Learning powered by technology


Earlier this month, US Secretary Arne Duncan welcomed publication of the draft US National Education Technology Plan saying: "In the 21st century, students must be fully engaged. This requires the use of technology tools and resources, involvement with interesting and relevant projects, and learning environments – including online environments – that are supportive and safe."

This plan shares many similarities with Becta's Harnessing Technology strategy, the organisation claimed, focusing its actions on five areas:
Learning – engaging and empowering learning experiences
Assessment – assessing what matters and using data to improve
Teaching – teachers' access to data, content, resources, expertise and learning
Infrastructure – available for learning when and where learners and educators need it
Productivity – redesign of processes and structures to take advantage of technology.

Arne Duncan pointed to Manor High in Texas as a success story: "Manor New Tech High School opened, 50% of its teachers had taught for less than a year. Yet within its first year, 2008, Manor students out-performed the state average by 16% in science. In its third year, the gains continued, with a dropout rate of virtually zero and a 97% attendance rate. The class of 2010 will be the first graduating class, and all students are going on to postsecondary education. Manor's leaders credit their success to project-based learning and to full and integrated use of technology."