How is Educational Technology used in K-12 education?
Using Saddleback Valley Unified School District (in Mission Viejo, California) as an example, the Department of Technology Services consists of a Director of Information Services, a Coordinator of Educational Technology, and a Manager of Information Service Systems. In addition, there are several information service technicians, information service analysts, and a handful of computer analysts. Each school site has a Technology Coordinator, and a Computer Lab instructional aide. And of course, the personnel actually utilizing the educational technology consists of hundreds of teachers.
The district's latest curricular adoption, in science, was markedly different from the last science curriculum adopted seven years earlier. The actual textbook is quite small, and the publisher provides software and web-based multimedia resources which fully utilize technology.
The tools that come with the new curriculum include videos to explain abstract concepts, visual aids, interactive demonstrations, and web resources. In addition to tools that accompany the curriculum, teachers can access many tools marketed specifically to educators, such as United Streaming and Atomic Learning.
Gaming in Education
Another example was found in the Wall Street Journal, which reports this week that the nation's sixth-largest school district has adopted video game software to teach standards-based algebra. According to the Broward County Public Schools Director of Instructional Technology, "Students naturally like to learn through games, and the three-dimensional, virtual world format is deeply engaging. It's a high impact, motivating learning tool that greatly assists when teaching a complex subject like algebra." The Tabula Digita's DimensionM product series offers both single and multiplayer contemporary game formats which naturally encourage collaboration among students and provide automatic progress tracking for the teacher.
© 2008 San Diego State University, Jodi Kohler, Deborah Lawson, Diane Main, and Kimberly McCain-Correll