Education

3 Shifts in the Use of Ed Tech: Exploring, Personalizing, Closing Equity Gaps

By Michele Molnar — June 26, 2017 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

San Antonio

Ed tech is at a “tipping point,” Richard Culatta, the new CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education or ISTE, told a gathering of educators at the nation’s largest ed-tech conference happening here this week.

The evidence is evolving in three shifts Culatta has observed in his travels and his work, he said.

Shift #1: From delivery to exploration

The first rung of the digital ladder is using technology to produce digital content that students consume. But technology can transform students into explorers, said Culatta, who used an experience at the Sunnyside, Ariz., school district as an example.

There, he found high school students using a device for a biotech class to take genome samples, and a webcam to document the process. Their goal was to complete an experiment and publish their results in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Technology allows students to move from being content consumers to designers, builders, and explorers,” said Culatta.

Shift #2: From “one size fits all” to personalized

Learning must be tailored for all students, said Culatta, who served as the director of the U.S. Department of Education’s office of educational technology under the Obama administration. (That position still remains unfilled since Betsy Devos took over the U.S. Department of Education.)

He described a classroom he visited in New York City where students’ work one day led to customized learning experiences the following day.

“We have technology available ... to meet their interests, needs, and passions every day,” he said.

Shift #3: From access for the few to closing the equity gap

Learning opportunities should not be dictated by the ZIP codes students live in, the color of their skin, or the income level of their parents, Culatta said.

“Technology can bring access by tools that connect, that before only the wealthiest of students could afford,” said Culatta, highlighting the example of the Chattanooga, Tenn., where the city’s mayor saw the value of using “ultra high-speed internet and an ultra-high definition camera” to connect students in terminals at their school with students at a university who had access to a $1 million scanning electron microscope for science.

In Rhode Island, where Culatta was most recently the chief innovation officer, only 22 students had passed the Advanced Placement Computer Science test the year he arrived&mash;all were white and from private schools.

“However, through technology, we brought access to people who could teach computer science skills” to every public high school in the state, he said. The result? Rhode Island became one of the first states to graduate students who passed AP Computer Science tests on par with the group who came from private schools.

Culatta is one of five experts who shared their predictions for the future of classroom technology as part of Education Week‘s just-released 20th edition of “Technology Counts,” which tracks the state of ed-tech use in U.S. schools.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP