Chaired By: Rep. George Miller
Witnesses: Jennifer Bergland, Chief Technology Officer, Bryan Independent School District, Bryan, Texas; Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer, White House Office For Science And Technology; Wayne Hartschuh, Executive Director, Delaware Center For Educational Technology; Scott Kinney, Vice President, Discovery Education; John Mcauliffe, General Manager, Educate Online Learning Llc; Abel Real, Student, East Carolina University; Lisa Short, Science Teacher, Gaithersburg Middle School, Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland
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REP. MILLER: A quorum being present, the committee will come to order. I want to welcome everybody to this morning's hearing.
This is the first in a series of hearings on the future of learning. In this economy, it is more important than ever to ensure that every student in every classroom has the opportunity to grow, thrive, and achieve to their fullest potential. This is becoming increasingly important as our competitiveness abroad has shifted.
Several years ago, Speaker Pelosi asked us to come together around an innovation agenda. We went to Stanford University and talked to the best in the high-tech, biotech and venture capital fields. We talked about innovation and discovery, believing that discovery and innovation are really the only sustainable sources of economic growth in the world today.
What evolved from these conversations was an interesting definition of the kind of person employers would want to bring to their companies. They want workers who can work across companies, across countries, and across the continents. They want the most diverse workforce in history to assemble solutions to emerging problems stemming from the most diverse client base in history.
Unfortunately, this does not sound like what we're preparing today's kindergarten students to participate 16 years from now or even 12 years from now. This is not today's education system in America. But to quote Secretary Duncan, we now face the opportunity of a lifetime to work with our schools and other partners to build an education system that benefits students, families, our economy, our -- and our country for generations to come.
For quite some time, I've been cataloging all the reports that acknowledge that we're running an industrial-based education system for an agrarian society on an agrarian clock. You might not believe me, but it's been very interesting. It acknowledges a fundamental mismatch that we haven't paid much attention to other than a rather clever anecdote from time to time acknowledging that fact.
Today's students use technology in almost everything they do. From the moment they wake up from the digital alarm clocks, listening to their iPods as they walk to school, communicating with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, or sharing information on YouTube they are used to customizing their worlds at the click of a computer. But for school today -- for far too many kids does not look like the rest of their world. It does not capitalize on technology's potential to engage students and to improve learning.
One critical element of learning in the future must be to provide technology-rich classrooms for all students. Research shows that when technology is systemically integrated into classrooms and used by digitally-savvy staff, it can improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement, and reduce the dropout rate. And as my grandkids tell me, it makes school a lot more fun. We call that engagement. Take, for example, the Stephen F. Austin Middle School in Bryan, Texas where the students were given laptops to help integrate technology tools into their daily instruction. This led to an improvement in student achievement in both math and reading. In the 7th grade alone, reading scores increased by 13 percent and math scores by 14 percent.
At Dionne Warwick Institute in East Orange, New Jersey, 4th and 5th grade students wrote and recorded educational raps about civil rights leaders for a black history project. This project also helped them demonstrate their understanding of math strategies and concepts. Students who participated in these projects saw their math scores increase by an average of 9.6 points and social studies scores increase by 9.4 (points).
It seems to me that if technology can substantially increase student engagement, raise student achievement and graduation rates, and prepare our students for college and the workforce, then we must do everything we can do to support these types of innovation in our classroom.
But this is about more than just the future of our workforce. It's about the future of our democracy. The options, opportunities, and availability that technology can bring to the classroom must be available to everyone. And I am extremely encouraged that we expanded this access. We will make more progress in closing the achievement gap. I'm encouraged that we're taking steps in the right direction.
This Congress has already endorsed several important pillars of reform included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Program, particularly in Secretary Duncan's Race to the Top, which has unprecedented potential to shape the future of learning in our nation. It also included $650 million for educational technology state grants, and I believe this money can be well spent. In any industry, it's considered smart business planning to look to the future and how a company and the industry will change, grow, and adapt. If we are serious about creating world-class schools and regaining our competitive edge, then it's time we start thinking about education the same way.
Today's hearing will explore how innovation and technology are changing the way teachers teach and students learn. We will see firsthand how transformational power of technology can unleash the talents of our teachers and students so they will, in fact, be able to use discovery and innovation to assemble solutions to the problems that future generations will face.
I'd like to thank our witnesses for being here, and I look forward to your testimony.
Now I'd like to recognize Congressman Castle for the purpose of making an opening statement.
REP. MIKE CASTLE: Good morning. And thank you, Chairman Miller, for holding today's hearing.
I am pleased that the committee is exploring the timely issue of how technology is transforming our nation's public schools.
More often, people are using different technologies to gather and disseminate information. I believe that in today's technologically driven world, states and school districts throughout the country had the opportunity to use these new technologies to improve academic achievement and help America's children compete in a world where new technology is the norm, not a novelty.
In many instances, this is already happening in schools today. The International Society for Technology in Education and the Consortium for School Networking has studied the impact of technology in schools. They have found that technology can help students improve in reading, writing and math. Technology also can improve a student's critical-thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. Technology can help children with disabilities interact with their peers and better understand the subject matter. Adaptive technology can also provide accommodations for the assessment process giving these children the opportunity to learn and achieve and demonstrate their success just like everyone else in the class.
Children in remote and rural areas benefit from technology too. They are no longer limited to the few books available down the road at the county library. Through technology they now have access to all the libraries in the world right from their homes. And for children in rural communities whose schools are not making adequate yearly process, technology opens up a new world of tutoring options that were not available before the era of the Internet and interactive online learning. Technology makes more parental options available through supplemental education services under No Child Left Behind to students who might not otherwise have access to them simply because of geography.
But technology helps more than the students. Studies have shown that administrators can use technology to approve efficiency, productivity, and decision-making at their schools. Technology also helps teachers meet professional requirements so they are qualified in their subjects. They also can use networks to learn and share the latest teaching techniques. Even parents can benefit. Through Internet-based programs, they can monitor their children's attendance, homework and performance.
Technology is a wonderful and necessary addition to our schools, but it hasn't come for free. Over the years, Congress has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to schools to acquire and use technology, and that's before the additional funding provided in the recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In fact, in fiscal year 2009, the Education Technology State Grant program received approximately $270 million.
Technology can be a transformative force in our classrooms, and I am a strong supporter of innovative -- innovation and creativity. However, as we examine new technologies and hear from this distinguished panel of witnesses on how new technologies may be incorporated into the classroom to improve student achievement, we must remain mindful of these trying economic times, and ensure all federal funds for education technology serve a purpose and improve opportunities for students.
