TIES - Hot technologies

Yesterday I attended a session at TIES (the Minnesota state educational technology conference) by Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. Keith presented some findings from a report on Hot Technologies in\nK-12 Education by CoSN's\nEmerging Technologies Committee. He noted that the committee focused on\ntechnologies that have the potential to transform practice and that the emphasis\nwas on technologies that are emerging, not those that have emerged\n[note: when Keith asked the audience for technologies in their\norganization that fit this description, responses include electronic\nwhiteboards, wireless, projectors, and parent portals]. Here are my notes from\nKeith's session:


\n

5 Key Educational Issues

\n
  1. galvanize instruction and promote authentic learning
  2. \n\n
  3. improve assessment and evaluation
  4. \n\n
  5. address diverse learning styles and needs
  6. \n\n
  7. build community
  8. \n\n
  9. improve administrative efficiency
\n

To be included in the committee's report, a technology\ntool needed to

\n
  • address one of the major educational issues above,
  • \n\n
  • possess transformative power, and
  • \n\n
  • be feasible
\n

1. Promote authentic learning

\n
  • active highly portable storage devices (e.g., flash keys, portable external\nhard drives, iPods)
  • \n\n
  • datacasting
\n

Transformative value

\n
  • incorporate compelling, up-to-date audio, video, data into everyday\ninstruction
  • \n\n
  • empowering students to play an active role in their own learning
\n

2. Improve assessment

\n\n

Transformative value

\n
  • making NCLB-required assessments easier to perform
  • \n\n
  • managing mountains of data and finding the "gems" that actually assist in\nmaking decisions
\n

3. Address diverse learning styles

\n\n

Transformative value

\n
  • based on principles of universal design / accessibility, these tools help\nall students, not just those with hearing disabilities
\n

4. Build community

\n
  • programmable phone systems (can send pre-recorded phone messages in multiple\nlanguages)
  • \n\n
  • student information systems (web-enabled)
  • \n\n
  • learning management systems (student / parent portals)
  • \n\n
  • blogs
\n

Transformative value

\n
  • engaging parents and the larger community
  • \n\n
  • enabling schools to reach increasingly diverse populations
  • \n\n
  • substituting electronic communication for printed reports and face-to-face\nconferences
\n

5. Improve administrative efficiency

\n
  • radio frequency identification (RFID)
\n

Transformative value

\n
  • student safety
  • \n\n
  • eliminating time-consuming busy work of taking attendance
  • \n\n
  • tracking inventory
\n

My reactions

\n

Keith's presentation helped me remember that most of these tools are not\npresent in most school districts. As an educational technology person, it's easy\nto feel from the practitioner magazines and conferences that this stuff is all\nover the place because you read about it and hear about it so often. For\nexample, wireless, electronic whiteboards, and parent portals all have been\naround for a while and have been written about extensively. To hear educators\nsay that they are "emerging technologies" was a sober reminder that we have a\nlong way to go in most school districts.

\n

It is also important to reemphasize that, while schools are finding value in\nthese tools, they are not all needed in all places. Districts need to continue\nto give careful thought to technology purchases and not just "jump on the\nbandwagon" with the latest, greatest thing. It's easy to get swept up in the\nhype – finding real value from your\ntechnology investments is much more difficult.

\n

Finally, I\nhave written about this before, but I continue to be concerned about the\nslow pace of change in schools compared to society.

\n

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