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Wednesday, October 27, 1999 Published at 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK


Wiring up America's schools

Many students do not have enough access to computers

The number of computers in schools in the United States has doubled in six years, new figures show.

But a report says that many states still lag behind in the access pupils are given to technology in schools.

And it recommends that priority should be given to training teachers to use computers for more than surfing the internet and sending e-mail.

The annual report on school technology in the US, published by Market Data Retrieval, shows there are now eight million computers in the nation's schools.

The average ratio of pupils to computers is now 5.7, down from 10.8 in 1993.

Teacher training

But the report states: "The public is beginning to ask for proof that their investment in technology has paid off.

"It's no longer sufficient to point to inventory lists, as important as they are, as the only proof of progress."

The report, called Technology in Education, shows that states with education plans emphasising the use of computers have better ratios of students to computers than the national average.

In a separate work on teacher training in technology, Market Data found that new teachers with two years or less experience did not have to prove they could use technology to get certificates or jobs.

They also received fewer hours of on-the-job technology training than older teachers.

Beth McGrath, an education researcher at Steven Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, said: "Traditionally, schools of teacher education have not focused very much on technology."

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