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Many Students Falling Through Technical Skills Gap


The corporate sector isn't the only place where the U.S. is falling down on the job in keeping technical skills up-to-date, a new report says. The technical skills gap affects high school students as well.

In a recent nationwide survey of more than 1,000 high school students, 94 percent of them said that mastering and learning technology skills will improve their educational and career opportunities. But only 39 percent of students say their high schools are meeting their technology expectations.

This digital divide echoes the results of an earlier Forrester Research report of the corporate technology landscape showing that 36 percent of U.S. employees felt their companies didn't provide the technology they need to do their job.

"I don't want to type things just to say I used technology," one student said. "I want to be doing something I couldn't do without."

High school faculty and IT staff are making a concerted effort to advance technology in the classroom. But regardless of their efforts, students still feel they're falling behind.

Despite technology advancements, 86 percent of students said that they use more technology outside of the classroom than inside. Nearly all — 94 percent — say they use technology to complete homework assignments, yet just 46 percent of faculty say they regularly assign homework that requires the use of technology.

Communication is the leading use of technology by students but they fail to use it to collaborate with their peers . Asked about technology as a communications tool, 59 percent of students said they communicate with other students every day, but only 23 percent use it to collaborate on assignments and projects with other students.

"Students’ expectations of technology as a learning tool are evolving nearly as fast as the latest technologies," said Thomas E. Richards, president and technology provider CDW, which conducted the report. "The most successful districts are adapting, even amid constrained resources, in order to foster new opportunities for critical thinking and collaboration."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.




Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.