To meet the challenges of the 21st century, Texas plans to provide a robust state-wide infrastructure that will connect schools, libraries, colleges, businesses, and provide on-demand accessibility to data. The Texas Long Range Plan for Technology 2006-2020 requires that such an infrastructure be in place by 2020.
According to the plan, the infrastructure system will provide 24/7 access to e-learning; technical assistance; secured data; and standards to support all users. Texas campuses provide adequate technology tools however due to the speed that technology undergoes many of these tools need to be upgraded. Furthermore, budgetary constraints make the upgrading of these systems seem remote. For this reason, many districts have passed bonds or have written grants to secure funds to upgrade their technology. State funds for technology have been exchanged for federal dollars.
In 2004, the Texas Campus STaR chart was designed to be used as a tool for technology planning, budgeting resources and to evaluate the technology readiness of a campus. Results from the 2006-07 Campus STaR chart yielded positive gains in technology. The 2006-08 Progress Report (TEA, 2008) states that 65% of the campuses were rated as Developing Tech, meaning that there are 5-9 students per computer connected to the Internet. In addition, 53% of campuses provided the Internet in all rooms. Sixty-three percent of the campuses provide a computer in each classroom, connected to the Internet, and 46% of the campuses are connected to a networked printer. Furthermore, 55% of campuses have scheduled access to rich media via Internet. Compared to the previous year, fewer campuses were found to be at the lowest level or “Early Tech.”
Although these numbers show progress, only 7% of Texas campuses have reached the highest level “Target Tech.” A strict adherence to the technology plan will ensure students’ success. Therefore, it is imperative that Texas’ campuses reach technology readiness so that students can compete in the 21st century.
Progress Report on the Long-Range Plan for Technology 2006-2020. Texas Education Agency. Downloaded on June 15, 2009, from http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/comm/leg_reports/2008/08pr_to_lrpt.pdf