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Delivering on the Promise of Technology to Accelerate Educational Improvements

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By Brian Lewis, CEO, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

More than three decades since the first computers began to appear in schools around the country, we still seem to be engaged in a national conversation about whether or not they belong there - whether the investments that our communities have made in education technology can be linked to improved student outcomes.

 Our collective truth is that today's students were born into a world where technology has been a part of their lives from the very beginning. As preschoolers, they pick up their parents' smartphones and seem to intuitively know how to play a game.  Ask a first-grader who is a baseball fan to find information on when his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, will be playing next, and there is every possibility he will tell you to go to www.Cubs.com. Ask a high school freshman if there should be technology in schools and you will likely get that look that only a 15-year-old can give, telling you that you are "clueless."

 These same students are graduating into a world where they are competing for jobs on a global level - not only on a local, state or national level. The days of the reading, writing and arithmetic being alone at the core of schoolwork are far in the past.  As the new Common Core State Standards recognize, students also need to master the three Cs as well: critical thinking, creativity and collaboration.

Technology already is playing an important role around the country in supporting students as they develop these important skills. It's serving to strategically support educational objectives. It's not about the technology. It's about how districts are using technology to support and enhance curricular objectives and student achievement. As an advocate for education technology at the local, state, national and global levels, ISTE seeks to accelerate the effective and innovative use of technology in schools so that the instances where it is linked to true educational change are increasingly the norm.

 To achieve this goal, it's more important than ever to further the implementation of ISTE's technology standards for the meaningful integration of technology into thriving learning environments, where each student learns on a personalized path and builds the thinking skills requisite for success in today's world. Every aspect of what we do - from professional learning opportunities to tools and resources for schools - must focus on helping educators at all levels engage technology to support learning.

 As a key part of that work, we seek to nurture and promote pragmatic examples of the successful integration of technology into learning and teaching. These specific instances across the curriculum areas provide powerful representations of best practices for schools around the country and the world, as well as demonstrate to policy makers and community leaders how technology - engaged effectively - puts students on the path to success in the 21st century and beyond.

 At ISTE, like every organization or person who has dedicated its time and energy to education, our ultimate responsibility is to serve the best interests of students. As a national and global voice for promoting the effective use of technology in learning and teaching, we are focusing on supporting educators in their mission to ensure that all students achieve their creative and intellectual potential. The time is now for all of us to join together and provide the thought leadership, advocacy, professional learning and resources to ensure that we deliver on the much-anticipated promise to accelerate educational improvements.


Views expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the endorsement of the Learning First Alliance or any of its members.

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