Pennsylvania's EdTech Report Card

Thanks to Tom Turner for blogging about this.   By the way, Tom also blogs for DEN’s Florida blog.

On March 29, 2007, Education Week came out with its Technology Counts 2007 annual report, the tenth report in the series.  As a supplement, EdWeek has published detailed state reports.

These State Technology Reports are a supplement to the 10th edition of Technology Counts, a joint project of Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. As in previous years, the EPE Research Center has surveyed the states to assess the status of K-12 educational technology across the nation. The state reports assemble key findings from that survey and other sources in a format that allows readers to examine a particular state’s performance on this year’s indicators. For most indicators, national results are also provided as a benchmark against which the state can be measured.

Technology Counts 2007, which explores developments in educational technology over the past decade, tracks data from the 50 states and the District of Columbia in several critical areas of technology policy and practice: access, use, and capacity. The report assigns grades to the states for their performance in those three categories. State grades are not comparable with those in last year’s report because of changes in two access indicators and improvements in the scoring for indicators related to teacher and administrator licensure.


Pennsylvania
did not fare so well (especially considering the tremendous resources that the Pennsylvania Department of Education is committing to educational technology with the Classrooms for the Future grant program) . . .

We are equally focused on preparing students for the 21st Century.  To ensure our students are prepared to thrive in an economy where almost every industry requires daily technology use, we must equip them with 21st Century skills through daily exposure to 21st Century tools.  Our goal is digital literacy for every child in Pennsylvania, for it is through education that we will be able to connect economic development in the Commonwealth to a labor force for the Information Age.

In the four primary evaluation areas – access, use, and capacity – PA scored B, D+, B- respectively.  It is the D+ in use that really both concerns and motivates me.  The average state grade in the use category was a C+.

Perhaps, with the coaching/mentoring component included with the Getting to One programs (see the Pathways to Performance report for examples) that score will increase.  The Keystone Technology Integrator initiative is a step in the right direction.

I do believe that learning networks, such as the Keystones and Discovery Educator Network, go a long way in empowering teachers to more effectively integrate engaging technologies into their instruction.  (Thus, leading to a more relevant educational experience for students that will better prepare them for the global economy).  I believe that the collaborative nature of virtual networking we are seeing emerge within and among myriad industries is driving educational systems at all levels to explore Web 2.0 applications and rapidly adapt to the evolving demands of industry.  The future literacies, as detailed in Henry Jenkins’ white paper, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, are:

  • Play
  • Performance
  • Simulation
  • Appropriation
  • Multitasking
  • Distributed Cognition
  • Collective Intelligence
  • Judgment
  • Transmedia Navigation
  • Networking
  • Negotiation

I think that strides are certainly being made in including some of these new literacies in K-12 education.  DEN educators are certainly advancing the cause and are well-supported by research.

According the Jenkins’ research:

A growing body of scholarship suggests potential benefits of these forms of participatory culture, including:

  • opportunities for peer-to-peer learning
  • a changed attitude towards intellectual property
  • the diversification of culture expression
  • the development of skills valued in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship.

In an investigation of 21st century literacies, Jenkins’ research is well augmented by the industry research of Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams presented in Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.

So, if you get a chance, take stock of your district’s integration strategy and your own classroom use of technology.  Discovery offers so many resources for educators to implement technology in meaningful ways and supports ongoing professional development and collegial support through the Discovery Educator Network.

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