The report is based on a systematic analysis by the EPE Research Center of the structure and quality of states’ computerized data systems; how those systems are being used; efforts to improve access to and use of school technology; and the ability of teachers to use technology more effectively.
Using several rigorous criteria, Education Week, for the first time ever, graded states on their school technology programs. While the nation received an overall grade of C-plus, West Virginia earned the highest mark with an “A!”
“We are doing great things in West Virginia regarding educational technology,” said State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “The high mark on the 2006 Technology Counts report supports our conviction that we are on the right path. The partnership we have been strengthening among Governor Joe Manchin, the Legislature, the state Board of Education and the Department of Education has resulted in yet another measure of success for the students in West Virginia’s public schools.”
It is evident that technology is at the core of 21st century learning. West Virginia became the second state in the nation to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills in November 2005. The Partnership's framework puts a special emphasis on information and communications technology literacy as well as critical thinking, communication skills, global awareness, and business, economic and civic literacy.
In addition, through the years education technology has received tremendous support from Governors and the state Legislature. Currently, a comprehensive educational technology study is being compiled by the Department of Education to be presented to state Senate and House Education Committees in June 2006.
“Technology serves as the doorway to 21st century learning and that is why it is so important that legislative leaders continue to support West Virginia’s educational technology initiatives,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman Bob Plymale. “The Legislature has made technology a priority evidenced by this latest national report.”
To view Technology Counts 2006: The Information Edge, Using Data to Accelerate Achievement visit www.edweek.org. For more information about the educational technology programs in West Virginia, contact Brenda Williams, Executive Director for the West Virginia Department of Education's Office of Instructional Technology, at (304) 558-7880.