EMERGING CONSENSUS ON NEED
FOR TECHNOLOGY LITERACY CHALLENGE
Educators, business people, parents and students all agree that integrating
technology into classrooms curricula will increase the educational achievement
of the nations K-12 students. In the last several months, a number of reports
have confirmed this fact:
Recently, the President's Advisory
Council on the National Information Infrastructure (NIIAC), composed of 36
distinguished Americans and co-chaired by Ed McCraken, Chairman and CEO of
Silicon Graphics and Delano Lewis, President and CEO of National Public Radio,
concluded in its report, KickStart Initiative: "that the children
educated in this country can learn more and that technology can be the key to
higher levels of achievement." The KickStart Initiative collected
an impressive set of empirical data, and reported:
Improved Outcomes. Technology supporting instruction improved
student outcomes in language arts, math, social studies and science;
More Effective Teaching. Multimedia instruction -- compared to more
conventional approaches -- produced time savings of 30 percent, improved
achievement and cost savings of 30 to 40 percent, and a direct positive link
between the amount of interactivity provided and instructional effectiveness;
Higher Scores. Gains of 80 percent for reading and 90 percent for
math when computers were used to assist in the learning process for remedial and
low-achieving students, and;
Less Expensive. Computer-based instruction was a less expensive
approach to raise math scores than peer tutoring, adult tutoring, reducing class
size, and increasing the length of the school day.
McKinsey and Company. McKinsey and Company, one of
the world's top management consulting firms, examined the costs and investments
required to enable schools to integrate all four pillars into America's schools
by the year 2000. McKinsey found that:
More Computers Are Needed. There are currently, on average, only 14
multimedia-capable computers per K-12 school. This works out to one computer
for every 38 kids. These averages can be misleading because computers are not
distributed evenly across schools.
Networks Need To Be Established. While up to 50 percent of schools
have already installed local area networks, less than 10 percent of these
networks connect computers in all classrooms; most just connect administrative
computers or a few classrooms.
More Investment Is Needed. They estimate that the share of school's
budgets going to one of the four pillars must increase from its current 1.3
percent to as much as 4 percent to achieve the full potential of information
There Is No Formula For Using Technology In The Classroom. There is
no one fixed prescription for integrating information technologies into daily
learning in classrooms. Local innovation and private sector ingenuity may
continue to lead to even more powerful new applications of information
technologies in the years ahead.
Coordination Is Necessary. The full potential of the technological
transformation in schools will be realized only if teachers, parents and
administrators, and the learning resources available throughout each community
and the world actually work together to make the new information technologies a
real "kickstart" for improved learning by students.
Education Leaders Agree. Numerous other reports agree that we can
bring the same spirit of innovation and technological advance that has already
made our workplaces the most advanced in the world in the new information age to
every classroom in America. These reports were published by:
The National School Boards Association;
The Council of Chief State School Officers;
The National Education Association; and
The American Federal of Teachers.
Business Leaders Agree. For the past twelve months, the President
and Vice President have been meeting with business, education, parent, and
student leaders to discuss how to improve teaching and learning for all students
through new information technologies. The meetings have included:
Roundtable discussions at the White House;
Visits to schools and interactive learning centers in local communities;
Work with NIIAC on their findings and recommendations for connecting
America's communities to the information superhighway.
In meetings with the President last September and October -- along with
another meeting just this week -- business leaders have applauded the
Administration's Technology Literacy Challenge. They believe that nothing is
more critical for the future of our country than enabling our children to learn
new basic skills, and nothing has more potential for providing them with this
competitive edge than applying the full potential of information technologies to
improve student learning in every classroom in America. Here is some of what
these leaders have said on education and technology:
Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney:
"I share with everybody here the enthusiasm for a public-private
partnership to enhance education, enhance educational tools, and create an
exciting new curriculum for our schools."
Jerry Levin, CEO of Time-Warner:
"For those of us who are operating in the digital domain... what
this really means is a commitment on the part of the Administration, and
certainly by the private sector, to bring about a real pedagogical revolution...
Most of all [this is about] making the student the central architect of his or
her education in a way we haven't seen before... You will find the private
sector, and all of the companies here, totally committed to this effort."
Ed McCraken, Chairman and CEO of Silicon Graphics:
"Research studies and anecdotal evidence from pioneering schools
show dramatic advances in learning with proper use of technology."
Louis Gerstner, Chairman of IBM:
"Technology has transformed the American workplace. It can also
transform classrooms and the way schools operate."
Bill Gates, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation:
"The [information] highway will alter the focus of education from
the institution to the individual."
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