Moonshots In Education: Launching Blended Learning in the Classroom by Esther Wojcicki and Lance Izumi

Part II – 15. An Overview of Digital Education in America by Lance Izumi

  • Digital learning gives students some control over time, place, path and/or pace. Teachers are still essential, but their roles change. Many students attend online schools full-time. So far five states require students to have digital-learning knowledge and skills and three other states recommend it. The federal government has a goal of providing all students with a comprehensive infrastructure for learning. The digital divide caused by the fact that about 30% of children lack a computer and Internet access at home is the biggest concern. While California emphasizes giving students and teachers the opportunity to experiment with technology, this is not common in US schools.

16. An Overview of Teacher Training in Digital Education in the US by Lance Izumi

  • The bottom line here is that credential programs are failing to prepare incoming teachers for the digital-education revolution. The National Education Technology Plan NETP) has a goal to connect teachers to the tools, resources, experts, and peers so they can be effective and provide them the necessary support. The NETP is also calling for an overhaul of teacher-preparation programs. Teachers need to become comfortable with chaos as students are engaged in different activities, analyze and use the information they find, support students learning different things, realize most of their time will be with individuals and small groups, understand the benefits of team teaching, and explore and select from a variety of online tools.
  • A typical approach for universities is to tack on a technology course that may or may not be required. The best some schools can do is hire adjuncts as they are unlikely to have any faculty member who has ever taught a blended learning course. Student teaching is also a problem as it is unlikely student teachers will be placed with master teachers who are skilled in the use of technology. One promising trend involves masters programs dedicated to instructional technology. Lance offers a number of examples along with course descriptions and standards. It’s time for leaders and policymakers to set a new course.

17. How Other Countries Are Training Teachers in Digital Education by Lance Izumi

  • Generally speaking teacher education is a confused mess worldwide. Many governments have documents with the right visions regarding technology integration, but such documents generally have little impact. Most students have richer experiences with the use of technology outside of school than in class. Teachers tend to be skilled with technology, but they are unable to apply it to their teaching. Several countries appear to be ahead of the pack. Lance gives some details about what is happening in South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Finland, and the UK. These seem to places with top-down expectations have been put in place. These are things that individual states could do, but they would be difficult for the federal government to implement.

Conclusion

  • In spite of the barriers, the authors remain excited and optimistic that we can move educational practice into the 21st century. The status quo was developed to prepare students to work in factories rather than our current world that we cannot even conceptualize. We have the tools to teach kids how to think rather than how to follow directions. We need to move forward, which will require risks in order to make learning exciting and relevant for all students.

Esther Wojcicki and Lance Izumi

  • Esther has taught at Palo Alto High School since 1984, where she currently teaches journalism and English. There she began the journalism program which has grown to become one of the largest in America. She has worked as a professional journalist for multiple publications and blogs regularly for The Huffington Post. She has received many top awards and serves key positions in several high profile organizations. She has a B.A. in English and Political Science from University of California, Berkeley as well as a graduate degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Berkeley. She has an advanced degree in French and French History from the Sorbonne, and both a Secondary School Administrative Credential and an M.A. in Educational Technology from San Jose State University.[
  • Lance is a Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy. He is the author and co-author of several critically acclaimed books and the author of numerous major Pacific Research Institute studies. He holds a Juris doctorate from the University of Southern California School of Law, a master of arts degree in political science from the University of California, Davis, and a bachelor of arts degree in economics and history from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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