Technology & Education

Many of us wonder what is technology and how does it come to our use for educational needs. Well that's why this essay is on that topic and I'm going to explain it to you in my experience or what I know bout “Technology & Education”.When a school or district decides to implement technology and education into the curriculum, one of its overriding goals must be to create plans and policies for all members of the learning community to have equitable access and use. Appropriate funding and professional development represent the key means of supporting equitable access and use of technology to ensure technology literacy and to support meaningful learning for all students. Learning opportunities were not the same for all students. Students who are already at risk of educational failure often attend schools that provide fewer opportunities for meaningful learning.Like for say Special Ed its a class that is lower than an average class but helps students in a way so that they can understand the real work that they do in a normal class. The learning tools holds promise for leveling the playing field and ensuring equity in educational opportunity for all students in all schools.

As schools and districts develop their technology plans, they need to emphasize equity.They can focus on three strategies to ensure all students have access to technology that supports meaningful learning: (1) determine equipment and wiring needs, such as hardware, software, and a networking infrastructure that supports a technology-integrated curriculum; (2) secure appropriate funding to cover initial costs, such as installation of a "backbone," as well as the ongoing costs of maintenance and technical assistance; and (3)provide professional development for educators, so that technology is implemented in the classroom in meaningful ways and contributes to the attainment of high standards by all students. To assess the extent to which these strategies support technological equity, to schools and districts. Technology cannot become a useful support for students' work if they have access to it for only a few minutes a week. Technology-supported, project-based instruction requires a high degree of access to the tools of technology and to communication systems. Schools are faced with reality of a limited budget for equipment, telecommunications, and software, and they must make hard choices about how to get the most out of what they have.

The strategy for determining equitable access and use of education technology is appropriate funding. Schools and districts should enlist community support in developing funding strategies for technology and education that recognize technology as an ongoing investment. Individuals and groups responsible for funding decisions must keep in mind that over time, teachers and students will want and need access to multiple technologies (such as CD-ROM, satellite, full-motion video) for various purposes. The education technology that is implemented today must allow for increased capabilities in the future, rather than the threat of total replacement of the system. Careful planning, budgeting, and ongoing evaluation of technological needs and goals will ensure that the technology is appropriate and adaptable. Appropriate funding can be acquired through a combination of short- and long-term measures, including local tax revenues, bonds, grants, and reallocation of school funds. Therefore they must take the lead in developing policies and regulations based on a goal of universal access and in providing resources to ensure technological equity for all students and teachers. Allocation of funds must reflect the school or district's curricular goals as well as its technology planning goals. Perhaps the most common allocation approach is to provide less-advantaged school buildings with extra funds and resources for technology, enabling these schools to achieve parity with other sites in the district that already have equipment and wiring. Another approach is to guarantee that every classroom has the same set of equipment—such as a set number of student computer-learning stations, a television monitor that meets certain specifications, a teacher workstation, and a telephone line. In this way, assistance will be targeted to the disadvantaged schools because the other schools probably have at least some of the base-level infrastructure in place. Taking this approach entails specifying technical and software standards so that the infrastructure already in place throughout the district is coordinated with the new infrastructure that will be obtained. In still another approach, districts may choose to address equity concerns by distributing technology dollars evenly among the various school buildings. Of course, these choices should be guided by an understanding of the curriculum at each grade level so that the curriculum is well served by the technology tools that are made available. A final strategy in ensuring equitable use of education technology is ongoing professional development in technology and its applications. Teachers must have knowledge and experience with the vast range of technology and educational, they must learn strategies for using it effectively in the classroom.

Professional development issues require schools and districts to consider how they will help teachers learn about technology equipment and its applications.To ensure that students have equitable access to technology, teachers first must become knowledgeable about technology's interactive and networking capabilities. As they become proficient with the technology, teachers should be provided with assistance in integrating technology into various subject areasinto the Curriculum" [under development].) When technology is used to support curricular goals and meaningful instruction for all students, it reflects the indicators of engaged learning. Teachers must have a reason to use the technology in the classroom and should be given opportunities to collaborate in developing projects that apply technology to student learning. (For more on the role of professional development in improving student learning) . As policies and procedures to ensure equitable use of education technology are implemented, administrators, teachers, policymakers, parents, and community members must think ahead to how they will document that technological equity has been achieved. More important, they need to be able to demonstrate how equitable use of technology affects student learning and helps meet goals for school reform and accountability.

Roland Benson
Sakewew High School