Since 1994, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has documented the large increase in access to computers and the Internet in the nation's public elementary and secondary schools (U. S. Department of Education 2000). These increases have led to a need to understand the extent and types of teacher use of computers and the Internet, as well as teachers' perceptions of their own preparedness to use these tools in their classes. To address these critical information needs, NCES commissioned a survey using the Fast Response Survey System (FRSS) that was conducted in the spring of 1999. The survey found that 99 percent of full-time regular public school teachers reported they had access to computers or the Internet somewhere in their schools. This Stats in Brief focuses on those teachers.
Teachers were asked the degree to which they used computers or the Internet to prepare for and manage their classes. Thirty-nine percent of public school teachers with access to computers or the Internet in their classroom or elsewhere indicated they used computers or the Internet "a lot" to create instructional materials, and 34 percent reported using computers "a lot" for administrative record keeping (Table 1). Less than 10 percent of teachers reported using computers or the Internet to access model lesson plans or to access research and best practices.
Newer teachers were more likely to use computers or the Internet to accomplish various teaching objectives. Teachers with 9 or fewer years of teaching experience were more likely than teachers with 20 or more years of experience to report using computers or the Internet "a lot" to communicate with colleagues (30 percent with 3 or fewer years, 30 percent with 4 to 9 years, versus 19 percent with 20 or more years) and gather information for lessons (21 and 22 percent versus 11 percent for the same three groups). Also, teachers with 4 to 9 years of teaching experience were more likely to report they used computers or the Internet "a lot" to create instructional materials (47 percent) than were teachers with 20 or more years of experience (35 percent).
Teachers' use of computers or the Internet at school varied for some types of uses by school poverty level (the percentage of students in the school eligible for free or reduced-price lunches). Teachers in schools with a school poverty level of less than 11 percent were more likely to use computers or the Internet "a lot" for creating instructional materials (52 percent) than teachers in schools with a school poverty level of 71 percent or more (32 percent). This pattern also held for teachers who used computers for administrative record keeping (43 versus 24 percent for the same groups).
The Stats in Brief series presents information on education topics of current interest. All estimates shown are based on samples and are subject to sampling variability. Alldifferences are statistically significant at the .05 level. In the design, conduct, and data processing of NCES surveys, efforts are made to minimize the effects of nonsampling errors, such as item nonresponse, measurement error, data processing error, or other systematic error.
This Stats in Brief was prepared by Cassandra Rowand of Westat. This Stats in Brief was desktopped by Allison Pinckney and Carol Rohr of PCCI. For further information or additional copies, contact Edith McArthur at firstname.lastname@example.org. To order additional copies of this Stats in Brief or other NCES publications, call 1-877-433-7827. NCES publications are available on the Internet at http://nces.ed.gov.