I look forward to learning about what's happening in classrooms at the cutting edge and hopefully exposing other educators to the types of tools and resources available. And of course I welcome the witnesses here today. And just a word of caution, a concern of mine is as we deal with technology, I worry that we get too far ahead of ourselves sometimes in terms of what's next instead of how to incorporate what's there to make sure it's working correctly. And hopefully we can address that today too.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman Miller. I yield back.
REP. MILLER: Thank you, and I'd like now to introduce our distinguished panel.
Aneesh Chopra is the nation's first chief technology officer. Prior to his appointment by President Obama, Mr. Chopra served as Virginia Science -- the secretary of technology under Governor Tim Kaine, where he led the strategy to effectively leverage technology and government reform.
Prior to joining Governor Kaine's cabinet, he served as the managing director of the Advisory Board Company, a publicly traded health care think tank. Mr. Chopra received his B.A. from John Hopkins University and graduated with a master's in public policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Lisa Short is currently a middle school science teacher in Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools. Ms. Short is successfully using interactive white boards to improve student engagement and student achievement through interactive science lessons that require students to demonstrate their comprehension of science content through technology tools. She teaches students through the diverse learning needs, including the English language learners.
Abel Real is a student in East Carolina University, where he is studying nursing. Prior to entering college, Mr. Real was a student in Green County, North Carolina, a rural community that uses technology in teaching core curricular areas to improve student achievement. His -- he credits the innovative instructional approaches that he was able -- exposed to in school in helping him to earn a college scholarship. He is the first in his family to attend a university.
Scott Kinney is the vice president of Outreach and Professional Development at Discovery Education. He manages a large portfolio of professional development efforts that also serves the education liaison for public policy. Mr. Kinney has co-authored multiple articles about use of technology as a tool to help differentiate instruction.
Jennifer Bergland is the chief technology officer at the -- at the Bryan Independent School District. Prior to becoming technology officer, Ms. Bergland spent 17 years teaching social studies. The Bryan Independent School District has recently -- was recently honored with the Consortium of School Networking team awards, which is presented each year to the district that has used technology to transform learning.
Ms. Bergland graduated from Bryan High School, received a B.A. in Political Science from Southern Nazarene University, a masters in Educational Administration from Texas A&M.
And, Mr. Castle, I believe, is going to introduce our next witness.
REP. CASTLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to welcome Dr. Wayne Hartschuh to the panel. Dr. Hartschuh is the executive director of the Delaware Center for Educational Technology within the Delaware Department of Education. He's also a member of the State Educational Technology Director's Association Board of Directors, currently serving as chair of the board.
Dr. Hartschuh originally came to Delaware in 1995 as the director of Instructional Technology at the Delaware Department of Public Instruction and moved to the Delaware Center for Educational Technology in 1996 as the chief education officer before becoming the executive director in 1998. In his time at the Delaware Department of Education, the Delaware Center for Educational Technology wired every public school classroom in the state of Delaware for Internet access between 1996 and 1998, making Delaware the first state in the nation to wire every classroom in the state.
For this effort, the Center received Computer World's Smithsonian award. Wayne has also received the Council of State Government's Innovations Award on behalf of DCET, which is the Delaware Center for Educational Technology.
Wayne has his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Arizona State University; his master's of science in school computer studies from Northwest Missouri State University; and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a specialty in educational media and computers from Arizona State University.
Prior to coming to Delaware, Wayne taught and coached at Buckeye Union High School in Buckeye, Arizona between 1977 and 1987; taught and coached at Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri from 1991 to 1993; and was an assistant professor at the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, from 1994 until 1995.
And I would just add that I was last governor of Delaware in 1992, and I don't think any of this was started then. So we congratulate you, Wayne, for all the work you've done.
REP. MILLER: Welcome to the committee.
Our final witness will be Mr. John McAuliffe, who is -- who joined Education Online Learning as its chief financial officer in February 2008 and became the general manager in June 2009.
Prior to Education Online, Mr. McAuliffe was the senior vice president and chief financial officer at Thompson Prometric, the world's largest computer-based testing organization.
Welcome to the committee for all of you. We're going to begin with you, Mr. Chopra. When you begin speaking, you won't see it, because it's not in front of you, but you have to pay attention to it -- you understand; okay -- a green light will go on, and then when you there's one minute remaining in your time, a yellow light will go on, and we'd like you to use that time to summarize and to finish, and then there'll be a red light. But we want you to finish in a coherent fashion, so don't panic when you see the red light. But don't dawdle. (Laughter.)
MR. CHOPRA: (Off mike.)
REP. MILLER: I think -- is your mike on?
MR. CHOPRA: Yes.
REP. MILLER: It is?
MR. CHOPRA: It is -- better now.
REP. MILLER: It is now.
MR. CHOPRA: It is now. Technology. Where's that IT guy? (Laughter.) Okay.
Mr. Chairman, it's -- and distinguished members of the committee, it is indeed an honor to appear before you on this extremely important subject. As the father of two young girls, I can assure you that today's topic is both a professional and a personal priority for me.
President Obama understands that in order to renew American competitiveness, we need to harness the power and potential of technology and innovation to revamp our educational system. You said it very well yourself in your opening remarks, Mr. Chairman.
We will need a greater proportion of our population with college degrees; an increased pipeline of students that excelling in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines; and breakthrough strategies to uncover the hidden talent that we know resides throughout our country. I am pleased to share my experiences on the roe of technology and innovation in demonstrating meaningful progress against these challenges as we look to the future of learning.
Beginning on the framework for educational innovation, I'd like to share with you a few perspectives on where the president has put his emphasis. We are committed to ensuring that all students are trained to use technology to research, analyze and communicate in any discipline. However, we must integrate technology into the classroom in ways that research would demonstrate is truly helpful in the process of student learning.
Promising approaches include facilitating public-private partnerships in the development of new curriculum incorporating emerging technologies; integrating technology throughout the classroom to transform the method by which we teach; deploying collaboration tools to support teachers in the sharing best practices; and developing better student assessments to allow teachers and parents to make data-driven decisions on how to improve performance.
We're making great progress on these priorities, and we'll continue to evaluate their impact. We're very proud of the fact, for example, that the OECD recently ranked the United States as number one in broadband access to schools, as it's built upon the $2.25 billion in annual contribution through the E-rate program.
I've seen the promise of an investment in technology as Virginia's secretary of Technology. When properly deployed, it can serve as the foundation for technology-led educational transformation. With your permission, I'll hit the highlights on several of what I consider to be nearly a dozen innovative proof-of-concept initiatives that might help you understand better the realities on the ground, as I believe, Congressman Castle, you asked for.
