Feds solicit ed-tech feedback

Education Department asks school stakeholders for their views on educational technology
By Laura Devaney, Associate Editor, eSchool News

The U.S. Department of Education is asking school stakeholders to comment on the use of technology in schools. While advocates of educational technology say they welcome this latest request for comments, some question whether the department will act on any of the advice it receives, given how little importance it placed on the last National Educational Technology Plan.

See following link for full story... http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showStoryts.cfm?ArticleID=7095
source:eSchool News website, May 29, 2007

Take the Challenge....Let's answer these questions...

I have been looking for more details and where to send our ideas. Here is the place...


For each question your get 1000 characters or about 150 words. Here is what I suggest...lets each build on each other answers and then each person can submit their own. So there should be 16+ entries and each of us can help expand on the entries of others. Once you are happy with your less then 1000 character entries, you can submit them. You can borrow ideas from each other as it is ok if they are repetitive.

Margaret Spellings will be listening to feedback on the following questions. You might want to reread your perils and promise of technology to see if any of these ideas help you.

1. In what ways has technology improved the effectiveness of your classroom, school, or district?
  • Technology has given students opportunities to collaborate, to create context for their learning, and to be creative. These are educational goals that have fallen by the wayside as schools teach children how to take specific state-wide assessment tests. For example in a tech club project I have changed the way I use technology to increase the participation of girls and special needs students. I have found that the projects that students have been doing after school has changed the way I teach and the way they learn. Technology allows for more authentic learning experiences in which students create the context for their learning and understanding. (Josh Burker)
  • Technology has given teachers a new resource for their subject matter. It has encouraged more integration of curriculum and less isolation of each subject. It also encourages collaborative problem solving with students who can take a more active role in their learning. (Barb Lolli)
  • Technology is tacit which enables the learner to practice what they are learning and share their learning with others locally or globally. This increases competence and confidence in the learner. Technology enables access to information in "real time" so learning is immediate and constant. (Kim Woolman)
  • Embedded Technology usage in the classroom enables a richer, much more engaging educational experiences that usually translated into better knowledge transmission across wider situational spectrum's.( Mitch Townsend)
  • Technology allows students to become global learners through hands on interaction with students from across the world. (How about some examples--check out iearn.org or edutopia.org for stories) (Kristen Dowling)
  • I have seen the enthusiastic response of teachers and students who were willing to explore new approaches and adopt new pedagogical practices as they begin to grasp the huge potential that exists to bring about forward-thinking synergy in the academic environment through thoughtful application of technology. (Cherilyn Ziemer)
  • Technology has proved effective at my high school, in that students are engaged and stimulated through multiple intelligences (the seven intelligences include: verbal/linguistics, mathematical/logical, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical/rhythmic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligence). In a paperless classroom, lessons are taught using Moodle, an online tool used for posting assignments, submitting work, and collecting feedback. Podcasts, world news feeds, and video are embedded in lessons in Moodle giving students the opportunity to learn through various mediums. (Kristen Zukley)
  • Technology helps students and teachers to create a collaborative environment where they all ask questions and they all responds in a different way. And that could improve instructor-student relationship by realizing that we all are learning together.( Behnaz Nassernia)
  • Children have grown up in a world surrounded in technology. In their homes they interact with it at an early age through games and media. Technology is a tool, one that can tap into a level of pre-created interest and familiarity, it is a tool that children can understand. Incorporating technology into the classroom provides educators with a tools that can be used to collaborate, communicate, create, connect, discover, research, share, educate, translate knowledge, and so much more. Computers should not be used for rote drilling or testing, but for used to help build the curriculum for today's educational demands. (Allen Haren)

2. Based on your role (administrator, parent, teacher, student, entrepreneur, or business leader), how have you used educational data to make better decisions or be more successful?
  • From the testing scores where I teach, I find myself pushing for more integration of the curriculum. Technology can help in this but it is not the only answer. The school administration and teachers must be on board for this to be successful. I have found many resources through the use of technology that do integrate the curriculum better and I have worked with teachers for this to happen more. It needs to be continued on a larger scale. (Barb Lolli)
  • Knowledge based testing allows us to baseline where the learner began in their learning journey and where the learning needs to begin and continue. It also helps us make learning more prescriptive eliminating or reducing content that isn't necessary. Knowledge based test scores enable us to educate our executives on how well or poor our staff are learning. It helps us get more funding, if necessary to continue developing learning opportunities through corporate funds and support. (Kim Woolman)
  • As a corporate owner I have used educational data to become better informed as to the challenges facing our educational systems and how this will ultimately effect our ability to successfully find and train workers. (Mitch Townsend)
  • I have become convinced that we must embrace and pedagogically engage Gardner’s view regarding “the individualization of teaching and assessment, the need to articulate educational goals, and the advantages of multiple representations of key concepts” (Gardner, 2006). We can no longer teach and assess every student in the same manner. We must actively attempt to determine each student's learning strengths and use that information to adapt the learning activity and assessment activity to those strengths. (Cherilyn Ziemer)

