News and Trends(13)

from Technology & Learning

New studies, reports, and proposed legislation respond to a dearth of vision and practical uses of digital technology in schools.

Beyond "Beyond NCLB"

In the absence of a much-needed federal education technology plan, individual legislators are stepping up to the plate. U.S. Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) recently introduced House legislation dubbed INVENT: Innovations for our Nation's Vital Education Needs for Technology. The bill would establish a competitive grant program within the National Science Foundation to "develop tools to foster inventiveness and innovation" at the K-12 and undergrad levels. That includes a provision for creating an "appropriate supporting infrastructure, which should be fostered to enable teachers to utilize new teaching methods and materials." Honda, a member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, insists the legislation "will provide America's next generation of innovators the tools needed to keep America number one" in the technological field. So far, INVENT has received support from companies like HP and TechNet, venture capitalists, and (naturally) educators. Compared with the recent test data-focused "Beyond NCLB" report authored by No Child Left Behind co-chairs Tommy Thompson and Roy Barnes, INVENT is a practical and visionary breath of fresh air.

Eroding the Ivory Towers of Higher Ed

What's next on the horizon for the digital divide? It's pretty clear that higher education needs to tune in to the world of the digital native or risk being circumvented when it comes to learning. The fourth-annual "Horizon Report," sponsored by the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative, outlines six key trends of emerging tech that it expects will affect higher education in the next few years. Key points reinforce a growing generation-inspired divide, the major influence of Web 2.0 applications, and the need for student guidance from tech-savvy educators. Highlights include:

  • "The environment of higher education is changing rapidly"
  • "Information literacy increasingly should not be considered a given."
  • "Academic review and faculty rewards are increasingly out of sync with new forms of scholarship"
  • "Collective intelligence and mass amateurization are pushing the boundaries of scholarship."
  • "Students views of what is and what is not technology are increasingly different from those of faculty."