“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
The source of this quote knew all too well the obstacles blindness can present. But she didn’t let this physical limitation, which resulted from a childhood illness that also claimed her ability to hear, stop her from soaring personally and professionally. Helen Keller became a prolific author and outspoken political activist and was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in her lifetime.
When given the right support, students too can soar. The challenge for school leaders, of course, is making sure the curriculum and tools are both purposeful and productive.
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)’s Vision K-20 initiative furthers this cause by promoting the best uses of technology to ensure that all U.S. students have access to an environment that can prepare them to compete globally and to lead the world in innovation. Every year since 2008, the organization has surveyed the nation’s educational institutions, asking their leaders to self-report their progress toward building a framework that embraces technology and digital learning.
In addition to asking about the 37 benchmark statements that measure survey participants’ progress toward SIIA’s Vision K-20 goals and measures (see sidebar), the 2014 version asked about bring-your-own-device implementation in schools and institutional preparedness for online, summative assessments to see how schools are adapting to new technology options.
The findings of SIIA’s 2014 survey of nearly 1,000 educators representing all levels of K-20 education, released this week during the International Society for Technology in Education’s 2014 conference and expo, reveal that the ideal level of technology integration is significantly higher than current levels. Here are five highlights from the data:
K-12 respondents, who accounted for 88 percent of total respondents, were fairly evenly divided across grade levels: 27 percent work in elementary schools, 28 percent work in secondary schools, and the remaining 33 percent work in high schools.
Forty-nine percent of K-12 respondents work in schools that permit mobile devices, up from 46 percent in 2013. An additional 10 percent expect BYOD adoption within the next year, and 24 percent expect to see it within the next five years.
Across all K-12 and postsecondary participants, mobile devices are used most frequently in the classroom to access and research digital content online. The next most frequently cited reasons for using mobile devices in the K-12 classroom are to create content, develop skills, and communicate and collaborate.
The majority of K-12 respondents do not feel “highly prepared” for online, summative assessments: 42 percent say they have adequate bandwidth, and 36 percent say they have enough devices and other hardware for students.
Three-quarters of K-12 respondents say technology integration is highly important, but their current levels and ideal levels of integration do not align: Only 22 percent say their schools are already highly integrated.
The full report can be downloaded here.
The Dream Dozen
Seven educational goals represent the instructional and institutional outcomes enabled through technology and e-learning:
- Meet the personalized needs of all students
- Support accountability and inform instruction
- Deepen learning and motivate students
- Facilitate communication, connectivity and collaboration
- Manage the education enterprise effectively and economically
- Enable students to learn from any place at any time
- Nurture creativity and self-expression
Five technology measures, meanwhile, may indicate progress for technology and e-learning implementation toward the educational goals:
- Widely use 21st-century tools for teaching and learning
- Provide anytime/anywhere educational access
- Offer differentiated learning options and resources
- Employ technology-based assessment tools
- Use technology to redesign and enable the enterprise support