Opinion
Ed-Tech Policy Opinion

Making Ed. Tech. Work

June 20, 2007 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To help educators and technology leaders find solutions to their problems and open their minds to new ideas, edweek.org sponsors occasional chats with school technology experts. Following are edited excerpts from a recent chat, “The Evolution of Ed. Tech.,” with Margaret A. Honey, a former director of the Center for Children and Technology who is now the senior vice president of strategic initiatives and research for Wireless Generation, a New York City-based company that develops mobile technologies for use in schools; Cathleen Norris, a professor in the department of technology and cognition at the University of North Texas in Denton; and Elliot Soloway, a professor of computer science and education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

What level(s) of classroom technology promotes student achievement?

BRIC ARCHIVE

Elliot Soloway: The key to getting an impact from computing is using computing for a concerted period of time. Limited, incremental, part-time, scattered use of computers—e.g., computers on carts, computer labs—typically shows no impact because use is limited. One-to-one [student-to-computer ratios] finally gives the children time to use the technology. … But we have to be careful—it is not just use that makes the impact—one needs to use the computers in a focused way with software that addresses learning goals. Then we see impact.

How can administrators and/or state education agencies encourage or require the use of new technologies by reluctant teachers who are otherwise of high quality?

BRIC ARCHIVE

Cathleen Norris: The reason these teachers are reluctant is that they don’t know what to do with the new technology. A Swedish study showed that these were actually the best teachers to use to integrate technology because they had already mastered classroom management and how to teach their content material. All they needed was appropriate software for their subject area and professional development to help them see how they could better engage their students with the technology and software. Also, the technology must not be the kind that adds an extra burden to what they already have to do.

What’s the best tool and technology for creating a sense of community online?

BRIC ARCHIVE

Margaret Honey: What I would suggest is that you identify some online collaborative projects that impress you and take a look at what they are using to support engagement. And, while it’s true, of course, that you want the tool to be easy to use, what’s most important is how you facilitate and build a sense of community. Margaret Riel has written a lot about this, as has Linda Polin. They are both at Pepperdine University. Also, Mark Schlaeger at SRI [International, based in Menlo Park, Calif.,] has done extensive work in this area.

What are a few new technologies that hold the greatest promise for application in K-12 classrooms?

Cathleen Norris: The only thing that will really make a difference to students is that to which they can have access 24/7. How useful would any technology that you have be if you had to share it with six other people or you only got to use it once or twice per week. … Cellphones are the closest thing we have to one-to-one [computing access], so from just an access perspective, the more we can do with cellphones, the more hope we have of reaching every child.

What are the documented successes and concerns with using technology with special education students?

Margaret Honey: There are a couple of places to turn for answers to your question: CITEd (www.citeducation.org) is a site that locates the most up-to-date resources for implementing technology in education. Their resources are geared toward both special education and general education students. [Also], the National Center to Improve Practice (www2.edc.org/NCIP/) [was established] to promote the effective use of technology to enhance educational outcomes for students with sensory, cognitive, physical, and social/emotional disabilities.

What impact is digital gaming having on how students want to be taught?

Read the full transcript of this chat, Technology Counts 2007: The Evolution of Ed. Tech..

Elliot Soloway: Gaming is an opportunity for learning—I think a small opportunity that is being blown way out of proportion, since education is always in need of the next greatest thing. Kids need to learn to read and write. Games can be used to do that. But they have to actually write something; they have to actually read something. … If we make games into a fad, then when the results are disappointing, we will drop games.

Related Tags:

Compiled by Kevin Bushweller
A version of this article appeared in the June 20, 2007 edition of Digital Directions as Making Ed. Tech. Work

Events

Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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
Data Webinar
Using Integrated Analytics To Uncover Student Needs
Overwhelmed by data? Learn how an integrated approach to data analytics can help.

Content provided by Instructure
Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management

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

Ed-Tech Policy Reported Essay Remote Learning Isn’t Just for Emergencies
Schools were less prepared for digital learning than they thought they were.
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Ed-Tech Policy Opinion Why Are We Turning Our Backs on Remote Learning?
Neither the detractors nor defenders of remote learning are fully in the right, argues one superintendent.
Theresa Rouse
5 min read
Illustration of girl working on computer at home.
Getty
Ed-Tech Policy Letter to the Editor Using E-Rate to Address the Homework Gap
The FCC's E-rate program can provide relief to many families, says this letter author from the Internet Society.
1 min read
Ed-Tech Policy Q&A Acting FCC Chair: The 'Homework Gap' Is an 'Especially Cruel' Reality During the Pandemic
Under the new leadership of Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC is exploring broadening the E-Rate to cover home-connectivity needs.
5 min read
Internet connectivity doesn't reach all the houses
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty