Thursday, August 23, 2012

Education technology task force recommends personal learning devices connected to Internet


Educators should think of smart phones, not as barriers, but as learning tools to help prepare students to enter the modern workforce, according to a new report by a task force of technology education advisers to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
The 48-member Task Force, assembled by Torlakson earlier this year, submitted recommendations last week on challenges and opportunities schools are facing as they strive toward modern education technology. The Superintendent created the Education Technology Task Force under his No Child Left Offline initiative in order to start building a modern California Education Technology Blueprint.
“Computer technology is changing the face of education—and rightfully so. It can be a powerful tool for preparing kids for the economy they will become a part of once they leave school,” said Torlakson in a press release.
The report’s first recommendation is for students to have access to at least one Internet learning device, any time any place. “Possibly the biggest challenge facing public education is the demand for personalized learning using technology. The increasing demand for customized and personal education to meet students’ unique needs is driving the development of new technologies, specifically personal devices and online content capable of immediately addressing learner choice and control, while allowing for differentiated instruction,” says the report.
From the announcement, the Task Force’s initial recommendations include:
• Promote expanded use of online instructional materials and student access to technology for standards-based curricula.
• Every student has access to at least one Internet device for learning anytime and anywhere, often called 1:1, which the Task Force calls “possibly the biggest challenge facing public education” in this context.
• Form public-private partnerships for the funding and use of technology in the classroom.
• Develop guidance documents for students and their schools on safety and appropriate use, as well as existing laws and regulations.
• Create modern, personalized assessments for students that can help tailor their instruction—even within one class period.
• Encourage and reward teachers’ and administrators’ use of technology, including offering professional development to prepare them for its use across the education spectrum.
• Continue pursuing minimum bandwidth standards across the state.
The full report can be found here.

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