The State of IT Education

Chalkboard lessons and teacher monologues are the mainstay of many of the nation’s classrooms. But can this environment really foster interest in information technology and develop the skills that are increasingly necessary in today’s workplace?

“In the 21st century, we’re still teaching the way we were in the 20th century,” said Isa Zimmerman, who was an educator for 40 years in K-12 schools and is a senior fellow at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, the research and entrepreneurial arm of the President’s Office. “We’re not preparing kids for the world they’re going to work in, live in and communicate in. We [just] aren’t doing the job.”

The first problem is the technology itself. It is fairly outdated and at capacity in terms of what it can handle, said Robert Fenstermacher, head of global education marketing for Aruba Networks, a provider of secure enterprise mobility solutions. Also, the majority of schools still tuck computers away from the classroom in specialized computer labs.

But schools are looking to change this, Fenstermacher said.

“What we’re starting to see is [schools and districts] requesting funds either through bonds or E-Rate, so you have devices like laptops in the hands of the students,” he said. “Fortunately, there are funds that are coming available to help in [this] transition. [But] most districts would like to roll out technology more pervasively than they are right now. It’s just a vision of how to support that, so they have to…


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