At TCEA 2009 this year, everyone seemed to be joining Facebook. I received many friend invitations and I was just surprised. However, just as everyone was joining Diigo some time back and creating new groups, I find myself being bombarded with group invites. Not all of them, though, are frivolous.
Here is one group invite from Bonnie Bracey Sutton, a prolific writer and advocate whom I’ve followed for quite a while.
Change has come. But education is still reaching out for 21st Century Skills long after we first talked about those skills in 1992.
Facing National and International Challenges: Bridging the Gap
“To narrow the digital divide, we need to identify resources and strategies that break down barriers. By using new digital strategies and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems such as ubiquitous tools, we can work toward developing an operational definition of digital equity” says Dr. Joyce Pittman.
We believe that sharing stories and engaging in a global dialogue can improve the economic, political and social quality of life for individuals, communities and countries around the world. Because of digital opportunities, we believe people everywhere can benefit from what we call digital equity.
Does the Digital Divide Still Exist?
Three K-12 leadership groups warned that the nation’s schools would not be able to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century without using technology broadly and intensively — just as competitive U.S. industries have been doing for years. I have a special interest in this initiative, as I was involved in the 21st Century initiative when it was started years ago.
In a new report, “Maximizing the Impact: The Pivotal Role of Technology in a 21st Century Education System,” the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills urged renewed emphasis on technology in education.
The report urges federal, state and local policymakers and other stakeholders to take action on three fronts:
1. Use technology comprehensively to develop proficiency in 21st century skills. Knowledge of core content is necessary, but no longer sufficient, for success in a competitive world. Even if all students mastered core academic subjects, they still would be woefully under-prepared to succeed in postsecondary institutions and workplaces, which increasingly value people who can use their knowledge to communicate, collaborate, analyze, create, innovate, and solve problems, as specified in ISTE’s recently refreshed National Educational Standards for Students. Used comprehensively, technology helps students develop 21st century skills.
2. Use technology comprehensively to support innovative teaching and learning. To keep pace with a changing world, schools need to offer more rigorous, relevant and engaging opportunities for students to learn — and to apply their knowledge and skills in meaningful ways. Used comprehensively, technology supports new, research-based approaches and promising practices in teaching and learning.
3. Use technology comprehensively to create robust education support systems. To be effective in schools and classrooms, teachers and administrators need training, tools and proficiency in 21st century skills themselves. Used comprehensively, technology transforms standards and assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development, learning environments, and administration.
Together, SETDA, ISTE and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills represent dozens of leading U.S. companies and organizations, six leadership states, education technology directors in all 50 states, 85,000 education technology professionals and 3.2 million educators throughout the country.
The full report, “Maximizing the Impact,” is available at http://www.setda.org/web/guest/maximizingimpactreport .
Broadening education for all in the United States is a problem. Many complain of never really having professional development to learn to use the resources that technology can bring. Many teachers think of technology in tiny terms, ie using Powerpoint and some search engines. Funding has become scarce. Serious games are not even considered nor much investment in teaching the skills of programming. There may be digital natives and digital immigrants but there are also those who are digitally deficit in major ways.
Many students might as well be invisible, as little attention is paid to them or their educational needs for this era of emerging technologies.. The people who have a problem with literacy, there are solutions, but the push is for newer and emerging technologies which some think are 2.0 applications. Will there be a kind of WSIS on literacy and programs to effect literacy? Numeracy?
Using technology in the same old ways that we started out at the beginning of the technology revolution is not acceptable.
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