Technology + Online + Industry + Partnerships

Tech Adoption Still a Work in Progress

New research shows mixed results in K-20's effort to achieve technology-integrated instruction.

In BriefAmerica's schools, colleges, and universities are making limited progress toward providing technology-rich environments for students. According to the results of a benchmark study released recently at the 2009 National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in Washington, DC, schools improved most over the last year in the area of broadband adoption, but are still weak in the use of technology for assessments and creating educational equity.

The findings are part of a survey from the Software & Information Industry Association's (SIIA) Vision K-20 initiative, an effort to "ensure that all students have access to a teaching and learning environment capable of preparing them to compete globally and lead the world in innovation." The annual project consists of questions that address 21st-century learning, differentiated instruction, mobile/online access, assessment tools, enterprise support, and demographics. The survey is meant to be used as a benchmarking tool for individual institutions, as well as a means to aggregate data for SIIA's national report. Results from the survey indicate the progress that schools are making toward the goal of 100 percent adoption and effective use of technologies in the surveyed areas.

This year's findings were mixed. They showed that, in general, higher education is further along than K-12 in various measures. Across the board, the areas of greatest progress were high-speed broadband access and the use of web portals to enhance learning and communications. But the strongest areas overall, both at 70 percent adoption, were the use of technology to support the enterprise and to facilitate communication and collaboration. The lowest score went to the use of technology-based assessments, at 46 percent.

Overall, between the 2008 and 2009 surveys, educational institutions improved in 17 of the survey's 20 measures. However, there was only a 1-point improvement in their aggregate score: from 61 percent adoption in 2008 to 62 percent in 2009.

"These are extremely challenging times for education, making it even more critical for institutions to use technology to achieve their educational goals and outcomes," said Karen Billings, vice president of the SIIA Education Division, in a statement. "SIIA calls on education leaders and public officials to increase support for, and adoption of, innovative technology-based and online educational models needed to meet the needs of today's digital-native learners and prepare them for the digital knowledge economy."

Further information about the Vision K-20 initiative and survey can be found here. To find this article in its entirety, visit here on the T.H.E. Journal website.

Green Spot

HONEYWELL OFFERS NEW SUSTAINABILITY SERVICES

Honeywell, an energy services and technology provider, has rolled out a spate of new services designed to help schools and companies meet their sustainability goals. Among these new services is customized training for customers to keep their staff informed about environmental initiatives and get them involved in efforts to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Honeywell is also offering sustainability education services for schools, including sustainability curriculum development, and guidance on using school buildings as tools for teaching green concepts, from leveraging renewable energy to calculating carbon footprints.

CANON TO PLANT TREES FOR EVERY PRINTER PURCHASED

Digital-imaging solutions provider Canon USA has announced that it will plant 10 trees through the Arbor Day Foundation for every factory-certified ImageRunner-- models 3300E/EN and 5000E/EN-- purchased through Dec. 13. This effort adds to Canon's existing relationship with the Arbor Day Foundation, formed through a program to plant trees for the company's Generation Green product line. For more information, visit here.

:: Awards & Contests

In BriefADOBE HONORS SCHOOLS WITH INNOVATION AWARDS. Adobe Systems honored the winners of its 2009 Adobe School Innovation Awards during the recent National Education Computing Conference (NECC). For this year's "The World Is Your Stage" theme, students submitted more than 430 digital-media projects across three categories to be judged on their originality and effectiveness in communicating project objectives. The Best of the Best award was presented to Xizi Chen, Elizabeth Carp, Stephanie Yang, and Qiuling Zakaroff from Bergen County Academies, a public vocational high school in Hackensack, NJ, for their web-based story about a photographer and a city, titled "The Mannis Project-- Jens' Adventure," which also won for Web Design and Development. The Bergen County team received its choice of Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium, Design Premium, or Production Premium software, and a 30-seat license of the Adobe CS4 Master Collection for its school. To view the entry and the winners in the categories of Film and Video, and Graphic and Print Design, visit here.

AWARD RECOGNIZES CLASSROOM-LIBRARY COLLABORATION. Winners of the International Society for Technology in Education's (ISTE) Media Specialist Technology Innovation Award, which honors innovative technology projects created through collaboration between K-12 teachers and media specialists, have been announced for all three grade levels:

  • Elementary school. Karen Kliegman and Noel Forte from Searingtown Elementary School in Albertson, NY
  • Middle school. Lindsay Cesari and Patrick Donahue from Theodore R. Durgee Junior High School in Baldwinsville, NY
  • High school. Belinda O'Brien, Susan Casement, and Cindy Rubenstein from Minerva DeLand School in Fairport, NY

The annual award is sponsored by ISTE's Special Interest Group for Media Specialists, Follett Software Company, and Linworth Publishing's Library Media Connection magazine. Each winning team received $1,000 toward its school's media center; $500 to attend NECC 2009, held recently in Washington, DC; a one-year standard ISTE membership; a commemorative plaque; $1,000 in professional library resources from Linworth Publishing; and a one-year subscription to Library Media Connection.

:: Industry News

In BriefDISCOVERY LAUNCHES CURRICULUM ALIGNMENT SERVICE. Discovery Education has announced that Dale Fulton, its senior vice president of curriculum development, will lead a team dedicated to helping school districts integrate digital content into daily instruction. The team, which will consist of a nationwide network of experts in several subjects, will comb Discovery Education's vast library of digital resources-- including videos, images, audio files, virtual labs, articles, assessments, and more-- to find the ideal content to align with district pacing guides and curricula. By combining content, alignment, assessment, and professional development tools, the company aims to present a comprehensive, flexible, and costeffective solution that's comparable in scope to traditional textbooks.

TABULA DIGITA OFFERS FREE SCIENCE GAMES. Tabula Digita, developer of award-winning DimensionM educational video games for math learning, has released League of Scientists, a free, online science game series for students in grades 3 to 5. Students create their own avatars to play the series' four multiplayer games, and with each correct answer collect points that can be redeemed to create virtual science labs. Tabula Digita partnered with ISTE to develop standards-aligned content for the games, which were created to help increase engagement and achievement in science among young learners.

CASIO INCLUDES TUTORING SESSION WITH CALCULATOR PURCHASE. Casio America has joined with online tutoring provider TutorJam to offer students a free, 45-minute tutoring session with any Casio calculator purchase. Through TutorJam, trained educators provide one-on-one help in areas ranging from understanding math concepts to homework help and exam prep over a secure e-learning platform. To book a free session, students should visit www. tutorjam.com/Casio and sign in with their Casio calculator information.

This article originally appeared in the 8/1/2009 issue of THE Journal.

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