California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) Applauds Report from Education Technology Task Force

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Recommendations call for expanded use of online instructional materials and increased student access to technology; CSLNet claims investments are key to preparing our students for future careers.

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We are seeing amazing examples of how technology can accelerate learning in our classrooms, yet as a state, we have not been able to capitalize on these early successes.

Students will be asked to take out their cell phones and electronic tablets in the classroom of the near future, according to a new report that teachers and other education experts prepared for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

The report examined the challenges and opportunities facing schools as they move to bring 21st Century tools into California’s classrooms, with the goal of improving teaching and learning.

Chris Roe, CEO of the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet), applauded Superintendent Torlakson and the Task Force’s recommendations as timely and needed. “In a state whose history and future is so closely linked to technology, California is paradoxically behind the curve in its use of technology and online resources in the classroom. We are seeing amazing examples of how technology can accelerate learning in our classrooms, yet as a state, we have not been able to capitalize on these early successes,” said Roe.

The report focused on five key areas—learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity. Some of its initial recommendations include:

  •     Promote expanded use of online instructional materials and student access to technology for standards-based curricula.
  •     Form public-private partnerships for the funding and use of technology in the classroom.
  •     Encourage and reward teachers' and administrators' use of technology, including offering professional development to prepare them for its use across the education spectrum.
  •     Continue pursuing minimum bandwidth standards across the state.

Task Force member Amy Wong of Silicon Valley Education Foundation, a regional partner of CSLNet, noted: "The recommendations the Education Technology Task Force made to Superintendent Torlakson capture what needs to happen to move education forward in California to take full advantage of the affordances of technology for teaching and learning,” said Wong, “These recommendations prioritize the systems changes that need to take place to promote technology for education.”

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson called for the report as part of his No Child Left Offline initiative earlier this year. The 48 member Task Force was comprised of teachers, administrators, technology directors, local and county superintendents, school board members, parents, researchers, policy advocates, and foundation/community members from around the state.

Torlakson will consider these recommendations as well as public comment in working toward an updated Education Technology Plan. Access the new report and additional information about the Task Force at Education Technology Task Force Work Group Memo here.

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Chris Roe
California STEM Learning Network
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