In Massachusetts and nationally, we have created the infrastructure for the use of technology in our schools, but have not yet seen it widely used to improve the achievement of all students. In schools and classrooms where it is used well, technology is a change agent that is helping to transform learning and teaching to meet the needs of students in the 21st century.
Massachusetts, in recent years, has made significant investments and great progress toward bringing modern technology to our schools (though we are by no means a leader among the states). Sustaining these gains and continuing our progress will require leadership, professional development and support for teachers, and wise use of adequate resources.
To realize the full benefits of educational technology, we need a continued commitment, by local districts and the Commonwealth, of resources to sustain and extend the availability and effectiveness of the technology itself keeping it updated and working properly, and providing good technical support for users and better applications. We also need to make sure our teachers are prepared to take advantage of that technology to support student learning.
Education reform and the curriculum frameworks demand we give students the new basic skills required by todays world, in addition to the traditional basics. Technology promotes greater student inquiry and supports students' active learning through writing, data analysis, cooperative projects, and presentations. Teachers should be enabled to apply instructional practices that encourage these activities, and can also benefit from the efficiencies, data, research, and communications that technology enables.
A CALL TO ACTION
BEST advocates sufficient funding by:
Supporting broad-based predictable state funding, such as the four-year grants in the Capital Needs Investment Trust Fund, which are intended to go to all districts that show progress toward the DOEs Technology Benchmark Standards.
Using state guidelines, such as the Foundation Budget Formula and the Technology Benchmark Standards, to suggest adequate levels of local funding.
BEST advocates professional development by:
Encouraging the integration of proven technology into curriculum development, training, or mentoring activities done with Federal funds, such as those from the new education law, No Child Left Behind.
BEST also advocates enhanced regulatory frameworks that address such issues as:
Designing schools that are better suited to accommodate best practice in instruction such as different grouping structures, project-based learning , and technology.
Making curriculum materials accessible to all students by requiring that they come in digital as well a paper format so as to meet the learning needs of students with different learning styles, disabilities, limited English proficiency, or limited literacy.
Encouraging the implementation of ongoing, standards-driven, technology infused, school-based professional development that research suggests is most effective.
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