Some Tech Goals Tougher Than Others, Group Finds

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The nation has made uneven progress toward accomplishing President Clinton's four goals for educational technology, according to a coalition that promotes technology in teaching and learning.

Schools are making "tremendous strides" on two of the goals--improving access to multimedia computers and connecting classrooms to local-area networks and the Internet, said Barbara J. Yentzer, the director of the center for education technology for the National Education Association.

"We have a long way to go in content--developing technology-based learning resources--and professional development," said Ms. Yentzer, also the president-elect of the National Coalition for Technology Education and Training.

Mr. Clinton proposed his four technology goals during his 1996 State of the Union Address. Progress toward reaching them was assessed during a briefing given in the White House last week by the NCTET. Members of the coalition include education associations, technology advocacy groups, and trade associations.

"There was a big emphasis on professional development, how to get teachers up to snuff in terms of how technology can be used--ought to be used," said David Byer, the vice president for government affairs for the Software Publishers Association and the legislative committee chairman for the coalition.

Mr. Byer said the discussion about the content of technology resources, such as software, focused on how principles of learning can better guide the creation of educational products.

Importance of Research

NCTET leaders also expressed a need for more research on educational technology.

"We all sense that if the public is going to continue to be supportive of technology--and we know right now they are--we're going to have to show we're continuing to examine the usefulness and effectiveness of technology," Ms. Yentzer said. "Quality research," not information based on anecdotes, is needed, she added.

"The research has to show that the technology really helps students to learn in a different way and helps teachers to teach in a different way," said NCTET President Lynn Silver.

In addition, the coalition said local, state, and national technology efforts need to be better coordinated.

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