Internet Used in Minority of US Classrooms

While 85 percent of US public schools have Internet access, only 14 percent say that teachers use the Web as a teaching resource, according to a study by Market Data Retrieval (MDR). The study found that in the 1997-1998 academic year, 85 percent of US schools were connected to the Internet, up from 36 percent two years previously. Further, 44 percent of all US classrooms had at least one computer with an Internet connection.

MDR estimates that the national average ratio of student to computer with Internet access is 20:1. However, schools with are large minority populations are trailing behind.

Various factors are thought to have contributed to the discrepancy between the availability and use of the Net in schools. In-service training for teachers, many of whom have no computer experience, has been inadequate. Also, many teachers do not feel it is practical to go online in a 45-minute class and have expressed frustration with computers crashing as well as the need to repeatedly update software.

MDR contacted the 86,000 public schools across America by mail and phone. The study is based on the responses, which were returned by 35 percent of the schools.

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