Three brief examples: In Virginia, a volunteer panel of scientists convened at the governor's request in 2007 to evaluate our science, physics, chemistry, and engineering curriculum more specifically. Led by a retired NASA scientist, a federal collaborator, we uncovered a number of opportunities for improvement in the content itself, and this group of experts came together and issued a report basically calling for some very basic changes: the idea that our classrooms should encourage more lab work; that we should incorporate emerging technologies into our curriculum, aligned with the Commonwealth's overall strategic goals from an economic development standpoint; and that we facilitate the sharing of ideas across the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics community for best-practice sharing.
Traditionally, such reports then sit in a policy-making process for review. But in the opportunities of technology and the potential for transformation, Governor Kaine asked that the superintendent of public instruction alongside my colleague, the secretary of Education, work together to bring together a collaboration at no cost to the taxpayers that would help get the community to write the physics chapters that would align to the Commonwealth's future. Modeling and simulation, as an economic discipline, has great potential for job creation as does the field of nuclear physics -- both of which didn't have content developed in the classroom. All of that now, in less than six months using a Web-based Wiki- like platform, allowed for teachers from all over the country to join in writing technology chapters that could be used for free by any classroom across the Commonwealth.
One such school is deploying a netbook platform that will have prebaked all of this curricula on it. You can still print a hard copy, if you will, for a few bucks at the local print shop, but a technology platform that actually is cost-effective by deferring some of the costs of the upgrade on textbooks that wouldn't have had some of this content involved.
I'll share a number of other stories with you at a -- perhaps by written statements in light of the time, but simply want to end with one final comment: We do see the great power and potential of these capacities to improve with -- learning with students with disabilities and see tremendous opportunity to uncover that hidden talent across this country.
And I thank you for the opportunity to continue the dialogue on this important subject.
REP. MILLER: Thank you.
Ms. Short? Welcome.
I just say to the members of the committee, our panelists -- some will be demonstrating some of the technologies they're using. They'll be going back and forth. Their written statements explain what they're about and what they've done and what they have accomplished. So you feel free to proceed in the manner in which you're most comfortable here.
MS. SHORT: (Off mike.)
REP. MILLER: No. We're adapting here. This is adaptive technology. (Laughter.) You -- in the old days, you would have thought of this as a glitch. This is adaptive technology. (Laughter.)
MS. SHORT: Can you hear me if I speak from this level?
REP. MILLER: Yes.
MS. SHORT: Well, that's an icebreaker.
Good morning, Chairman Miller, Congressmen, and guests. I'm honored to stand here to demonstrate how technology has transformed the educational experiences of my students and how it's drastically improved my ability to teach students with various learning styles and needs.
I am currently teaching 8th grade science at Gaithersburg Middle School in Montgomery County, Maryland, and my middle school has a very diverse population of students, and we're considered to be a highest needs school.
Every day my students walk into school and they are carrying iPods, cell phones, video games, sometimes laptops, and the first thing we ask them to do is power down and put it all away. And up until this year, the only thing I've had to capture their attention has been a chalkboard and an overhead projector. I've only had this type of technology in my classroom for one year, but I can't imagine walking into a classroom without one now.
If you could imagine trying to perform your job without the use of cell phones, would you technically be able to do it? Yes. Would it be efficient? Probably not. But my point that I'm trying to make is, if cell phone technology is available, why not utilize it?
I would like to share a student success story with you. Alan Vera Lopez -- I had the joy of teaching him for this past year. His grade increased from a 63 percent to a 75 percent by the end of the year. You may not think that that's significant, but for an English Language Learner who is still currently reading at a 3rd grade level, it was huge.
So how did this increase happen? When you use this type of technology in a classroom, student engagement increases. Every single student wants to come up to the board to interact with this. Whenever I incorporate a drag-and-drop page, which I'm going to demonstrate in a second, every single student's hand goes up into the air. It got to the point where I had to develop a random generator in order to make sure that everybody had an equal opportunity to come up to the board to participate. (Laughter.)
I'm going to demonstrate why my students were so interested in one of the drag-and-drop pages. I originally had another sound byte in here, but they took that out. (Laughter.) Students love positive reinforcement, and I like to incorporate a lot of sound bytes from movies that students have seen because, in general, they know that I'm trying to meet their interest. And in my experiences, whenever you have an opportunity to make connections with students like that, student academic success increases.
This type of technology allows teachers to incorporate all the various learning styles that students have. I can incorporate visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic learning processes in a single lesson.
Now, for my English language learners and my visual learners, I can embed a two-and-a-half minute video clip from Discovery Education; I can take snapshots of the main ideas, drag it to the bottom of the page -- and let me demonstrate.
So, after the two-and-a-half minute video clip is finished playing, I can invite students up to the board to write down a summary of the main ideas. There is no longer a 45-minute video that may -- it may be hit and miss on the content that you have covered in that lesson for the day.
For my tactile and kinesthetic learners, it's essential for them to be able to manipulate things in order for them to understand the curriculum. On this page I have developed a lesson that the students could come up to the board, physically click on a landmass, manipulate it, and put it together like pieces of a puzzle to form a larger landmass. And then, of course, you can show them the correct answer.
So, in closing, I just have one final question for you, and I'm actually going to ask you to use that odd-looking device at your station -- it's called an activote. About what percentage of classrooms in the United States have interactive whiteboards: A, 64 percent; B, 42 percent; or C, 12 percent? Just take a moment. You can see how they're registering at the top. And in the interest of time, I'm going to have to cut you off. (Laughter.)
Now, this has been done in anonymous mode, so no individual name has been paired up with a response up on the board, which is fantastic for my students, especially when we're trying to address prior knowledge, uncover misconceptions. But we have data immediately after it's done. And since it's in anonymous mode, I get truthful, honest answers.
The correct answer was C. (Laughter.)
MR. : Whew. (Laughter.)
MS. SHORT: And I can also paste the answers up onto the board, save them for later usage for team meetings or staff development trainings.
The last point I'd like to make is that only 16 percent of classrooms have this technology. If it's available, why not use it? Right now, the United Kingdom is at 70 percent.
REP. MILLER: Let me just -- if I might just interrupt you while you're at the board -- that we're all above average here; we got the answer right. But if you had A and B responses, you would then be able to do what with that data?
MS. SHORT: If I could show the results again -- whenever the students leave and you have an opportunity to take a look at your data, you can determine whose activote -- I have a database. All the students' names are linked to a specific activote number, and I can see who answered what incorrectly. And then I can really look at my data to determine are they the same students who are missing it over and over again, and what type of strategies do we need to incorporate to reach their needs? And if the majority of the class answered the question incorrectly, then I know tomorrow I'm going to come in and re-teach it before I move on in my curriculum. So it's immediate feedback.
REP. MILLER: Thank you. Thank you very much.
MR. KINNEY: Thank you Chairman Miller and committee members. It's an honor to appear before you today.
