Comparative study of social economic differences in relation to technology competency expectations as perceived by business and educational leaders



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Texas A&M University


This qualitative study investigated the urgent need for business and public schools to design a comprehensive system for preparing all students for a technological workplace, while giving them the necessary academic foundation for functioning effectively in a work environment. Businesses and communities need to participate with schools, regardless of where the schools are located. Schools, businesses and communities must explore and work together to create new methods for supporting technology in schools and in the workplace. The interviewees who participated in the study consisted of 21 teachers and administrators from four high schools located within four districts in San Antonio, Texas. Two of the high schools were located in southern San Antonio and were classified as lower socioeconomic institutions. The other two high schools were located in northern San Antonio and were classified as upper socioeconomic institutions. Also, seven business leaders were interviewed from (1) grocery, (2) San Antonio city government, (3) military, (4) large retail chain, (5) technology organization and business, (6) telecommunications, and (7) a youth-oriented organization. The major conclusions of the study were that businesses believe that a skill-deficient workplace hampers economic growth and productivity, and a knowledge-deficient high school graduate limits his or her opportunities for an extended academic experience. Few businesses in San Antonio supported or contributed to technology competencies in the selected schools in San Antonio by participating in curriculum development or as partnerships within the schools. All teachers had a high level of understanding about the importance of technology competencies for students. Furthermore, they believed that teachers and administrators must have a well-organized and fluid technology training program that will help integration of technology into the curriculum. Schools within the lower socioeconomic classification did not have many opportunities for training or access to technology; therefore, the teachers did not have the opportunity for building their competencies. In comparison, the schools located in northern San Antonio had more than adequate opportunities for training and access to technology. Educational, business, and community organizations must be concerned with all aspects of student learning and their ability to utilize technology. It is not enough to supply hardware and software to schools.