ERIC Identifier: ED398861
Publication Date: 1996-00-00
Author: Plotnick, Eric
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Information and Technology Syracuse NY.
Trends in Educational Technology 1995. ERIC Digest.
A content analysis was performed to determine the trends in the field of
educational technology for the period October 1, 1994 through September 30,
1995. Sources for the analysis included five leading professional journals in
educational technology; papers given at annual conventions of three professional
associations; dissertations from five universities that have a high level of
doctoral productivity; and the educational technology documents that have been
entered into the ERIC database. The analysis was complemented by the examination
of supplementary documents to confirm the trends indicated in the content
analysis. This Digest highlights the trends identified in the study. For a full
discussion of the study methodology and findings, the reader is referred to the
source noted above.
TREND 1: Computers are pervasive in schools and higher education
institutions. Virtually every student in a formal education setting has access
to a computer.
In 1988-89, the student/computer ratio was 22:1; in 1995, it was 12:1 (Hayes
& Bybee, 1995). While numbers alone cannot determine the nature, extent and
quality of use, they are indicators of availability. Access is the first step to
use. In school districts, personnel most likely to have computers are
instructional technology specialists, special education teachers, and curriculum
supervisors (QED, 1995a). Primary locations for computer use in K-12 schools are
in computer laboratories and library media centers.
TREND 2: Networking is one of the fastest growing applications of technology
The growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web is credited for the
stimulus in networked communications in education. Computers with modems provide
access to networks. In the 1994-95 school year, modems existed in 29% of
elementary schools, 39% of middle/junior high schools, and 51% of senior high
schools (QED, 1995b). This is an increase from 1991-92 when 11% of elementary
schools, 20% of middle/junior high schools, and 30% of high schools had modems.
Seventy-five percent of public schools have access to some kind of computer
network, e.g., a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN), but only
30% of public elementary schools and 49% of secondary schools have Internet
access (Heaviside et al., 1995).
TREND 3: Access to television resources in the school is almost universal.
Quality Education Data (1995a) reported that all but two percent of public
schools in the United States have videotape recorders. About 75% of schools have
cable service and 17% have satellite dishes. The most frequently used in-school
television programs were supplied by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the
Discovery Channel, and Cable News Network (CNN) (Malarkey-Taylor Associates,
TREND 4: Advocacy for the use of educational technology has increased among
A survey of school priorities conducted by the Northwest Regional Laboratory
for Research and Development (Northwest Report, 1995) discovered that
educational technology is one of the six top issues in schools today. For the
first time in history, there is an Office of Educational Technology in the U.S.
Department of Education. This office has prepared a long-range national plan for
the use of technology in education (Roberts, 1996). In 1995, the Office of
Educational Research and Improvement awarded five grants for Regional Technology
Centers which will provide technical assistance to schools. At its 1995
convention, the National Education Association focused five resolutions on
educational media and technology and discussed the importance of preparing new
teachers to use technology.
TREND 5: Educational technology is increasingly available in homes and
A study by the Software Publishers Association (Heller Report, 1996 as cited
in "CD-ROM software," 1996) reported home sales of education-oriented CD-ROMs
increased 136% during the first half of 1995. Another study reported that nearly
one half of all American households own a computer, and 17% of those who do not
already own one plan to buy a computer in 1996. Public libraries are beginning
to offer network access and many provide computers and software for personal
TREND 6: New delivery systems for educational technology applications have
grown in geometric proportions.
Revolutionary developments in technology have replaced the evolutionary pace
of previous years. These developments, referred to as delivery systems, focus on
hardware, software, communications media, and strategies for use. The number of
public schools using CD-ROM has increased nearly 250% since 1988. Ten percent of
elementary schools, 22% of middle/junior high schools and 37% of high schools
had satellite dishes in 1994-95. Use of communication networks including the
Internet is in a continuous upswing. Distance education is active at all levels
and includes the use of computer networks for delivery of instruction.
TREND 7: There is a new insistence that teachers must become technologically
Teacher education in the application of technology in the classroom is still
a high priority need. One sign of increasing interest and action in this area is
the publication of a new periodical, Journal of Technology and Teacher
Education, published by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in
Education. The authors are teachers and teacher educators who are actively
participating in the movement toward technological "literacy" for themselves and
their students. But The National Education Goals (1995) reported that despite
the many changes in educational technology and student assessment strategies
occurring in 1994, only half of all teachers reported any professional
development opportunities in those areas.
TREND 8: Educational technology is perceived as a major vehicle in the
movement toward education reform.
The movement for restructuring education in schools across the United States
has generated proposals and plans for reform of the entire educational system.
Virtually every proposal or plan includes educational technology as one of the
major vehicles for implementing change. One of the key documents published by
the Office of Educational Research and Improvement is Using Technology to
Support Education Reform (Means et al., 1993). This publication spells out the
roles and functions of technology in the education reform process. In an
overview of educational telecommunications development as of 1994, Hezel (1994)
reports that "...school 'restructuring' and educational reform are influencing
the adoption and use of telecommunications..."
REFERENCES AND ADDITIONAL READING
"CD-ROM software sales
soar." Edupage. Internet WWW page, at
URL:<http://www.utopia.com/mailings/edupage/Edupage.4.January.1996.h tml> (1996, January 4).
Hayes, J. & Bybee, D. L. (1995, October). Defining the greatest need for
educational technology. Learning and Leading With Technology, 23(2), 48-53.
Heaviside, S., Farris, E., Malitz, G. & Carpenter, J. (1995). Advanced
telecommunications in U.S. public schools, K-12 (Report No. NCES95-731).
Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. (ED 378 959)
Hezel Associates. (1994). Educational telecommunications: The state-by-state
analysis 1994. Syracuse, NY: Author.
Malarkey-Taylor Associates, Inc. (1995). 1995 Education technology survey.
Washington, DC: Author.
Means, B. and Others. (1993). Using technology to support educational reform.
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. (ED 364 220)
The National Education Goals Report. (1995). Washington, DC: U.S. Government
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. (1995). Northwest Report, Summer,
Quality Education Data. (1995a). Technology trends in U.S. public schools.
Internet WWW page, at URL: <http://www.edshow.com/QED/> (version current
at 5 April 1996).
Quality Education Data. (1995b). Education market guide and mailing list
catalog 1995-1996. Denver, CO: Author.
Roberts, L. (1996). A transformation of learning: Use of the national
information infrastructure for education and lifelong learning. In Educational
Media and Technology Yearbook 1995-96. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. (ED