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ERIC Number: ED519463
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Maximizing the Impact: The Pivotal Role of Technology in a 21st Century Education System
Vockley, Martha
Partnership for 21st Century Skills
All students need a more robust education--and a refreshingly different kind of education--than most are getting today. The vision of learning individuals embrace focuses on teaching students to become critical thinkers, problem solvers and innovators; effective communicators and collaborators; and self-directed learners. This vision responds to the demand for citizens who are globally aware, civically engaged, and capable of managing their lives and careers, and for young people who are economically and financially literate and fluent in information, media and technology skills. Employers, educators and the public strongly believe that students need to be proficient in 21st century skills like these to succeed in a world that is constantly in flux. Creating a 21st century education system requires broad and intensive use of technology--and a strong technology infrastructure. Schools cannot possibly prepare students to participate in a global economy without making intensive use of technology. Two major obstacles are holding schools back in maximizing the impact of technology as a catalyst for improvement: (1) The use of technology in education is narrowly conceived. Right now, schools use technology primarily as a tool for developing students' computer and Internet skills. This is important, but technology proficiency is simply the point of entry to the digital world--and it is only a small sliver of the far-reaching utility of technology as a powerful enabling tool for a full range of essential knowledge and skills; and (2) The assumption that education already is using technology widely is unfounded. Despite federal, state and local investment in technology and Internet connectivity, most schools still use technology sparingly, rather than as a critical component of all educational operations. Right now, 100 million Americans have broadband access, 219 million Americans use cell phones and the personal computer penetration rate is 73 percent. To a wireless nation, which relies on technology for ordinary tasks and extraordinary achievements, it is shocking and inconceivable--but true--that technology is marginalized in the complex and vital affairs of education. To overcome these obstacles, the nation's education system must join the ranks of competitive U.S. industries that have made technology an indispensable part of their operations and reaped the benefits of their actions. This report is a call to action to integrate technology as a fundamental building block into education in three broad areas: (1) Use technology comprehensively to develop proficiency in 21st century skills; (2) Use technology comprehensively to support innovative teaching and learning; and (3) Use technology comprehensively to create robust education support systems. (Contains 7 resources and 14 endnotes.) [Funding for this paper was provided by the Education Networks of America and the Oracle Education Foundation.]
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. 1 Massachusetts Avenue NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-312-6429; Fax: 202-789-5305; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Pearson Foundation
Authoring Institution: Partnership for 21st Century Skills