To the Editor:
Regarding “Spellings Seeks Input on Technology’s Role in Schools,” (April 4, 2007):
For 15 years, the Institute for School Innovation has been working with several hundred elementary schools across America to integrate technology into the classroom. We have years of data to show that classrooms where students are highly engaged in using technology and hands-on learning have higher test scores, better behavior, and highly satisfied parents.
The catch is that these effective classrooms have transformed themselves from the standard teacher-directed paradigm into active classrooms in which students work collegially in small groups, and can work at their own pace. Teachers also work collegially in cross-grade teams as subject experts to provide multilayered instruction. They reorganize their classrooms to offer diversified practice at engaging learning stations. They teach and empower students to take responsibility for setting goals, following through, and reflecting on their accomplishments.
Until schools face the fact that the old classroom paradigm of “sit ’n’ git” must change, technology will remain an expensive distraction. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is correct that a lot of money has been spent to put technology in schools, but there is little to show for it.
Sarah M. Butzin
Institute for School Innovation
A version of this article appeared in the April 25, 2007 edition of Education Week as For Technology to Work, ‘Sit ’n’ Git’ Model Must Go