Half of Teachers Say Web Essential

Ninety percent of teachers in a survey conducted in the Fall of 1998 said they considered Internet access (either email and/or Web access) in their classroom valuable or essential.

The survey was conducted among 2,250 teachers in grades 4-12 by the Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations (CRITO) at the University of California-Irvine.

The survey reports that 90 percent of schools in the US have Internet access somewhere in the building. It also found that until recently the type of Internet connection that most schools had was limited to telephone modems connected to single computers, more often in a computer lab or office than in a teacher’s classroom. Now, 30 percent of teachers in grades 4-12 have some type of Internet access in their classroom. Also of note, the survey found that almost as many teachers now have high-speed, direct Internet connections routed through a LAN as have older, slower dial-up connections.

A majority of teachers (59 percent) have Internet access at home and only one-quarter have have no access either at home or at work, the survey found.

The survey also asked teachers about Internet use in their professional activities, specifically finding information and other resources on the Internet; emailing teachers at other schools; and posting information, suggestions, opinions, or student work on the Web.

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A majority of teachers (68 percent) reported using the Internet in their effort to find information resources for use in their lessons, and 28 percent report doing this at least once a week, the survey found. Teachers who use the Internet in this way are more likely have access both at home and work.

Far fewer teachers report using email to contact teachers at other schools. Only 16 percent of teachers used email to contact other teachers last year, according to the survey. Teachers with Internet access both at home and in the classroom were more than three times as likely to email teachers at other schools than those with only home Internet access (33 percent to 9 percent).

Relatively few teachers have begun posting information, suggestions, opinions, or student work on the Web, according to Crate’s survey. Only 18 percent posted to the Web at all last year. The survey suggests that Web publishing by teachers will grow in the future, as it is currently a new activity unfamiliar to teachers and not as simple as email or Web browsing.

Surprisingly, the survey found that teachers in their first four years of teaching are slightly less likely to use the Internet with students than more experienced teachers. Their younger age, however, makes them more comfortable with the Internet in terms of their own use. Teachers under age 30 in their first few years of teaching are most likely to use the Internet professionally, and are also more likely to consider the Internet essential to their classroom. Teachers with 5-7 years of teaching experience are most likely use the Internet for projects and student Web publishing.

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