Classroom equipment has come a long from the clunky overhead projector. From 1:1 laptop programs to using iPods to enhance foreign language education, there are many ways to use today’s latest technologies in the classroom.
However, the Technology Edge is not about buying the latest technology just for the sake of having it. Our speaker for the 21st Century Education Lecture, Milton Chen, stresses the importance of providing teachers with the right training to make effective use of the technologies available to them. He states, “the teachers, not the technology, hold the key to success,” and that simply dropping machines into schools is not the answer.
Here is one example from Chen’s book. In 2002, Maine’s public school system implemented a 1:1 laptop program for middle school students. The program also focused on teacher training and support for new forms of project-based, collaborative, and community-based learning. Results were clear –improved middle school writing skills, mathematics, and science skills. It was noted that the most successful results came from the classrooms where the teachers were given the most professional development related to integrating technology into their teaching.
The Technology Edge is really about innovation. In his book, Chen includes many more examples of how teachers across the nation are coming up with new ways to connect students to learning through technology. The examples he shares challenge us to consider how we can incorporate the technologies our students are already using in their daily lives – laptops, the Internet, iPods, digital cameras – and use them in a way that inspires greater depth of learning and enhances the teachers’ lesson plans.
Share your thoughts here and plan to join us this Thursday at the 21st Century Education Lecture to discuss more examples from Milton Chen.