NEWTON, MA | March 8, 2003
EDC’s Center for Children and Technology (CCT) and The Benton Foundation today released their latest report: The Sustainability Challenge: Taking Edtech to the Next Level.
In the last 10 years, the United States has invested over $40 billion placing computers in schools and connecting classrooms to the Internet; the report cautions that this massive investment in educational technology, or edtech, may be at risk.
The Sustainability Challenge outlines a number of critical next steps that are needed to sustain America’s edtech infrastructure and insure that this investment helps support student achievement. The report offers a “Sustainability Top Ten List” of reforms necessary for insuring that the nation’s edtech investments do not go to waste. The list includes:
- Accelerating teacher professional development
- Professionalizing technical support
- Ensuring all Americans have 21st Century Skills
- Adopting a new national goal to bridge the home and community digital divides
The report demonstrates that school districts that have implemented successful and sustainable edtech strategies have certain elements in common. “In these districts, for example, educational leaders have articulated a clear vision for technology’s role in the classroom,” Margaret Honey of CCT noted. “Their schools offer educators professional development that goes beyond basic skill-building, and is available for teachers when it is most relevant and critical to their teaching.” The full report presents these and other key building blocks in a “framework for sustainability.”
Highlighting survey data in which tech-savvy students said that most of their computer use and learning took place at home, The Sustainability Challenge also points out the growing need for all students to have home Internet access. The report challenges policymakers to embrace the goal that all students on reduced and free lunch subsidies should have access to a computing device and Internet connection at home.
The findings in The Sustainability Challenge were based on fieldwork in three midwestern cities and a series of roundtables held in New York, Chicago and Washington, DC. The project was supported with a generous grant from the Joyce Foundation of Chicago. The report is the third in a series focusing on federal edtech investments, including The E-Rate in America: A Tale of Four Cities and Great Expectations: Leveraging America’s Investment in Educational Technology.