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AND THE PLAN IS


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Besides having access to equipment, getting students and teachers using technology seamlessly is going to require more training and more planning, experts told Education World.

The Technology Counts report notes that technology access, plans, and utilization vary widely from state to state.

"The biggest problem is not money; its having the vision and leadership for what you want to do in education," Krueger told Education World. "We need to be clear about the mission and how technology can enable that mission. Transformation doesnt come from tools -- it comes from what tools enable you to do.

"There are all kinds of technology -- you need to start by asking what problems you have to solve -- then deciding what aspect of technology will help you solve it."

Differentiated instruction is a practice technology would make much easier, he added. "The goal should be to allow every kid to move at his or her own pace," Krueger said. "It lets us personalize instruction so kids focus on what they need. Thats when we see scores shoot through the roof."

Thinking needs to shift from what to buy to what has to be done, noted David Warlick, an education technology consultant, speaker, and author. "It is important that these tools, which I believe to be quite promising, are not merely the next new bandwagon to hop onto," he said. "It is about the collaborative nature of these tools, that they connect students to each other and to their curriculum in new ways, and that through the connections students can become better communicators. The emphasis must be on what lays just beneath the technology."

Some of those issues schools could be tackling are: Do we need Web sites for homework help? How do you use technology to make it easier for teachers and parents to communicate when both are at work at the same time? Krueger noted.

"I think that the focus needs to shift from that of the device, to that of the information that flows through the device," Warlick said. "It's not just technology that has changed in the last decade and a half. It's also information that has changed. Information is increasingly digital, networked, and overwhelming. In many environments, it is almost exclusively digital, networked, and overwhelming. This new shape that information has taken enriches what it means to be literate, and if students are not learning about and with these new information tools, then we are just preparing them for the 1950s."

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