My name is Scott Kinney. I'm vice president of Outreach and Professional Development for Discovery Education. Previous to joining Discovery, I served 14 years in education in the Pennsylvania school system. Our parent company, Discovery Communications, is the number one non-fiction media company in the world with networks such as the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and the Science Channel.
At Discovery Education our goal is to provide the most up-to-date instructional content in an interactive and engaging format, in a sense, bringing the world to their world. And this is our students' world.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation study, students spend an average of six-and-a-half hours a day with media. Since they don't take weekends off, that's forty-five-and-a-half hours a week, the equivalent of a full-time job. The National School Boards Association commissioned a study in which they found that 96 percent of all students engage in some form of social networking. If MySpace were a country, it'd be bigger than France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Given this -- the way our students prefer to consume information and interact with content today, it's no longer acceptable for us to ignore that when we choose instructional materials.
When we do look at the way they choose to interact with information, our own research at Discovery Education has shown multiple times that this has a positive impact on student achievement. When used effectively, media and technology in the classroom makes a difference.
We've looked at several types of schools, whether it's L.A. Unified or schools in rural Virginia; we've looked at different grade levels, whether it was math, social studies, or science; we looked at grades three, six, and eight, and regardless of the type of school, the grade level, or subject, when used effectively, student achievement increases. So in addition to this, we should also be providing this:
(Begin video presentation.)
NARRATOR: (Inaudible) -- survival testifies to the human skeleton's extraordinary resilience. But when we consciously want to test our strength, our muscles and bones collaborate to give us maximum power. The human body has resources far beyond what we can imagine.
(End video presentation.)
MR. KINNEY: After countless years of research and multiple studies, we know that students learn differently from one another and yet in many places we continue to teach them as if they all learn the same.
This is an example of an interactive glossary within Discovery Education Science, a way for us to provide information in multiple formats to reach students' different learning styles. So we can take one concept like food chains and display the text definition, a short animation on the same concept. If that doesn't reach children, we can show them a short video.
(Begin video presentation.)
NARRATOR: The energy for all of life you see around you comes from the sun. When sunlight strikes a plant --
(End video presentation.)
MR. KINNEY: And we can also support their learning with images, as well.
This is an example of one of our virtual labs, an environment where students can test hypotheses quickly, isolate and manipulate variables in a very safe environment. And when we provide media and technology to students and let them construct their own meaning, they will undoubtedly surprise us. "Hometown Heroes" is a documentary created by high school students in North Canton City Schools in Ohio that looks at the impact that their town had on World War II.
(Begin video presentation.)
NARRATOR: It was a time when soldiers fought against tyranny. Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito were determined to expand their boundaries. Pearl Harbor left Americans exposed and enraged. With freedom threatened, the young men of the United States left home to fight on foreign shores. Their efforts produced a bittersweet victory that would impact the world.
MS. : Our World War II veterans have many valuable stories to share.
(End video presentation.)
MR. KINNEY: And for the first time, we're seeing a small number of progressive states encouraging this transition. In the state of Indiana, for example, the state Board of Education sent a letter to all school districts, which, and I quote, encouraged them that "they should feel no obligation to utilize the standard form of social studies textbooks." As a result, we're currently working with Indianapolis Public Schools to align a number of their pacing guides to rich media assets, such as video, images, audio, and writing prompts.
Recently in Florida, they changed their language that defines instructional materials to include electronic media and computer courseware or software that serve as a basis for instruction for each student.
On the 8th of this month, Governor Schwarzenegger announced that a new initiative in California, which he stated high school students will have access to science and math digital textbooks by the beginning of the school year. Similar language has been proposed in Texas as well.
The only caution I would introduce today, though, is that this is fundamentally a change in the way we're asking teachers to engage our nation's students. It is imperative that, along with this change, we provide high quality, ongoing professional development to teachers as we embark in this new way of learning. Our own data suggests that there is a great degree of variance between districts that utilize ongoing professional development versus those who do not. It's one of the reasons that at Discovery we support the Discovery Educator Network, a global community of teachers that we bring together both online and in person, who learn, share and collaborate the best uses of media and technology and share that with others.
So thank you for your time today. I appreciate your attention to this incredibly important matter.
REP. MILLER: Thank you.
MS. BERGLAND: (Off mike.) Sorry.
REP. MILLER: Don't worry. We're mesmerized by what you're doing. (Laughter.)
MS. BERGLAND: Okay. (Laughs.)
Okay. Thank you, Chairman Miller, and the committee for inviting me to testify. My name is Jennifer Bergland, and I am the chief technology officer of Bryan Independent School District in Bryan, Texas. We have over 15,000 students in our district, of which 71 percent are considered economically disadvantaged and 61 percent are considered at-risk. I want to tell you about how we use technology to empower these kids to do things they never thought were possible.
In 2004, Stephen F. Austin Middle School, which we call SFA, issued laptops to all students and teachers attending the school, which was made possible with funds from a grant through the No Child Left Behind Title II, Enhancing Education through Technology Program. We called this program "One Vision," for we had one vision for how we wanted one-to-one computing to transform how teachers taught and how students learned. I have a short video that I want to show you that hopefully gives you a brief introduction.
(Begin video presentation.)
NARRATOR: In 2004, One Vision was born. It all began when Stephen F. Austin Middle School was chosen as one of 22 middle schools to participate in the Texas Education Agency's Technology Immersion pilot project. Each student and teacher received a laptop to enhance learning at school and at home. The state is using this project to study the effects of technology immersion on student achievement as part of a national grant.
With One Vision, the future is now.
(End video presentation.)
MS. BERGLAND: After five years of implementation, the one-to-one learning environment the school -- with the one-to-one learning environment, the school has increased achievement, a reduction in discipline referrals, had an increase in teacher retention, and increased technology proficiency for both teachers and students.
The access to these resources enables the students of SFA to be engaged in their learning. Students use online resources to perform digital experiments, view virtual manipulations for abstract concepts in math and science, discuss topics in social studies using an online chat application, and publish their writing on the Internet.
One student at SFA used her laptop to begin writing a sequel to the Harry Potter series from the point of view of her favorite character. This wasn't an assignment given to her by her teacher. This was her passion. The laptop just made the writing a little bit easier.
Having digital content rather than traditional textbooks enables the students to use all the Web tools available to personalize their learning. Students use these to customize their experience on the Internet. They create, they collaborate, and they publish in ways that were not possible 10 years ago.
The teacher no longer has to possess all the knowledge needed to instruct their students. They can truly be the facilitator of learning. In fact, students are able to find their own teacher using the Internet. These "teachers" might be a video demonstrating a physics problem or step-by-step instructions on how to divide fractions. This customization of a student's learning has led the students to become more independent learners.
