TechSETS, the California state support service for educational technologists, has just released its annual survey of California School Technology. The survey has some interesting data with implications about how technology support impacts use in schools.
One of the major findings of the survey is that students are a “significant source of support” — something that I’m pretty happy to have confirmation of. Many schools in which students participate in technical support activities think that they are the only ones doing it. So instead of student support being a well-regarded part of the solution to tech support, it is viewed as a one-off patchwork solution. This survey should help to alleviate that mis-impression.
The bad news from the survey is that the numbers of students involved declined last year. It’s tough to say whether this is a single year aberration or not. Unfortunately, this survey doesn’t provide any answers to why this is so. We can only hope that it’s a blip, not a long term trend. All our trends are up, with an increasing number of schools using our Generation TECH online tools and curriculum to structure their student tech support program.
The survey information is behind the login of the TechSETS site, but Ric Barline, the author of this report, has given me permission to post it here. (Word document of entire article – lots more data and charts here.)
The introduction and some of the major findings follow:
Using Data From The 2006/07 California School Technology Survey To Determine Sources of Technology Support in Schools
By Ric Barline, TechSETS Cadre Member
The annual California School Technology Survey (CSTS) is an excellent source of data to help determine the extent to which technology is being supported in schools and what type of human resource is providing that support. This state-administered survey has been collecting data on technology capacity and usage since 2001.
TechSETS carried out an analysis of the responses to this survey in 2005, and again this year in an effort to better understand the sources of technology support in schools and, by extension, the potential audience for TechSETS services. This report describes the methodology and results of the 2007 analysis. The 2005 analysis is available from TechSETS upon request.
The major findings regarding the numbers of individuals involved in tech support are:
- Schools depend heavily on site-based staff for support.
- The district office provides a significant source of support.
- Students provide a significant source of support.
- Outside services and COEs [County Offices of Education] provide very little support.
The major findings regarding the trends over the last three years are:
- The numbers of certificated and classified staff involved in providing technical support to schools has increased significantly in the 2006/2007 school year.
- The numbers of students and others involved in providing technical support to schools have decreased in the 2006/2007 school year.
Numbers of individuals involved in tech support – The CSTS data were viewed longitudinally over three years to gain insight into both the current situation and trends. Figure 1 shows the estimated number of people performing technical support in schools over the last three years. These numbers are estimates that depend on assumptions made regarding the number of individuals that make up a typical full-time equivalent (FTE) in each category. The section on methodology (page 5) explains the estimation technique in more detail.
The rest of the report is well worth downloading and reading. (Word document for download.)
Technical support is a vital part of innovative technology use in schools, and knowing who is providing that service means better understanding of the opportunities to improve in every aspect. Thanks for sharing, Ric!