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Despite High Level of Access, Broadband Still in Demand

Although K-12 educators say campus access to high-speed broadband Internet is relatively high compared to other technology tools, it is slipping compared to their ideal level of broadband access, according to the third edition of an annual survey released Thursday.

The Vision K-20 Survey, published in its final form by the Software & Information Industry Association after the Washington-based organization released preliminary results at ISTE 2012 in San Diego last month, also found that educators' desire to use permanent electronic portfolios for student work, software that enables differentiated instruction, and electronic or online supplemental resources, substantially exceeded their current access to such tools.

The survey measured educators' perception of technology integration by asking them to describe their schools' current level of integration, the perceived importance of that integration, and their ideal level of integration. Respondents then followed that by going down a list of 20 benchmarks—for example, broadband access or availability of e-portfolios—and grading their school's current and ideal implementation of each on a scale of 1 to 4, with four being the highest level of implementation.

In discussing the preliminary findings released in June, authors said educators' overall perception of technology integration remained basically unchanged from previous years, a positive sign given the recent funding challenges facing school districts.

The more comprehensive results could be interpreted to support an overall increase in technology adoption, since the need for more access at higher connection speeds could be linked with the presence of more devices and more device use.

They also appear to support the claims of some experts on the federal E-Rate program, who claim the roughly $2.4 billion available annually to subsidize school technology purchases will fail to meet all requests for projects dealing with basic Internet activity at some point in the near future.

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