Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A couple political changes to keep track of

Economic stimulus funding and a larger budget for the U.S. Department of Education are creating a "fertile environment" for the growth of technology use in K-12 schools, according to a report released this year from Simba Information. ("More and More Educators Turning to Technology in the Classroom", Earth Times)

In May of this year, Sens. Kerry, Rockefeller, and Snowe introduced the "21st Century Skills Incentive Fund Act" into the Senate. The bill recognizes that, in order to prepare students for the modern workforce, "students need 21st century content, beyond the traditional core subjects, that includes global awareness, financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy, civic literacy, and health and wellness awareness" and education must teach "critical thinking and problem solving skills, communication skills, creativity and innovation skills, collaboration skills, contextual learning skills, and information and media literacy skills."

Also, announced today, former Apple Executive and educator, Karen Cator, was appointed to head the educational technology initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education. This appointment is very exciting as she will bring "a passion for the potential of technology to improve teaching and learning" (Education Week). She plans to capitalize on the federal funding for educational technology to put new tools to use to improve teaching and learning.

As bureaucracy and orders from top down can often be what stops overhauls and changes in their tracks, the entrepreneurial executive, legislative, and financial support coming from the top will no doubt help create, feed, and support major changes as they are put into effect.

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