When each student is issued a laptop, the learning is extended beyond the school day. One teacher set aside two nights a week to have a live homework chat session. At first, the teacher was the one answering the other students' questions, but soon, the teacher was able to back away and let the students answer each other's questions. The research conducted on this project indicates that the students' use of laptops for home learning was the strongest predictor of both reading and mathematics achievement. The findings for home learning underscore the important role that individual student laptops play in equalizing the out-of-school learning opportunities for students in disadvantaged families and school situations.
Before I end, I want to tell you about a small West Texas community whose schools also participated in this project. Floydada ISD is out in way-West Texas. They saw such success in their middle school with double-digit gains that they extended their project to their high school. As a result, the students were able to complete 206 college-level courses in 2008 for a total of 619 hours. These courses not only helped prepare students for higher education but also saved parents thousands of dollars, since the district covered the cost of the courses and allowed children to see themselves, for the first time, as college students. One thing that Jerry Vaughn, the superintendent of this school district says -- "If you don't ever start college, you won't ever finish."
I want to end by telling you about a conversation that I had with our track coach several years ago. He told me he was about to take an overnight trip to attend a track meet. He only took the top three athletes for each event, so he would have the -- the athletes try out the week prior to the track meet. This was -- there was this one kid that was trying out for every single event. The coach couldn't figure out why, because this kid very rarely showed this much initiative. So the coach said, "Son, why are you doing this?" And this kid looked up at Coach Greenoe (ph), and he said, "Coach, I've never been out of town before."
The digital divide is real. I have kids in my community who have never been out of Bryan. This last year, some of the students at Stephen F. Austin Middle School participated in a unit on NASA. They might not be able to go to Houston even though it's 90 miles away, but they can go on their laptop using a virtual trip.
(Begin video presentation.)
NARRATOR: June 23rd, 2008. We're at the Air and Space Museum, and we're discussing the Gemini 4. I can't believe people crammed into that thing. People crammed into that thing? One, maybe, but two fully grown adults? I could probably fit in there, but I doubt anybody else could. It must have been uncomfortable. Seats two, apparently -- it looks tiny. They'd have to bend over a little bit to keep from hitting the switches on the ceiling. Joey says that for a long time, tall people couldn't go into space.
The bottom of the lander is really neat. You can see streaks of burn marks. The interesting bit is that the marks converge not at the center of the bottom but about a foot-and-a-half to one side of the center.
(End video presentation.)
MS. BERGLAND: Thank you for allowing me to share you my testimony. I love sharing our story. It has given me a chance to voice our teachers and how they feel about how this has transformed their teaching and their learning in their school. Thank you.
REP. MILLER: Thank you.
MR. REAL: Good morning, Chairman Miller and congressional committee members. I thank everyone for the opportunity to share my story today. I hope all of y'all are doing well. And, yes, I did say "all y'all." I'm from the South, born and raised, and I am very proud of my Southern roots.
My rural home of Snow Hill in Greene County, North Carolina, is a small community with high poverty rates and is not well known. But just as this room is full of opportunity, intelligence and determination to succeed with change, so is Greene County.
The county's population is about 20,000 with approximately 3,200 students in our school system. Seventy-three percent of these students receive free or reduced lunches. Thankfully, Greene County has changed their schools through a one-to-one laptop program and is now home to what, in my case, was a portal to a new life.
Unfortunately, narcotics began to tear my family apart when I was 9 years old. By the time I was 10 years old, my father had been imprisoned at least three times, fled from the law, and I have yet to hear from him. My mother was left with four young kids to look after, and with no education, she was forced to work in the fields from sunrise to sunset. Her farm-laboring job did not adequately provide for us, and unfortunately, she eventually turned to drug trafficking as well.
By the time I was 11 years old, my two older brothers dropped out of high school, and at least they began to help support the family, and my mom could finally make the commitment to stop dealing drugs.
A month after my 13th birthday, I received a blow that would change my life forever. My mother was incarcerated for drug trafficking more than a year after the last time she ever had anything to do with them. Her past had finally caught up with her, and my perfect life crumpled beneath my eyes from one day to the next.
The events to follow were as expected of a 13-year-old who had no adult supervision to stray him from wrongdoing. My sophomore year in high school, I had 46 absences, rapidly dropping grades, no parents, a torn family, and plans to soon drop out of school. By the age of 16 years, I was bailing my brother out of a detention center for traffic violations.
During my junior year, I met my health care instructor and mentor that helped me change my ways. Ms. Lisa Wilson inspired me and shared with me how the use of technology tools could open doors. Technology helped to spark an interest in school and provided many of the resources that I lacked at home. At the time, I didn't really understand the school's new educational model or the hundreds of hours of training that my teachers had attended. I only knew that I had a laptop and that I used technology in every classroom, which also provided access to my teachers and classmates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Soon it didn't matter that my home life was a mess or that Greene County was so isolated. The integration of technology opened the world to me. By my senior year, I placed first in a health -- in a regional Health Care Club speech competition and top ten in the state. I was also varsity soccer team captain, homecoming king, president of various clubs on campus, and had perfect attendance, plus I worked two to three jobs. At home, there was no inspiration, and I truly dreaded the bell at the end of the school day. At least I knew that when I left campus, I would be able to instant message and e-mail my teachers and classmates with questions.
Since Greene County schools provided change with the one-to-one program, school life is very different than traditional high school that my brothers dropped out of. Students work in groups. They are challenged by projects, the best part is everyone participates. In addition to the laptops, students use digital cameras, video cameras and interactive whiteboards to prepare for college and 21st century careers.
For example, in my physical science class, I demonstrated elevated distance by providing visual image slides for my classmates. In chemistry, I was able to manipulate elements from the periodic table on an interactive whiteboard.
Other examples of technology used in Greene Central High School includes designing Web pages, filming and editing movies, and creating thinking maps. Our teachers work with facilitators to help make all this happen.
You see, technology is not a luxury in today's society; it's a necessity.
Most importantly, the student body is now at optimal performance. Today, we aim beyond a high school diploma and, at very minimum, to a bachelor's degree. Through the use of technology, our teachers are preparing us with skills for our journey to successful careers.
Before our laptop program seven years ago, the average college going rate in Greene County was 26 percent. By the time I graduated in 2008, our college going rate increased to 94 percent, our school record. In the past, our rural county was far below average at a national average. Now we're above average by 34 percent. In addition to increased college going rates, we have increased access to honors and AP classes and our teen pregnancy rate has dropped from number 18 -- to number 18 from number two. Our advancement is all thanks to the technology and great teachers who integrate tools into their lessons. Thankfully, we are not alone, and there are other students in North Carolina and across the county that are also benefiting from similar programs.
I have just finished my freshman year at East Carolina University with a major in pediatric nursing. I also received a National Nurse Scholars scholarship. I am currently employed as a certified nursing assistant. I actually received my nurse's assistant credentials as part of my high school curriculum.
