A ‘digital decade’ of school tech

Education Week’s Technology Counts 2007 is now up (no registration required). EdWeek finds schools have closed the digital divide for the most part, though low-income students are much less likely to use computers at home.

Digital cameras and videorecorders, coupled with photo-sharing and moviemaking software, are putting new, easier-to-use means of expression into students’ and educators’ hands.

Interactive software applications such as blogs, podcasts, and social-networking sites are letting students and teachers easily post their own writings and multimedia presentations on the Web. Digital whiteboards and liquid-crystal-display projectors are giving some classrooms a high-tech feel once reserved for corporate boardrooms.

Virtual education, in its infancy a decade ago, is going mainstream. Hundreds of thousands of students go online for some or all of their courses—a trend that is opening up opportunities, such as Advanced Placement classes, that would otherwise be unavailable. Teachers, for their part, are turning to the Web for professional development.
From Connectivity to Creativity

In addition, students are more likely to take tests on computers and teachers are using technology to gather and analyze data.

Are students learning more because of technology? Not clear says the report. Research has focused mostly on innovative uses of technology with few scientifically valid studies focused on whether students are learning more.

Several recent research reviews and meta-analyses published in the United States and in Britain suggest that, when measured across the board, educational technology yields “small, but significant” gains in learning and in student engagement. The problem is that those modest gains fell short of advocates’ promises.

Most of the giddiness of the hook ’em up era is gone now. Federal funding for unproven technology is drying up. Education technology will have to compete with other school needs.

Technology Counts includes state technology reports.

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  1. GradSchoolMom says:

    As new technology appeared, people thought they had found the cure for unmotivated students and bad teachers. The results have shown that it has very little effect on either. Now that the buzz has worn off and educators are aware that technology doesn’t equal magic, we are in a position to learn how to correctly use it. I still believe there is incredible potential for the educational use of technology and am disappointed how afraid most schools are of trying it. Although technology will never replace a good teacher, one of its major benefits is that when an unmotivated student becomes motivated to learn, the information can be accessed.


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