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Home » Delivering Basic Education

Delivering Basic Education

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Educational Technology

Bre Urness-Straight

The work of the Educational Technology (EdTech) department at OSPI is identified in the state's definition of basic education - specifically with the inclusion of technology literacy and fluency in RCW 28A.150.210.

EdTech programs connect directly to our need to engage an increasingly diverse population of young learners and prepare every public school student for post-secondary education or workforce training.

Teachers with Technology...

  • Remove physical barriers to learning and differentiate content to address different learning styles.
  • Teach kids to create, collaborate and think critically with technology - an important instructional outcome.
  • Train their peers on the dynamic relationship between tech integration, and instruction and assessment.

Talk About EdTech

The majority of our graduates will enter the world of knowledge workers who expect to share information and experience online with their peers unbound by time zones, geography or borders. They will draw on the dynamics of team play to evolve new ideas and solutions. And, they will be paid well for high productivity-to think in original ways and create products tuned to the torrent of cultural and economic change that marks this century.

In their January 2011 report, the Achievement Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee addressed more than measurements of academic performance. The Committee sent a clear message to citizens, educators and policymakers - enable K-12 schools to meet the unique educational needs of students from varied ethnic and racial backgrounds and make sure every student graduates with the skills necessary for college and a successful career.

  • Technology, used effectively, can smooth a teacher's progress from the traditional lesson plan and delivery to a learning experience that removes physical barriers to learning and differentiates content to address different learning styles. In this way, teachers can establish necessary equity among students whose cultural experience is not advantaged or not 100% American.
  • K-12 educational content as curricula and experience is moving online, operable, subject to rapid change, demanding interaction, and critical judgment. At the classroom level, the ability to create, collaborate and think critically with technology is in itself an important instructional outcome. Today, kids from safe, sufficient, and connected home environments will pull ahead - regardless of what K-12 schools offer. Children who grow up without these fundamentals will land in the achievement gap. They will continue to underperform. They will continue to drop out.
  • All students entrusted to public education must learn the basics of expression, creation, and collaboration in the online environment if they are to achieve. This can only begin with open access - access to the limitless exchange of ideas and store of electronic information that is the Internet. And it succeeds as teachers show kids how to participate, how to take on the responsibilities of their digital citizenship. First step - help schools to create systems that support highly effective instructional practices enriched by digital technologies.

Technology integration practiced well, is vital as are classrooms in which teachers create flexible learning environments able to accommodate individual learning differences. These environments conform to a universal design for learning, a blueprint with which educators create instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for every child - not one solution but many that integrate flexible approaches open to customization and adjustable to individual needs.

  • The learning sciences have been quick to take advantage of technology to create on-the-spot individualization of curricula, possible now in practical, cost-effective ways. A surprising side note: experts in the Universal Design for Learning field point out that the more we understand how particular technologies individuate learning, the more we see the potential of no- and low-tech options that achieve the same effect.
  • Technology has an inexhaustible flexibility-mechanically and creatively. Integrated into the classroom, technology becomes a multi-modal way to extend the teacher. Standards-based curriculum couples easily to a medium that unpacks the world and opens new channels through which students show what they know and can do; a medium in which personal learning style is not a barrier to learning. It is not a stretch to look at technology as an instructional partner in the classroom, an endlessly diverse and engaging collaborator that frees up time for one-to-one coaching and mentoring.
  • We know the Web is a tremendous teaching tool. As a collective of cultures and human experience, kids also experience a natural venue for, and acceptance of, diversity. Compelling personal narrative and the drama of history unfolding in real-time trump difference on the Web. Online, students become global nomads in search of ideas and evidence from which they can learn. For young digital citizens, the certain knowledge of their own equality is the windfall.