Although this may seem like a most ordinary story, something not so ordinary happened along the way -- technology. Technology tools helped me to create, learn, explain, document, and analyze the different aspects of my life. My grades could not have been successful without the constant e-mails. I could not have shined through without the use of powerpoints and movie presentations. My application to East Carolina University, my SAT registration, and most recently, my Nurse Scholars Program application were all completed online.
Without technology, there is no way I would be here testifying today. Honestly, I would probably be another dropout. There are many students across the country just like me that only need a chance or an opportunity to change their future. Even diamonds have to be uncovered and discovered to show their brilliance and beauty.
Young people across America are these diamonds. Technology is the perfect tool for these young diamonds to shine across our beautiful home we call America. Thank you.
REP. MILLER: Thank you very much.
Mr. Hartschuh -- Dr. Hartschuh.
MR. HARTSCHUH: Good morning. Thank you, Chairman Miller, Representative McKeon, and the committee for inviting me to testify today. I would like to especially thank Delaware Representative Castle for his longtime support of education and educational technology.
I am Wayne Hartschuh, executive director of the Delaware Center for Educational Technology, part of the Delaware Department of Education.
When I consider how technology is transforming our public schools, I realize that in our digital world, no organization, including education, can achieve results without incorporating technology into its everyday practices. To truly realize the effects that technology can have on education, we need to consider those everyday practices and determine how technology can support them. I will discuss three of those practices and how we are addressing technology implementation in Delaware.
The first and most important is curriculum and instruction through our eMINTS program. The second is professional development through eLearning Delaware. And the third is student assessment data through our development of the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System.
The Maximizing the Impact report states, "It's time to focus on what students need to learn and on how to create a 21st century education system that delivers results."
Delaware has done a good job of the "what," by developing content standards and aligning curriculum to meet those standards. To address the "how," we have committed No Child Left Behind Title II, Part D E2T2 funds to the implementation of the eMINTS program, based on the long-term results from Missouri and the replication from other states.
eMINTS provides a model that is innovative and provides exemplary approaches that combine instructional strategies, technology, and professional development. With proven results of increase in student achievement, the model drives the transformation of the learning environment by providing a high-tech classroom that emphasizes inquiry-based teaching, cooperative learning, and the development of higher-order thinking skills.
e-Learning Delaware is Delaware's implementation of the e- Learning for Educators Initiative, a project funded through the federal Ready to Teach Grant and a collaboration between 10 state education agencies and associated public broadcast stations. e- Learning Delaware uses a Web-based model to provide effective professional development opportunities that lead to gains in teachers' content knowledge, improvements in their teaching practices, and an increase in the achievement levels of their students.
Since the spring of 2006, we have built our statewide capacity to deliver online professional development by training online course facilitators and developers and implemented a course management system to deliver the courses. We have delivered over 130 online courses to over 2,000 Delaware educators and developed online courses related to Delaware recommended curriculum and required science training, such as an earth history course.
The earth history professional development course has been a notable accomplishment. WHYY, Delaware's PBS station affiliate, in collaboration with DOE Science personnel, produce supplementary video segments that are an integral part of the online course content. We are following this same model of producing and incorporating video segments into the Delaware watersheds course and the weather course that are currently under development. We are extremely pleased that the federal grant has given us the opportunity to collaborate with our local PBS station in the development of high-quality video to support online professional development.
The state of Delaware is redesigning its student assessment program. The current Delaware student testing program, in place since 1998, will be replaced by the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System in the 2010-2011 school year. Why am I talking about assessment when we're here to talk about how technology is transforming public schools? The Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System is an entirely online assessment. Delaware is moving to an online assessment because we want to provide immediate results, provide diagnostic reports to teachers within two days, provide students with multiple opportunities to pass, and be able to assess student achievement from an entire school year. This can only be done with online assessment.
Another driving factor is the desire to increase student access to technology. With the implementation comes a four-year replacement cycle for computers and the computers we use for instruction whenever testing is not being done.
Greater access to technology and integration into curriculum are critical if we are to prepare students for the workplace of tomorrow. The good news is that we have made positive strides forward in Delaware by using technology to transform our public schools. This is seen at the curriculum and instruction level, the professional development level, and the statewide assessment level. eMINTS and e- Learning Delaware are just two of many examples of how technology is transforming education in Delaware public schools.
Unfortunately, as is the case in most states, we still have pockets of excellence rather than systemic transformation. With our transition to the Delaware comprehensive assessment system, we are moving towards systemic transformation. The bold move of taking all statewide assessment online will also drive an increased use of technology in curriculum instruction as well as professional development.
In conclusion, we hope these efforts to use technology to transform our public schools will be seen as a catalyst of change, even an accelerator of change.
Thank you for your time and your support of technology in education for our nation's children.
REP. MILLER: Thank you.
MR. MCAULIFFE: I would like to thank Chairman Miller and the rest of the committee for allowing me the opportunity to present here today. Hearing and seeing these other technologies and stories are truly inspiring to us at Educate Online.
Educate Online is America's leading provider of live, personalized online tutoring services. We have successfully served more than 50,000 students since 2002 and are currently serving students in almost 200 school districts across the country. All of our tutoring is done by certified teachers and delivered online to students in their home. Students are able to access this tutoring through a computer and Internet access provided free by Educate Online.
Before I get into a little bit more detail on our technology, I wanted to make a couple of points. Number one, as you've seen here today, technology is truly transforming the way education is provided throughout our country. It's expanding the learning day, the week, and the year. It is redesigning the traditional classroom, and is vastly increasing student achievement.
How do we know this? Because our program has been independently tested and shown that a typical Title I student who starts our program one grade level below can catch up to their peers after just 24 one- hour sessions of our tutoring. In the case of English language learners and other at-risk students, gains are even greater. This is also, in our opinion, just the first step in how this technology can be used.
Second, because of the good work of the members of this committee and others in Congress, we can supply these tutoring services free of charge for Title I students through the Supplemental Education Services Program that you created. These students are the ones most in need, and the story you just heard gives you an example of what can happen when the use of technology can help drive student achievement. We'd like to thank you for that opportunity to service these students.
Now for a few facts about our program: We use U.S.-based certified teachers with bachelor's degrees and at least two years of teaching experience. More than one-third of teachers have master's degrees, and 5 percent have Ph.D.'s. Approximately 9 percent are certified to work with ELL students, and 14 percent are certified to work with students with disabilities. All of our instructors also go through eight hours of instruction related to our curriculum, our technology, our proprietary methods, and how to maximize student motivation and participation. Our curriculum is research-based and nationally recognized. We have more than 12,500 digital lessons created by third party educational publishing companies and an internal content development team.
