Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Larry Janes


The last three years has brought dramatic changes in implementation of technology for the Georgetown-Ridge Farm Unit District #4 (G-RF Unit #4). Since 1995 the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has initiated increased grant funding for schools in the areas of technology deployment, staff development and software purchase and upgrades. ISBE has placed special emphasis on the home/school connection with technology. Districts are required to assess what ISBE refers to as their "current reality" in these areas and take steps to close the gap in the inequities that exist. Districts were required to use gap analysis data to prepare an approved technology plan before federal or state grant funding would be issued.

G-RF Unit #4 began development of a technology plan in the 1995-96 school year with the formation of a technology committee comprised of administrators, teachers, board members, a high school student, parents, a local library board member, and business representatives from the community. This committee was required in order to apply for funds ISBE was awarding to financially challenged districts within the state. The committee was given the tasks of completing a district needs assessment and creating a 3-year technology plan within a 4-month period. Tue needs assessment was completed and a 3-year plan was developed based on the needs present at that time. Grant funds were secured and the 3-year plan was completed in 18 months.

With the rapid advances in technology and increased grant application requirements it had become necessary to begin planning for the next 3- to 5-year period. Before planning could begin, there was a desire to look at "current reality" in the district. This study investigated the perception of parents in the area of home/school connection with technology. The problems addressed by this study were to determine G-RF Unit #4 parents' (a) access to a modern home computer; (b) access to CD-ROM, Modem, Internet and online services; (c) perceptions regarding technology in their child's home school; (d) perceptions regarding their child's access and use of a computer outside the classroom; and (e) perceptions regarding parent access, use and skill in personal use of a computer.

The study took place in the fall of 1997 utilizing a survey instrument developed by the Illinois State Board of Education. The survey was distributed to all parents representing five building locations within the district. Data from a total of 297 responses to the parent survey were gathered and analyzed.

The study revealed that students and parents have limited access to home computers. The study revealed that parents have limited hardware capabilities. Also of note was that parents have a discrepancy in their perception regarding the adequacy of technology in the school and what technology their child is actually utilizing. It was discovered that parents might not resolve the lack of computers in the home for years to come. The study also found that parents have a desire for technology training classes.

The following recommendations were made based on the conclusions of the survey: (a) provide laptop computers for check out to students who do not have access to computers outside of school, (b) coordinate efforts in developing community awareness regarding the importance of connecting with the school via the Internet or e-mail, (c) communicate technology advances by identifying persons to coordinate dissemination of information to all parents, (d) provide technology training classes at each of the five building locations, and (e) frequently examine the perception of parents regarding the home/school connection with technology.