Tuesday, June 28, 2005

EDC Reports - More from the US

The EDC released a report (warning it's a massive pdf) that has a number of recommendations for improving access to technology in schools. The first deals with design of digital resources including websites. Resources should be cross platform, easy to navigate, offer collaboration, be interactive and offer some customization for different learning styles. There is also a recommendation that the cost of the resources be considered as teachers don't have access to large amounts of funds (and from my personal experience, they always subsidize their own classrooms out of their own pocket). The second set deals with professional development (something dear to my heart). The PD should be interactive and applicable to the teacher's needs (eg if there is only one computer in the class, how to best user that one computer). The third set looks at technical and admin support. Admin should look to providing funding for technology to meet specific goals, ensuring that intermediate stages of development are also useful. Again, costs raise their head. Administration should look to ways of maximizing their local or regional resources. Admin also needs to understand that new tools mean new ways of learning. These new methods may not always fit the traditional educational ideas. The last recommendation looks at research, suggesting that it should be long term, exploratory and linked to specific contexts and questions. It also suggests that the sampling of individuals involved in research should include the support individuals as well as teachers.