiatives to keep New Jersey in the forefront of technological development. If our students of today are to be our successful citizens of tomorrow, they must be computer literate and the beneficiaries of a high quality education that contains many learning opportunities made possible through technology."
"This survey proves that New Jersey is a leading state in establishing a community of learners through technology," said Commissioner of Education David Hespe. "Through the vision and support of Governor Whitman, the state has committed significant amounts of funds and resources to support technology in our schools. The Department of Education and New Jersey's school districts are moving forward vigorously to infuse educational technology in curriculum for student achievement of the Core Curriculum Content Standards.
"The purpose is to accelerate the delivery of voice, video, and data so that all districts will have the opportunity to share curricular offerings, ongoing projects and programs, and professional development opportunities," the Commissioner continued. 'This delivery expands the scope, quality, richness and diversity of curricula in all school districts and contributes to the redefining of teaching and learning in our state."
Hespe noted that the state, through Distance Learning Network Aid, will award more than $275 million between 1997-2002 in aid to help districts obtain the equipment, connections and training opportunities needed to link with each other on a variety of activities. The Department of Education has established 21 countywide Educational Technology Training Centers (ETTCs), which are hands-on training centers that contain technology demonstration equipment accessed at central and satellite sites throughout the state. These professional development centers conducted high quality training workshops for more than 40,000 educators in our state during the last year.
New Jersey's many-faceted technology program has also attracted many public and private partners, who are helping local school districts build on their existing technology and implementation issues. A prime example of these partners is Tech Corps New Jersey, established by the Business Coalition for Educational Excellence.
Schools responded to survey questions about equipment, connectivity (wiring and telecommunications access), technology support and use by students, teachers and administrators. The last statewide technology survey indicated that the student to multimedia capable computer ratio was 9:1. The 1999 survey results show that the student to multimedia computer ratio is 7:1.
"We're definitely on our way to meet our benchmark goal of one multimedia capable computer for every five students by the year 2002," Hespe said.
The Commissioner noted that the Department of Education has established 15 educational technology benchmarks to be achieved by every school district by the year 2002. Some of the benchmarks are:
"Local districts have made great strides in just a few short years to embrace technology as a bona fide learning tool and to use it to help their children achieve the Core Curriculum Content Standards," Commissioner Hespe said. "With continued leadership at the state level and hard work and commitment at the local level, I believe we will meet our benchmarks. Our vision is that all students, no matter which district they attend, will be able to achieve the standards because they will have unlimited access to people, to the vast array of curriculum and instruction offered in the state and to information and ideas, no matter where they exist. The growing technology resources in our state will help achieve this vision."