The Board of Education Advisory Councils
Educational Technology Advisory Council
Vision and Goal Statement
By the year 2014, all schools in the Commonwealth have technology-infused environments for teaching and learning for all students across all disciplines and programs. Students, staff and faculty use state of the art technology to discover, create, evaluate, and communicate and are able to do that because they have universal access anytime anywhere through wireless portable equipment.
Schools are linked technologically to other educational institutions, to communities and to the world. The infrastructure, which is invisible, enables the academic uses of technology by providing management and other support functions including preservice training, professional development and student assessment. Schools evaluate educational initiatives, monitor, and manage progress toward tactical / operational and strategic goals through the utilization of data warehousing and data analysis tolls to perform short term and longitudinal data analysis.
ETAC states its goals as answers to the question: Why technology in schools in Massachusetts?
To teach students the skills and competencies they will need to succeed in the 21st century economy and broader society.
There is hardly a business person today, from cobbler to CEO, from architect to publisher, who does not require and depend on technology in some form to be competent, productive, creative, competitive and profitable. We live in a diverse community and a continually shrinking globe. Students must be prepared for that kind of a world. Students must exhibit sensitivity, understanding, and knowledge; not intolerance, prejudice and ignorance.
In all sectors of society, the instruments of technology have become essential to research, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, create, and communicate. Massachusetts' students must be prepared to use these instruments in learning science, mathematics and the humanities and how to succeed in a global society facilitated by technology.
Students will be able to do research on the web, evaluate web resources and demonstrate other skills for the 21st century workplace. They will be able learn new skills and gain extensive new knowledge online, enabling them to tackle new disciplines and deal with situations and problems that we currently cannot even imagine. Today's students will likely change careers several times over their lifetimes, making self-learning an essential skill.
To empower students to construct knowledge; to give students power over their own learning; to be independent learners.
Implementing technology in schools empowers students to become active learners. In technology facilitated learning environments, learning how to learn becomes a new objective for student development and learning how to teach with and through technology becomes more important in teacher preparation and professional development. ETAC must help educators to build a robust technology infrastructure and implement it effectively so that students will be able to research on the web, evaluate what they find, and demonstrate other skills necessary in the 21st century workplace.
Students can access information without any obstacles. Students can tailor their studies, that is, learn through their strengths and accommodate for their weaknesses. In the end there may not be strengths or weaknesses any more--only differences. Students can find their learning style. They can be active learners. They can also be creative individuals as well as innovative individuals. Technology is clearly a tool which encourages both creativity and innovation.
To teach students responsibility
Technology facilitated education, active student learning, and globalization carry rewards and risks. Teaching students the distinction between public and private information, to respect the rights of others whether they are visible or not, to understand that anonymity online is an illusion and that using technology has consequences both to people and the environment are new challenges that we must help schools to meet.
In order to preserve the democratic nature of the Internet students need to know right from wrong and helpful from harmful uses of technology. Students must understand that doing the right thing with technology is what a free society needs to grow and thrive in a global society. Students must understand technology literacy and develop a clear understanding of cyber-ethics.
Because students can access enormous amounts information with few obstacles, they must learn how to be responsible users of information and have a social conscience. They must learn the proper balance between commercialism and public policy.
To expand faculty teaching repertoires
With technology, faculty can organize their classes differently than they do currently: use the web, interact on line, and provide instruction from a distance. Teachers can construct their lessons to provide differentiated instruction and varied learning activities to match student learning styles and student needs to instructional techniques.
Technology has created a vast new landscape of teaching and learning potential both in and out of schools. Teaching with technology creates many new opportunities for differentiated instruction that meet the needs of all students, regardless of ability. Teachers need to assume more responsibility for the selection and creation of technology-based resources and provide guidance in their use and the evaluation of student work. With technology such as MassONE, teachers can access world-wide resources and personnel through the Internet, which are not available in many classrooms. Educators can improve their teaching skills through online coursework and tutorials; students can take classes not available in their schools.
No reform currently under consideration, including No Child Left Behind, can be achieved without technology. Time and learning, professional development, re-licensure, common core, curriculum frameworks, professional standards, statewide databases, and site based management all require the use of technology.
To improve management.
Computer and other technology resources are powerful instruments for measurement, data collection, sharing and analysis. ETAC recommends that educators have access to these instruments and know how to use them effectively and responsibly so that they become a source for improving education and realizing human potential for good in a free society. Data warehouses, data analysis tools, integrated information systems along with experiences and longitudinal data from research are all easily accessed and easily interrelated for the purposes of analysis and decision-making. Mobile technologies, including wireless handheld devices, smart phones etc, provide connectivity and information availability at all times. Technology provides powerful instruments that school leaders must be able to utilize effectively in order to improve productivity and management in schools.
To set standards for student, teacher and administrator use of technology.
ETAC supports the development of standards for technology use at all levels. These standards describe the physical and human resources necessary to harness technology in support of learning objectives and define the skills and competencies necessary to teach and to learn in the 21st century. It must also work to set the use of technology in service to the goals of improving student capacity for reasoned thought in the context of American democracy so essential to the founding and ongoing purpose of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.