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Emerging Consensus on Need For Technology Literacy Challenge

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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:

KickStart Initiative. 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 technologies.

  • 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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Technology Literacy Challenge

Technology Improves Student Performance

Technology Literacy Challenge

Education Technology Roundtable

Changing Teaching and Learning

The Christopher Columbus Story

Remarks On Education Technology Initiative

Emerging Consensus for Technology