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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: October 04 2011 »

Pointing to concerns about the technology readiness of adolescent learners for college and work, a new report by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) for the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) identifies effective ways that technology may be used to personalize a student’s learning experience. The report, Integrating Technology with Student-Centered Learning, examines the integration of computer- and web-based tools, applications, and games, as well as video and technology associated with mechanical and electrical engineering.

Research cited in the report, prepared by EDC’s Babette Moeller and Tim Reitzes, shows that 43 percent of high school students feel unprepared to use technology as they look ahead to college and work; only 8 percent of teachers fully integrate technology in the classroom; and many teachers lack confidence in their own technology related skills. The report also explores how technology has the potential to help expand education beyond traditional boundaries and support student learning.

“Our review of the research found evidence that technology alone will not enhance learning nor will it change traditional learning environments into more relevant, innovative ones,” Moeller said. “But we did find that technology can be used effectively to personalize the learning experience for students when it is part of a larger learning plan and when teachers are involved in helping them make the most of it.”

According to the report, technology holds the potential to:

    * Help diagnose and address individual needs. Technology can help establish a clear baseline from which teachers can then serve as coaches and advisors, steering students to the right mix of resources and projects that meet specific academic requirements.
    * Equip students with skills essential for work and life in a 21st century global society. Technology can enhance the knowledge and skills valued by employers and not typically measured in achievement tests, including problem solving, creativity, collaboration, data management, and communication.
    * Provide an active experience for students. Technology can equip students to independently organize their learning process. At the same time, technology transfers some responsibility for learning to students. Through online learning and digital games, students have the ability to direct their own progress.

The report provides examples of student-centered models where technology has been successfully integrated, such as High Tech High, a network of K–12 charter schools in the San Diego area that use digital portfolios to document and assess student learning; and Quest to Learn, a New York public school that uses a video game-based curriculum.

The report also mentions that technology can:

    * Provide an invaluable way to deliver more student-centered/personalized learning in a cost-effective way.
    * Enhance academic achievement, civic engagement, acquisition of leadership skills, and personal/social development.

“Teachers and students often utilize technology and social networking in their everyday lives,” said Beth M. Miller, director of research and evaluation for NMEF. “However, in the past, technology has not always improved achievement. As this report makes clear, we are truly at a crossroads in the potential for technology to enhance student-centered teaching and learning.”

Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is a global nonprofit organization that addresses some of the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. EDC manages 350 projects in 35 countries. Visit www.edc.org.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation is the largest charitable organization in New England that focuses exclusively on education. The Foundation supports the promotion and integration of student-centered approaches to learning at the middle and high school levels across New England. To elevate student-centered approaches, the Foundation uses a three-part strategy: developing and enhancing models of practice; reshaping education policies; and increasing public understanding and demand for high quality educational experiences. Since 1998, the Foundation has distributed over $123 million in grants. Visit www.nmefdn.org.
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