Why School Boards Should Focus on Education Technologyby Ann Flynn No Comments December 10, 2011
Technology has changed the way virtually every industry in the world operates – from farmers to physicians – by supporting people’s relationships with one another and their work. Just as eBay altered commerce, iTunes changed the music industry, and Amazon forever changed the corner bookstore, technology innovations are poised to transform and disrupt the decades-old model of school as we currently define it. While some school districts have embraced technology to manage the complexities of the education enterprise, not nearly enough have experienced the efficiencies and academic successes that exist when all of the right elements are in place.
In 2010-2011, total IT spending in K-12 education was $9.4 billion, according to the 2011 Converge Yearbook. Following are some of the most explosive trends that are reshaping the education landscape and which should be triggering future-focused conversations about how school districts and their boards are going to navigate these new challenges.
Transition from Print to Digital
- State laws are being rewritten to allow dollars traditionally designated for print textbooks to be spent on digital content. (Florida has a goal to only support electronic materials by 2015)
- The Common Core Standards have sparked a revolution among developers of digital curriculum and apps.
- New high-stakes assessments under development are designed to be delivered entirely online.
- New software, using artificial intelligence, can deliver personalized instruction that addresses a child’s specific learning needs, providing a key element for blended learning models that alters the way a traditional classroom operates.
- States are increasingly starting to require one or more online courses for high school graduation.
- Open source and open education resources offer rich content and cost-saving strategies.
Access and Affordability
- Price points are dropping for multiple mobile devices, and the growth of tablets is projected to be 60% each year from 2010-2015. (Qualcomm data)
- National efforts are finally underway to expand Broadband access to communities not previously served.
- Portals and the use of the cloud allow students to access school resources 24×7 and effectively extend the learning day.
- Ensuring all students have the essential digital skills to distinguish fact from fiction, know how to behave online, and understand how to access information to participate fully in society are the measures of today’s digital divide.
Parental Engagement, Effective Teachers and Student Motivation
- Notification systems can be customized to parents’ preferred devices to enhance engagement.
- Teacher evaluation models are increasingly supported with technology tools and video clips.
- National Speak Up data continues to emphasize students’ frustration when required to “power down” at school rather than being able to utilize devices they access in the “real world”, contributing to a lack of motivation and sense that school is irrelevant.
- 1.5 million students were taking one or more online courses in 2010 (compared to 45,000 in 2000) according to iNACOL, and that growth is expected to continue with even more models offered through traditional districts and private providers challenging long-held policies and funding streams.
Helping school board members understand their role in this complex process of technology innovation and implementation is NSBA’s job in partnership with its state associations. The National School Boards Association is the only national education organization that has made a sustained commitment to helping board members and school leaders understand technology’s role in delivering a world class education and an efficient enterprise.
Although impressive things can happen between an innovative, tech-savvy teacher and engaged students, those results remain isolated successes unless school board members can articulate a vision, align resources, establish policies, and provide support to ensure those results can be replicated across the district.
Through its technology leadership and national reputation, NSBA showcases successful models of innovation, highlights educators who are making an impact on students and their colleagues, and offers real world examples of effective school board leadership.
Categories: Accountability, Cost Savings, LeadershipTags: cloud, common core, efficiency, evaluation, funding, handheld, ipad, NSBA, school board, students, teachers, technology, textbooks