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NEWS RELEASES 2000-01 :: MARCH 26, 2001


Technology in school is helping students build problem-solving skills, tour distant parts of North Carolina and efficiently complete class assignments. Students and teachers from more than 80 public schools will showcase how technology supports learning on Legislative School Technology Day, April 3.

Students and educators from 84 schools and 85 school systems will participate in the day-long demonstration at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh. This special day, sponsored by the School Technology Commission, is organized to give legislators a chance to see the exciting things that are going on in school technology in local school districts across the state. Four examples of projects that will be showcased at the event are outlined at the end of this release.

School technology has made significant strides in the past five years. Today, there is one computer for every six students, on average in public schools. One Internet-connected computer is available for every eight students. Nearly 96 percent of schools have Internet access through at least one computer.

Students are expected to master minimal computer skills before graduating from high school. The N.C. Computer Skills Test, given to students in the eighth grade, must be passed by all high school graduates, beginning with the Class of 2001.

Since 1995, the State's Technology Trust Fund has supplied $167.5 million to provide local schools with instructional technology, including computers.

For more information on School Technology Day, contact Wynn M. Smith , 919.807.3270.

Thirty technology and education vendors are sponsoring the Legislative Technology Day. (The complete list follows this release.)

School Technology Applications - Four Examples

Princeton High School, Johnston County - What does it take to have technology accessible to all students? At Princeton High School in Johnston County, AlphaSmarts text writers are used as a way to extend the accessibility of technology to all students. Students use AlphaSmarts to complete drafts of writing projects, to take notes for research, and to complete writing assignments. Students are able to check out AlphaSmarts from the school media center to complete class assignments. Contact: Kirk Denning, principal, 919.936.5011.

Newport Elementary, Carteret County - It's a "shore" thing. Newport Elementary Fifth Grade "Shorekeepers" traveled on a learning journey through the coastal estuary of North Carolina. By linking technology with environmental awareness, teachers transformed the coastal estuary into an authentic hands-on learning experience. Student-narrated Hyperstudio presentations, accompanied with printed examples of student work, showcase the journey. Contact: Robert Elkins, principal, 252.223.4201.

North Vance High School, Vance County - Gilbert Blaylock, Industrial Education teacher in North Vance High School, describes his high school Science Visualization course as the perfect combination of industrial education and academic course work. Blaylock welcomes an invitation from science teachers to work together on science projects. The science teacher teaches the science content while Blaylock teaches students computer graphing, multimedia and 3-D animation. Students explain science concepts through the use of graphics and 3-D animation software. Students learn public speaking and presentation skills to explain their computer-generated science models to their classmates and teachers. Contact: Gilbert Blaylock, Industrial Education teacher, 252.492.6041.

Bunn Elementary School, Franklin County - At Bunn Elementary School, teacher Kim Ferrell teaches third graders problem-solving skills through the use of robotics. Third graders become building engineers and robotics programmers using Lego Robo Lab software. Students write computer programs to instruct their robots to perform simple tasks. Students troubleshoot and rewrite computer programs until the robot accurately performs the desired task. This project requires students to understand computer programming, working in teams and testing. Contact: Kim Ferrell, third grade teacher, 919.496.0301.

Vendor Sponsors for Legislative School Technology Day

4Front Systems
Camera Corner
Data Networks
Gregory Poole Power Systems
Information Technology Services
Speed Communications
Follett Gale Group
Metro IT
Classroom Connect
World Book

School Technology Fact Sheet

Source: NC Department of Public Instruction, March 2001.

Benefits of Instructional Technology for Students

  • Motivation
  • Self-confidence
  • Improved attitudes toward learning
  • Broadened horizons
  • Strengthened basics
  • High test scores

Benefits of Instructional Technology for Teachers

  • Increased productivity
  • Additional information resources
  • Change in classroom methodology
  • Decreased discipline problems
  • Higher test scores


Since 1995, the State Technology Trust Fund has provided $167.5 million (43.9 percent of requested amount). This year, the total is $15.98 per student. According to the Consortium for School Networking, the national average cost to implement technology in a school is $104.69 per student per year.

E-rate Discounts

(This is a federal program that provides discounted telecommunications services for schools.)

  • 1998-99 - $25.5 million
  • 1999-2000 - $37.7 million
  • 2000-01 - $20 million


  • Multimedia computers: 1 for every seven students
  • Computers of any kind: 1 for every six students
  • Internet-connected computers: 1 for every eight students

School Differences

  • In low performing schools, 88 percent of their computers are considered to be modern.
  • In schools showing exceptional growth, 95 percent of their computers are considered modern.
  • In low performing schools, 75 percent of classrooms are connected to the Internet.
  • In schools showing exceptional growth, 84 percent of classrooms are connected to the Internet.


  • 95.8 percent of schools have Internet access.
  • 85 schools do not have Internet access.

School District Information

  • 60 percent of local school districts have a full-time SIMS coordinator
  • 92 percent of school districts have a district agreement with an Internet Service Provider, and 37 percent of them use the State ITS system.
  • 86 percent of districts have an email server.
  • 57 percent of districts have an Intranet.
  • 85 percent of the districts have a wide area network.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.