3. In what ways can technology help us prepare our children for global competition and reach our goals of eliminating achievement gaps and having all students read and do math on grade level by 2014?
  • Technology can connect students to different communities. This increases the depth of the dialogue and exposes students to new ideas, cultures, and people. (Josh Burker)
  • Technology can become a powerful medium that can exploit others knowledge, ideas, skills. tool, curriculum, etc., to improve those in need globally. (Kim Woolman)
  • Technology is the great leveler, It has for the first time in history enabled educational institutions to deliver high quality educational experiences to learners regardless of proximity or societal limitations. Learners are now able to call upon a multitude of different technology tools that effectively enhance and accelerate learning. (Mitch Townsend)
  • Technology in itself cannot help us prepare our children for global competition and in reaching goals by 2014. We need to make sure our children know what tools can help them in all curriculum areas. It is our job to make sure our children have available and know how to use the technology tools that are available and how to use them. It is our duty to make sure our children know how these tools can assist them in learning and collaborating in an ever flattening world. (Barb Lolli)
  • Techonolgy can allow students to learn from other students across the country and world. Students can work together on projects regardless of their location or ability levels. (Kristen Dowling)
  • To start, each school should offer a " no teacher left behind" program to make sure they know how to use technology in a way to increase and promote learning. ( Behnaz Nassernia)
  • Technology is only as powerful as the way it is used. In the right curriculum technology can make learning a challenging fun. Properly used technology can allow the students to create their own learning scenarios so learning takes place outside of "traditional" classwork. Technology can connect classrooms to new communities, cultures, countries, and environments that were once out of reach. Technology is a "multiple jointed" tool, by assigning work or teaching within one area of context learning will take place and exercise another area of study. Reading and math can be taught through creating math based games or researching material necessary to create a video, or podcast. (Allen Haren)

4. What should be the federal government's role in supporting the use of technology in our educational system?
  • The government should encourage the growth of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) because of the collaborative nature of open source projects and the open-architecture. If FOSS does not work in a way that is useful for the user, the user may change it and contribute these changes back to the community. FOSS and open standards allow for global collaboration. (Josh Burker)
  • The government should not only encourage technology for learning, but also set up funds to support the purchase of technology. They should also do this equally, not based upon scores, number of children, demographics, etc. The government should also set up grants for companies to create learning hubs for children to go to in local libraries for free computer access. (Kim Woolman)
  • The federal government should take a lead role in bringing the appropriate people together to re-align our national priorities with regard to technology and its implementation strategies within learning environments. We are sorely missing the effective leadership required to address this very large problem in a comprehensive fashion. (Mitch Townsend)
  • The federal government needs to have a system set up that make sure that funding for our children's education is equitable. Technology needs to be available no matter where one lives and educators need to be qualified to work with our children. It is not always about money but about quality. We need to be able to trust our government to use money wisely and ensure that all our children are receiving a quality education. (Barb Lolli)
  • The government should provide tuition reimbursement or grants for teacher technology training. This would be one positive step in bridging the technology/digital divide between students and teachers. (Kristen Zukley)
  • Provide adequate funding so that school not only purchase and maintain technology but also hire ed-tech experts to help school to implement them in the most effective way ( Behnaz Nassernia)
  • In order to support the use of technology in our educational system the federal government's role should be one that supports teachers and schools on a financial level. Financial support would be through grants to schools for the training of administration and teachers in technology use. Grants and loan forgiveness should be available to teachers who hold higher degrees / certificates in technology based education. The government should encourage the use and growth of Free/Open Source Software. It should also identify an alternative means of assessing performance rather than continuing standardized testing. The overall role should be one of positive support and not punishment. (Allen Haren)

An ED spokesperson said a deadline for the public to submit feedback has not yet been set. The department did not respond to an eSchool News reporter's request for additional comments before press time.To submit your feedback on educational technology, visit ED's web site, or eMail responses to