Our goal is to raise student achievement to meet state standards. We optimize our instructional time through an initial diagnostic assessment, which then drives a prescriptive, personalized learning plan.
We also recognize that -- the key role the parents, teachers, and principals play in educating these students. As a result, we provide both a parent and principal porter -- portal. These portals are updated for each student after each lesson to ensure data is completely current. The portal is secure and available 24/7. Parents can view portals through the computer provided by Educate Online if they do not have access to another computer. In addition, we send monthly progress reports to schools and districts, and we have a bilingual call center staff to address questions and concerns.
As I stated previously, our program has been independently evaluated and measured demonstrating significant academic gains. We have also demonstrated evidence of increased performance on state assessments. In the 2007-2008 school year, 250 South Dakota middle students, predominantly Native Americans, received tutoring from Educate Online. Ninety-one percent of these students saw gains on the South Dakota state assessment, with an average gain of 18 points.
I would like to now show you a demo of our technology at work. It is this technology that drives our success. We also believe, as I stated before, this technology has many more applications, a few of which I will talk about at the conclusion of the demo.
(Begin video presentation.)
MR. : So, how was school today?
MS. : Good.
MR. : Excellent. All right. All kinds of good stuff here.
Well, tell you what, we're going to go into our classroom so we can go ahead and get started. Are you with me?
MS. : Yes.
MR. : All right. The first thing we're going to take a look at tonight is syllabication and talking about inflectional endings. Do you know what syllabication is?
MS. : No.
MR. : No? All right. Well, we're going to go ahead and do a guided practice. Why don't you go ahead and read the highlighted part for me?
MS. : "A syllable is a part of a word that includes one vowel sound. An ending that makes other forms of a word (-e, -ed, - es, -ing) is called an" --
MR. : Inflectional ending.
MS. : "Inflectional endings help words fit into sentences and sometimes add syllables."
MR. : Excellent. I'm going to give you a token for reading that so beautifully.
And we're going to take a look at the example right here. I'm going to go ahead and link your computer up to mine so we're at the same spot.
"Look at the following example: The word camp is used in three different sentences. Notice how the inflectional endings help it to fit into each of the sentences. Each inflectional ending is underlined." And I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to underline it here with you.
"They went camping last weekend." So what ending do we have there?
MS. : Ing.
MR. : Ing. Excellent. Go ahead and read the second sentence for me.
All right. The directions are to read the sentence paying close attention to the word in blue. Then count the number of vowel symbols in the words that are blue, and I'm going to highlight them.
All right. So let's take a look at the first five. Go ahead and read that first sentence for me.
MS. : "The boy helps his grandmother into the car."
MR. : All right. Now, how many syllables do we have in that word, "helps"?
MS. : One.
MR. : One, excellent. Go ahead and put "1" on the line.
(End video presentation.)
MR. MCAULIFFE: As you can see, the technology is at the heart of what we do, but it also has far-reaching applications. This platform should allow us to address many needs, in particular where specialty labor shortages are depriving students in need. Several examples of this are speech therapists, reading specialists, and guidance counselors.
In fact, we are running a pilot this fall in Pennsylvania where we are matching students with speech therapists online.
We're also investigating how we can partner with community colleges to target recent high school graduates that may need remedial classes to be successful in college. Our plan would be to provide tutoring during the summer prior to them entering college, making sure they are ready for college-level work.
In conclusion, I would like to, again, thank the chairman and members of the committee for inviting me to be here today.
REP. MILLER: Thank you very much. Thank you to all of you for your testimony and your demonstrations and your expertise.
Ms. Short and Ms. Bergland, if I might ask you if you could both address part of this question, and that is the -- you both alluded to the impact of this on professional development and also the ability to provide differentiated instruction to students who learn either in different ways or learning at different rates. The assumption is that that's very hard to do for a teacher that doesn't really have a mastery of the subject matter content, but I just wondered how this plays out there. I assume the better educated the teacher in math or science or whatever the subject matter is, would also lend to the leverage provided by the technology. But I just wondered if you might address that and how the professional development plays into this in the usage of the -- of technology with the students and given the differentiations that we see in those students in any classroom that we -- almost every classroom that we have.
Don't be shy.
MS. BERGLAND: (Laughs.) I'll go ahead and attempt to answer that.
First of all, the professional development is probably the most important thing that you need to do if you want to really see technology -- the power of technology to be used.
What -- I think what you're getting at is maybe how can we help teachers learn their content better, particularly if they're in a generalist -- if they have a generalist certification and they may not have all the specific skills. And we are -- there's a new way where it's called "personal learning networks," where teachers can connect with other professionals across the country now, and they can do that using the Web 2.0 tools. And so there's lots of different ways that teachers can learn their subject matter a little bit better so they can do that differentiation.
But one of the things that's the power of the technology is a lot of times these programs naturally do that. We use a product called TeamBiz where -- it's a reading program, and every day the kids read current events, but the teacher has already preloaded and determined the reading levels of each of the kids. And so they're all reading the same subject matter, but it's at different reading levels. And so it's naturally being differentiated for them, and no one needs to know that they're not all at the same level. That's just one example.
REP. MILLER: Thank you.
MS. SHORT: Are you asking about professional development in order to incorporate the technology or for your content?
REP. MILLER: Well, I'm actually -- really both, because the question is also whether or not we need to provide additional development and competency with the subject matter of the class, and then also the use of the technology. And does one make up for the other, or I would assume that they'd be somewhat complimentary if they both took place?
MS. SHORT: I think it would be very difficult to use the technology if your subject matter wasn't there. As teachers, in order to maintain our certificates, our teaching certificates, we're required to take professional development courses throughout the course of a few years. Also, our county offers professional development courses in technology, in your content area, in order to be able to use the technology to meet the different learning styles.
Obviously, if you don't know your curriculum very well, you're not going to be able to describe it in multiple ways in order to reach different students.
REP. MILLER: Mr. Kinney, do you have the ability to fill in in terms of subject matter content for teachers that are presenting the material that you -- that you're presenting to the classroom?
MR. KINNEY: Yeah. I think one of the abilities of digital content and technology to provide, within the context of a classroom, is the packaging of materials to make it -- I don't want to say easier, but to make those materials more accessible to students in different ways and to make that tool easier to use for educators across the country.
So for example, if you think back to the example I used of the food chain, where you can now take a term, and instead of displaying that just as a text resource, you can display it in multiple formats. You can use animation and video and audio. And so the teacher doesn't have to have a deeper knowledge of a specific content area; it's just they do have to have the knowledge of utilizing that resource in a way that best meets those children's instructional needs.
So I think there's a great deal of professional development around, not just the resources themselves, but also how do these resources affectively reach each child and their instructional needs within the classroom.
