A National Technology Plan
The big news at the National Educational Computing Conference this year is that a National Educational Technology Plan is being developed by the U.S. Department of Education with support from the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International, a nonprofit research organization (spearheaded by Linda Roberts, past Director of Technology for the U.S. Department of Education). This initiative will result in new guidelines for educational technology goals and policies.
Up through tomorrow, July 12, input on this plan is being solicited at https://edtechfuture.org
Reading through the discussions posted in the educational technology future goals website, raises the critical questions at the core of every response to winds of change: what are the needs that this movement is aiming to fix and what enhancements and improvements for student learning are targeted in the new guidelines? Another question that must be answered is what is the theoretical framework that is guiding the methods and strategies to be outlined in the new educational technology guidelines? As input is being requested now, here is what I recommend.
What’s the Target?
We all want improvements in student learning and expanded support for teacher professional development. Technology is not the solution, but it is a key vehicle for reaching these goals. The greatest gifts offered by technology are the tools of democracy, participation, and wide access to information flow it provides. In this current call for input, we see this at the federal level. School leaders and technology educators need to make sure this happens at the state and local decision-making level as well. The Government Innovators Network provides a portal for sharing ideas for ways to use technology to keep government policies connected to new technology affordances: http://www.innovations.harvard.edu/
I propose using the theoretical approach provided by multiple intelligences theory as outlined by Gardner at http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm. Table 1 below provides a list of the eight MI categories. The ultimate goal of multiple intelligence theory is to increase student understanding. Two key values of multiple intelligence (MI) theory are:
1. To legitimize the powerful and wide-reaching curricula many teachers have always delivered.
2. To systematize and broadcast the theory and methodology of an enriched curriculum.
More about MI and how it impacts teaching strategies and use of technology is available at:
• Thirteen Education http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/mi/exploration_sub1.html
• Multiple Intelligences http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/multiple_intelligences.htm
How Technology Can Help Teachers Address Several MI Categories in One Lesson
The Thirteen Ed website regarding MI theory provides a sample matrix showing how different teaching strategies integrate one or more MI categories. Having your students create a video, for example, can involve use of five different MI categories: Mathematical-Logical; Musical-Rhythmic; Verbal-Linguistic; Interpersonal and Visual-Spatial.
A recent comment on one of the EdTech Future discussions reinforces this idea:
I would add that I believe having pre-service teachers learn to make and use simple digital video for presenting content in a variety of ways is important. I find the major obstacle to teachers doing so is typically the belief that video is far more difficult than it actually is.
Last month I finished team-teaching a five-week intensive class at Long Island University I designed on educational video, the outline and assignments of which might be useful to other members of the group. You can find the schedule and description at the link below, and I\'m happy to share ideas with anyone interested.
The bottom line for me as an educator and life long learner is, let’s keep exploring, documenting, researching, and creating ways to integrate technology tools in ways that encourage and inspire student learning. Let’s make that a national priority.