National Education Technology Plan 2004
Tear Down Those Walls: The Revolution Is Underway
| "Education is the only business still debating the usefulness of technology. Schools remain unchanged for the most part, despite numerous reforms and increased investments in computers and networks." |
Rod Paige U.S. Secretary of Education
Walls – both physical and philosophical – have held back new, more creative and more effective uses of the Internet in schools.
Virtually every public school has access to the Internet.40 Yet in most schools, it is business as usual. Computers are enclosed in computer rooms rather than being a central part of the learning experience. Internet-savvy students are frustrated, as is well documented in the 2002 report, The Digital Disconnect: The Widening Gap Between Internet- Savvy Students and Their Schools.41
The problem is not necessarily lack of funds, but lack of adequate training and lack of understanding of how computers can be used to enrich the learning experience. The good news is that things are changing. States, localities and schools are creatively using existing resources to restructure money within their existing budgets to align technology with improved learning. These examples show the benefits of realizing efficiencies and results through systemic improvement. Creative new teaching models are emerging – frequently in smaller districts – that embrace technology to redesign curricula and organizational structures. As the following examples from across the country demonstrate, the results in educational achievement often have been significant. The restrictive walls of the past are being torn down and a transformation in teaching is underway.