National Trends: Enhancing Education Through Technology

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The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released (March, 2006) its report National Trends: Enhancing Education Through Technology, NCLB (No Child Left Behind) Title II, Part D – Year Three in Review.

This legislation requires that schools use this funding for technology to close the achievement gap.

The technology funding from the No Child Left Behind, Title II D program directly supports NCLB goals in three distinct ways:

• Closing the achievement gap by providing access to software, online resources, and virtual learning aligned to academic standards for instruction and learning.

• By providing for professional development with online courses, communities of practice, and virtual communication that ensure flexibility and access.

• Enhancing data systems to ensure that educators can use real-time data to inform sound instructional decisions and ensure that schools meet AYP.

This report is based on response to a survey from one person in each state, from the office of the state technology director. Together, these state directors account for spending $625,027,468 in NCLB Title II, Part D funds.

Most states are encouraging school districts and schools to integrate technology systematically and 23.5% actually require that technology planning and school improvement be conducted within the same process.

Nearly 25% of states are funding or commissioning research studies on the impact of educational technology on learning in schools.

Over 40% of states required LEAs that received NCLB II D competitive grant funds to focus on reading or mathematics … (resulting in) increased student learning.

Arizona, California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin rely only on this funding for technology in schools.

I looked, but must have missed data that indicate which technologies states use for student learning and how much each technology increases student learning. Please point me to pages that report these data.

Kudos to SETDA and its contractors for a noble effort. We appreciate your description about NCLB funding of technology for student learning. We look forward to the next report, especially to indications of increases in student learning with technologies.

Suggestion to readers: You will have to read thoughtfully to sort out reported data from political positioning and hype (e.g., enhancing, promising, digital divide, through leadership, encourage, grappling, high-bar, leveraging, collaboration, high quality) instead of behavioral descriptors.

SETDA was established in 2001. It serves as the principal organization representing state education technology directors. Notice the heavy affiliations with technology businesses.

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Robert Heiny
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in [I]The Encyclopedia of Education [/I](1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for [I]TuxReports[/I].com.