Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Global Competition: U.S. Students vs. International Peers

The U.S. has been leading a movement of discussion about the importance of educational technology and 21st Century Skills that all students need. But several countries are doing a better job of preparing students with technology skills which means that US schools could fall behind other countries in using educational technology to improve K-12 schools.

Australia, Britain, China and South Korea have launched plans to make sure students will know how to effectively use technology for learning and work. Developing countries such as India are making financial commitments to ensure that technology skills are taught in schools.

What makes the difference between U.S. students and international students? According to the article U.S. students know how to use cellphones, computer applications and multimedia equipment but they are not being taught to think critically about what they present, how to analyze content or how to employ tools for specific tasks and problems. Students are not receiving consistent, engaging, comprehensive instruction in how to apply technologies to the kinds of assignments given in schools or the workplace.

According to Donald G. Knezek schools need to instill critical thinking, analytical and technology skills as well as creativity, collaboration and communication into the curriculum. According to the article many states in the US have become more deliberate in infusing technology into the curriculum since the No Child Left Behind Act but states have been left to figure out how to reach this goal. How can schools help students gain “technology literacy”? How can schools engage students to use technology for more than Web research or as a presentation tool?

Here are several sources of information for teachers:
ISTE’s Educational Technology Standards for Students

Partnership for 21st Century Skills – Framework for 21st Century Learning

Intel Education Programs and Resources

Benefits of Technology Literacy Projects

Teachers: Content Literacy

Article from Digital Directions - June 16, 2009

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