According to the report, West Virginia ranks above the national average when it comes to students per instructional computer in the classroom. The report ranks the state fourth with an average of 5.7 students per computer with a national average of 7.6 students.
The report further finds that West Virginia has more students connected to the Internet in the classroom than most states. With an average of 5.9 students per classroom, the state ranked fourth. The national average is 8.0 students per classroom. Statewide, the state ranked 10th with a average of 3.4, while the national average of 4.1
While West Virginia continues to be one of the leaders in instructional technology, other states are beginning to catch up. Funding for the instructional technology program reached its peak in 2003 with more than $24 million. However, because of budgetary reasons, the program has not been funded at that level since. The program was appropriated $20 million for the FY2005 budget.
“Instructional technology programs have traditionally received strong support from the executive and legislative branches of West Virginia government. School children in West Virginia have been provided first-class learning opportunities as a result,” said State Schools Superintendent David Stewart. “Together, with the support of the State Board of Education, the Governor and the Legislature, we look forward to expanding instructional technology programs in order to prepare West Virginia school children for the challenges of the 21st Century.”
The report also touched upon West Virginia’s partnership with the Wellman Family Foundation. The Foundation is providing SAS inSchool’s interactive learning software to all schools in West Virginia within grades eight through 12.
The report noted the state’s Virtual School and its growing popularity. The Virtual School was included in the National Education Technology Plan. Through the Virtual School, West Virginia schools have improved and expanded Internet access, enabling schools to offer courses via the Internet and other new and developing technologies.
In addition to West Virginia’s infrastructure statistics, educators have fared very well with four major outside evaluations of statewide technology programs, which reveal a relationship to the improvement of student achievement. Additionally, West Virginia was the only state to receive two federal evaluation grants last year to study the effectiveness of the Virtual School and Technology Integration Specialists.
For more information about the Technology Counts 2005 Report, visit www.edweek.org.
For more information about the instructional 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.