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Enhancing Education Through Technology (II-D-1&2)

Purpose

Technology can be used to enhance curricula and engage students in learning. In addition, the job market increasingly demands technology skills for new workers. Research has indicated that a digital divide in terms of technology access and use exists between students in high-poverty schools and students in other schools. For example, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2000, while the overall ratio of students-to- instructional computers with Internet access was 7- to-1, in high-poverty schools the ratio was 9- to-1 compared to 6-to-1 in low-poverty schools. Similarly, in 2000, 60 percent of classrooms in high-poverty schools were connected to the Internet compared to 82 percent of classrooms in other schools. Even as technology becomes more ubiquitous in classrooms, teachers' preparation to use technology for teaching lags behind access to technology. In 2000, only 27 percent of teachers reported that they were fully prepared to integrate technology in their instruction. Seventy-seven percent of subgrantees of the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund--the predecessor program to the Educational Technology State Grants Program, which also targeted high-poverty districts--reported that professional development was a primary use of program funds in 2000.

The principal goal of the Educational Technology State Grants Program is to improve student academic achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools. It is also designed to assist every student in becoming technologically literate by the end of eighth grade and to encourage the effective integration of technology resources and systems with teacher training and professional development to establish research-based instructional models. The program targets funds primarily to school districts that serve concentrations of poor students.

WHAT'S NEW--The No Child Left Behind Act

Focuses on What Works

  • Emphasizes implementation of proven strategies by requiring participating districts to base the strategies they use for integrating technology into curricula and instruction on reviews of relevant research.
  • Supports high-quality professional development activities by requiring that at least 25 percent of funds received by districts be used for high-quality professional development in the integration of technology into instruction.
  • Mandates a national study to examine the conditions under which technology is effective in increasing student achievement and the ability of teachers to teach.

Reduces Bureaucracy and Increases Flexibility

  • Provides more flexibility in state uses of funds by allowing support for activities such as interstate distance learning partnerships, performance-management systems, and public-private partnerships.

Increases Accountability for Student Performance

  • Setting of goals for using technology to improve student achievement that are aligned with challenging state academic standards is required of state education agencies (SEAs) and school districts.

Improves the Academic Performance of Disadvantaged Students

  • Targets competitive subgrants to high-need districts that (1) are high-poverty and (2) serve at least one low-performing school or have a substantial need for assistance in acquiring and using technology.

How It Works

The Educational Technology State Grants Program awards formula grants to states. States may use up to 5 percent of their Educational Technology State Grants Program funds for state-level activities. States must distribute half of the remaining funds by formula to school districts based on each district's share of funds under Part A of Title I and the other half to high-need districts or partnerships including high-need districts on a competitive basis. Under the Educational Technology State Grants Program, high-need districts are those that (1) are high-poverty and (2) serve at least one low-performing school or have a substantial need for technology.

The program supports improved student academic achievement through the use of technology in schools by supporting high-quality professional development; increased access to technology and the Internet; the integration of technology into curricula; and the use of technology for promoting parental involvement and managing data for informed decision-making. Districts are required to spend 25 percent of the funds they receive on professional development, though a state may exempt a district that demonstrates already provides high-quality professional development in the integration of technology. In addition, the program will support national activities for disseminating information regarding best practices and providing technical assistance to states and districts and a rigorous, long-term study of the conditions and practices under which educational technology improves teaching and learning.

Key Requirements

SEAs must have state technology plans that include state goals for the use of technology and the strategies the state will use to prepare teachers to use technology. States also must provide technical assistance in developing applications to high-poverty districts and use accountability measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the Educational Technology State Grants Program. States as well as districts may use program funds to develop performance-measurement systems for tracking their progress. Districts also must have local long-range strategic educational technology plans to be eligible for formula or competitive grant funding.

How It Achieves Quality

The program emphasizes using both proven and innovative strategies for the use of technology. Specifically, the Educational Technology State Grants Program focuses on using technology to support improved curricula, instruction and, ultimately, student achievement by making available the resources necessary for integrating technology into the instructional program. This includes funds for Internet connections and services, professional development for teachers, and technology applications. Districts may participate in the Educational Technology State Grants Program by forming partnerships or consortia with other organizations, other districts, universities, and public-private initiatives that have been effectively using technology or have expertise in applying educational technology in instruction.

How Performance Is Measured

Participating SEAs and school districts must develop accountability measures for assessing how effective the Educational Technology State Grants Program is in supporting the integration of technology into curricula and instruction, increasing the ability of teachers to teach with technology, and enabling students to meet challenging state standards. In addition, the Department will conduct an independent study to identify the conditions under which technology increases student achievement and teachers' ability to teach with technology improves.

Key Activities For The State Education Agencies

States are responsible for implementing their state technology plans, including tracking progress according to the goals and accountability measures in their plans.

Districts applying for the Educational Technology State Grants Program must describe how they will use Educational Technology State Grants Program funds, including how they will promote the implementation of technology to improve student academic achievement and teacher effectiveness. States must provide technical assistance to high-poverty districts that demonstrate need for assistance in developing applications.


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Last Modified: 09/14/2007