This issue examines students’ views of copyright law, educational technology use in some of the world’s strongest economies and the return-on-investment calculations of school district IT decision-makers.
1. IT Spending in Public K-12 Education
The $6.9 billion funds allocated by the federal government to spend on information technology in K-12 public schools for the 2003-2004 school year were divided up as follows:
Other — 7.3%
Networks — 12.9%
Computer hardware — 28.3%
Software ( non-instructional) — 16.5%
IT training, service, and support — 24.4%
Digital and Internet curriculum and content — 10.6%
Source: International Data Corp.
2. Copyright or Copywrong?
Most teens and preteens understand the important points of copyright law, but a majority of youths age 8 to 18 continue to download copyrighted software, games, music and other digital files through illegal file-sharing online networks.
Regardless of the risks, most youths think that illegally downloading software is okay. They cite several reasons.
I don’t have the money to pay for the software. — 51%
I wouldn’t use the software if I had to pay for it. — 35%
Lots of people do it. — 33%
It doesn’t hurt anybody when I do this. — 26%
No one has ever told me not to. — 19%
I will not get in trouble for doing it. — 15%
My parents have said it’s ok. — 8%
Source: Business Software Alliance, April 2004 poll of 1,183 youths conducted by Harris Interactive
3. ROI Calculations: N/A
An online survey of 455 school district IT decision-makers—including superintendents, assistant superintendents, directors of instructional technology and CTOs—found that a majority don’t consider return-on-investment (ROI) calculations when evaluating the effectiveness of technology purchases.
Districts don’t consider or use ROI calculations when buying or evaluating technology. — 66%
Districts use student test scores as a basis for calculating ROI. — 20%
Districts use economic indices on teacher efficiencies as a basis for calculating ROI. — 16%
Districts use economic indices on cost reduction as a basis for calculating ROI. — 15%
Districts consider the total cost of ownership—such as technical support, maintenance and upgrading—important in evaluating technology. — 43%
Source: Consortium for School Networking and Grunwald Associates’ March 2004 survey