News Column

US Tech Education Lacks Spark

Sept. 14, 2012

Jessica Van Sack

Tech Education

A new poll by computer manufacturer Dell examining the impact of technology in three countries finds that the United States lags woefully behind China.

Dell released the study yesterday to coincide with a Technology in the Classroom Town Hall event it co-sponsored at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.

The Dell study of 1,575 students, teachers and parents in the U.S., Germany and China reveals that most agree technology is critical to learning but have different opinions on how. Among the findings:

--Chinese students use technology more than U.S. students for learning at school and at home.

--Many teachers in the U.S. and Germany say they don't receive enough technology training.

--Sixty percent of U.S. respondents disapprove of students using social media in the classroom, while 60 percent in China approved.

--Only students in China say their teachers know how to use technology better than they do, while 63 percent of students in the U.S. say they know how to use technology better than their teachers.

In Boston, more than 600 families have joined a program that allows public school students the opportunity to take home a netbook, which Mayor Thomas M. Menino said has had significant results beyond the classroom.

"It gets the parents and the kids working together. It's an economic opportunity for parents," Menino told an audience of teachers at the packed MIT Media Lab event. "They do better in the workplace. Kids do better in the classroom also."

The event, anchored by NBC's Alex Witt and Kim Khazei of WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, a special correspondent for NBC, featured a panel of education experts talking about the importance of technology in the classroom.

Menino said one upshot of the city's Tech Goes Home program is that parents and students have gotten more involved in school, with 76 percent of participants now attending school meetings.

Source: (c)2012 the Boston Herald.Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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