Classroom technology can pay off in higher student achievement, but simply purchasing the devices is not enough to create change, writes Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. In this blog post, he writes about Project 24, an initiative launched by the alliance "to help school districts think strategically about how to integrate technology into instruction to ensure student learning is more engaged, rigorous, and relevant."
Some say schools are overestimating how much Internet content to filter to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act and E-Rate. Daniel Vomastek, director of information and technology systems for Portage Public Schools in Michigan, said his office receives more requests to unblock sites than to filter them -- "by a ratio of 10 to 1." Vomastek said, "It really depends on school culture and the community in which you're based."
Three kindergarten classrooms in Queensland, Australia, are participating in a yearlong study to determine whether the iPad can improve achievement in literacy and math, as well as whether the devices help develop students' creativity. "There have been past studies examining young children's use of iPads and smart phone technology but this is the first to link the use with literacy and numeracy through creative applications," said Sandra Gattenhof, associate professor at Queensland University of Technology School of Media, Entertainment, and Creative Arts.
Proposals that would change math and other graduation requirements for Michigan students have sparked conversations about flexibility in curriculum decision-making. One proposed change is to allow students to take two alternate math classes instead of Algebra II, which some say better meets the needs of non-college-bound students. The state board of education maintains that such flexibility already is available to students.
There is an increasing focus on professional development for teachers related to education technology. With that focus, however, has come calls for the training to center more on the learning -- rather than on the specific devices. For example, Leslie Conery, interim chief education officer for the International Society for Technology in Education, says instead of training teachers to use iPads, the focus should be on the goal of the iPads, such as helping students read, write or hold classroom discussions.