Teachers say the biggest barriers to delivering U.S. students into the information age are lack of teaching time, training, knowledge and money.
Teachers surveyed said these factors were blocking greater use of computers, online services, cable television, CD-ROMs, laser- discs and the global computer network Internet in their classrooms.The study, which comes as new school years are beginning or have just begun, was commissioned by five groups, including the National Education Association.
In the survey, 33.5 percent of the teachers said lack of time was an obstacle to using the Internet in the classroom, 31.8 percent cited lack of knowledge about the service, 28.2 percent said lack of training was a barrier and 27.5 percent of teachers cited lack of money. School administrators identified the same factors.
Unlike commercial online services provided through companies like America Online and Prodigy, people are not charged a fee for using the Internet.
But schools need to buy software and have telephone lines in the classroom - something most schools don't have and can't afford - to tap into the Internet. And, if students want to pluck information off the network, the schools need modems connected to the computers.
And, surprisingly, teachers reported facing more barriers to using educational programs supplied by cable networks than to using computer services and the Internet. One possible reason: Teachers don't like having to program VCRs to tape cable programs, cable representatives said.
Still, the survey found 85 percent of teachers used computers in the classroom in the last year, far greater than many education officials say they had expected. Fifty-eight percent of the teachers said they used educational cable programs in the classroom in the last year, but few teachers used the Internet and online services during the same period.
The survey was based on 1,000 telephone interviews of elementary and secondary teachers, media coordinators and adminis- trators in April and May. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.