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The Daily Dish: Attendees Talk Education Technology At ISTE 2015

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June 30, 2015 03:12 pm


The Daily Dish digs deeper into one of the day’s top news stories on K–12 education. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed for all the latest updates and follow the Alliance on Twitter at @All4Ed for more education news.

Teachers, policymakers, educators, and others with an interest in technology in education have gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2015 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference & Expo. While technology is all the buzz among much of the conversations and workshops at ISTE, some in attendance are stressing the importance of other factors that contribute to successfully integrating technology into the classroom.

Ed Tech K-12’s D. Frank Smith summarized Sunday’s opening keynote from broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien, in which O’Brien asserted that educators should look at technology in the classroom as  “a means to an end — not an end itself.” Smith writes that during her speech, O’Brien explained to those in attendance that technology can “expand students’ horizons by immersing them in different vocational opportunities,” but those possibilities cannot happen without widening access.

Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel shared similar concerns over a persistent shortcomings in education technology that plague low-income and rural students during her address, naming the “Homework Gap” as the “cruelest part of our new digital divide.” As Education Week’s Benjamin Herold writes:

“The ed-tech community has reason for hope, however. Advocacy groups played a big role in the successful effort to increase by $1.5 billion the annual cap on the federal E-rate program, which helps subsidize telecommunications services and broadband for schools and libraries. Now, Rosenworcel said, the challenge is to move from improved connectivity in schools to expanded access at home.

A recent vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to restructure its Lifeline program, which Rosenworcel supports, could help to close the “Homework Gap” that exists for some students addressing the lack of internet connectivity many low-income students face at home. The restructure of the Lifeline program was not the only trending topic in education technology being discussed at ISTE.

Following O’Brien’s Sunday keynote, state and district digital learning policy and advocacy director at the Alliance for Excellent Education Tom Murray joined Chris Willig, School Group president for McGraw Hill Education, for a live Twitter chat to discuss what educators can do to make their schools Future Ready. During the chat, Willig tweeted the following from the official McGraw Hill Education in response to Murray’s question: “How can events like #ISTE2015 help schools advance their purposeful use of edtech to become #FutureReady?”

A1: Best thing to do is share best practices between educators; network; and connect. #FutureReady

— McGrawHill Education (@MHEducation) June 29, 2015

In Smith’s piece for EdTech K-12, Murray reiterated the important role of engagement among educators when it comes to the use of technology in schools. Smith quotes Murray as saying “Too often, districts are focused on the device” and that shifting focus on to teaching and learning is something educators – at ISTE and anywhere else – should consider.

ISTE 2015 continues through July 1 with a closing keynote from Josh Stumpenhorst, the 2011-12 Illinois Teacher of the Year.


Future Ready, The Daily Dish Blog

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