Here's a geography riddle that's not for faint-of-heart educators. In what country do elementary school students perform well in math and science compared with their counterparts worldwide, yet by the end of high school, drop to the bottom of the pack? Answer: the United States.
Microsoft Co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates highlighted those figures in a recent speech to our nation’s governors. While those stats aren’t breaking news, turning them around should be.
Don Knezek, CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based International Society for Technology in Education, thinks he might have a front-page answer: It’s the marketing message. Knezek believes that “there is a more convincing message that we can communicate to our population of young learners that says success in math, science and technology leads to economic success.” He might be on to something.
Perhaps the interest in those subjects is there, but the programs that would stimulate our students to delve deeper into those areas aren’t.
In our Summer 2005 edition, we take you behind the scenes at several schools where educators are putting technology prowess into the curriculum and challenging their tech-savvy students.
“Putting the Teen in IT ” on p. 34 documents the growing self-repair trend at schools across the country—particularly at schools with one-to-one computer ratios. The schools, rather than vendors, repair broken machines, which provides a boost to school budgets and improves repair turnaround times. Schools like Lausanne Collegiate have put another twist on these programs. At the Memphis, Tenn.-based technology-focused high school, students repair computers and provide help desk support in exchange for class credit.
Borrowing a page from TV Guide, numerous schools are teaching critical-thinking skills, along with a lot of math and science, through courses on forensics. Parlaying the popularity of TV shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation helps. You’ll find the details on p. 69.
For more about Ed Tech’s exclusive interview with Knezek on overcoming the hurdles to technology leadership, turn to p. 74. The interview is part of a new section in Ed Tech called Administrative Assistance.
In this section, we cover three other topics that are critical to administrators: integrating technology into the curriculum, using tech tools to improve reading skills and developing an IT advisory council. Each of these topics will continue to crop up in the discussions and strategic plans of administrators across the country as they grapple with the role technology should—and can—play in the classroom, coupled with the role that schools should play in generating career-ready students upon graduation.
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