REP. MILLER: Thank you.
Mr. Chopra, how do we keep -- or, how do we minimize our schools getting locked into proprietary systems over a long period of time that may not work out or -- you know, you suggested both in Virginia and, I think, the governor's call on California is really talking about open-sourced textbooks there that would -- people would be able to change and adapt and move around. I don't know how you quite control that content.
But how do we make sure that we get some of -- you know, members of Congress like to often say they went into a classroom and there was a -- there was a textbook that said, you know, "When man lands on the" -- "When man goes to the moon" or something -- and that's how outdated it is -- that's interesting, except today, you don't have to suffer that. But how do you maintain the integrity of these systems on -- in a Wikipedia world if you're going to make an open-sourced text or curricula available to schools?
MR. CHOPRA: Mr. Chairman, that is a terrific question, and I think the key to the question is how do we govern content that is not traditionally seen as a single textbook?
One of the benefits of our move towards a data-driven environment in education is the ability now -- or as we make these investments -- to focus on what content works in the classroom by the various experiences. So Ms. Short might have a set of -- a compilation of lesson plans and perhaps a chapter of some book that she's used to convey the value of a particular plan. Hopefully, we'll be able to understand the fact that the content itself was useful in presenting that concept.
As long as there is a thoughtful way at the state level to govern the quality of that content -- that was at the heart of the pilot we had seen in Virginia. So a rigorous quality review on content organized in new ways. When we think about the old compact disc, we would buy a disk, and it'd have lots of content on it.
Today, we buy songs, and they have discrete individual components. I think in the same way, educational content is now being, in a similar fashion, chunked up by these compilations of video clips and chapters of learning.
So the core question of yours about proprietary versus open is, so long as the content can be evaluated, I believe the marketplace can decide what's the most effective means to deliver that content. It might be on a -- you know, a proprietary hardware platform like an e- book reader that might take this content and make it available. We would envision a wide range of innovations in the devices and the method by which that's dispensed, so long as we have thoughtful understanding of which content works. And that, I think, is the key to the success of these initiatives.
REP. MILLER: Thank you.
REP. CASTLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chopra, are we at the federal level -- the congressional and executive branch -- delivering in the most organized and best way we can, in your mind -- you can play God here, and say -- tell us whatever you want -- the whole improvement and technology driven education, or should we be doing this differently or funding it differently, or do you have any thoughts about that?
MR. CHOPRA: Thank you.
REP. CASTLE: Not details, but just a broad stroke.
MR. CHOPRA: No. At the highest level, I think what you have in a policy priority of the president that you saw in real life witnessed today on these phenomenal panelists. I'm sort of humbled to be aside them. And I do believe we need to dialogue in ways to best leverage the capacity of technology but focusing on its use in the classroom. So I think to the extent that we engage in some concepts around how we can better evaluate this success in sort of a thoughtful, research- based way on the use of the technology, we might be in a better position to ensure a societal return on investment.
I intend to work very closely with my colleagues across the administration -- obviously Secretary Duncan and Jim Shelton, in particular -- to bring some rigor to the thought process and to be supportive in what I hope will be a dialogue over the coming weeks and months and making this even more effective.
REP. CASTLE: Thank you.
Perhaps -- Ms. Short and Mr. Real are the ones who provoked this question, but others may want to answer it, and that is the question of how much are we really improving as far as the use of technology is concerned. Ms. Short, you cited one student who improved a great deal, and Mr. Real, you obviously cited your own example of that. But my concern is just on the measuring, is there some methodology by which we can determine they're truly doing better? I mean, I can tell you that the teachers I disliked going to classes the most are the ones who probably were the best. There were two women who were teachers of mine who were just mean and hard and tough, and I look upon them now as having actually taught me something. I never told them that. Unfortunately, they've passed on. But -- and I just worry that, you know, this all may seem to be working because it's engaging students. But is it truly working in terms of improvement levels, and can we document that in some way or another?
And do you have any responses about that? Virtually all of you testified to that, and I don't doubt it. I just want to make sure we're documenting this in some way or another.
MR. REAL: I just think there's a lot more resources that we have as students today, because before -- you know, the traditional high school, you could always hide behind, like, "Oh, the teacher doesn't like me. I'm just going to quit." Whereas now, you -- you see so many people doing it. There's always a competitive edge in high school -- especially in high school. It's always -- there's such competitive, you know -- "What number are you in your class rank? What's your GPA?" And now you have no excuses.
Now you can do as much or as little as you want, and in our community, it's as much as we want. Because whereas before, there was the little, you know -- you know, there wasn't that many sources. And now there's -- you know, for everything -- you know, I -- personally, me, there was a lot of resources that many of my students had just because of my situation. I mean, I learned how to tie a tie on youTube. That's how I learned it. I didn't -- you know, whereas their father could have taught them before they went to church, you know, I went on youTube. And now I have resources for life situations as well as, you know, school resources, and that's where I got a lot of the knowledge that I got about what are the universities that I wanted to go, because I couldn't go on tours. So I got everything online and everything by word of mouth of where to go online, whereas before, it was just word of mouth. So I think the resources that we have now are just unbelievable, and that's what's opened the doors to me today.
REP. CASTLE: Ms. Short?
MS. SHORT: This year I've seen an amazing difference between the amount of engagement of my students and the hierarchy thinking that they have been involved in. But when we had this technology incorporated in our school, we didn't do it from a statistical standpoint. We didn't -- it wasn't researched-based. So I don't really have, like, something to compare it to.
I know that I only have two students that failed my class this year out of 125 students. Last year, I probably had about 12 percent of my students who failed. So it went down significantly, but I don't know if it's -- you can't compare it. Last year, those students were in seventh grade. They had a different science teacher. This year, they have me. It's different content. It's really difficult in education to compare the two when there are so many variables.
REP. CASTLE: Mr. Chopra, did you want to comment?
MR. CHOPRA: Your question is at the heart of ensuring we have a return on taxpayer investment.
REP. CASTLE: Right.
MR. CHOPRA: And I might suggest that we grappled with this issue in Virginia.
One of the ways in which we evaluated success was actually flipping the model around. What problem were we trying to solve? When we looked across the challenges in our test scores, we found that sixth grade algebra -- pre-algebra, frankly -- had been our worst performing subject and in fact had been in the 68 percent range -- order of magnitude -- of success.
So we took that problem and then issued a challenge to technology developers to build mobile applications. In fact, that contest is underway now -- it's going to expire at the end of June -- to say, help bring about innovations through technology that will help us close what is a performance gap in this narrow subject we identified through our research on fractions, proportions, and so forth.
So if we flipped the question and said, "What is our policy or educational outcome objective?" and then challenge the technology industry to help develop applications and strategies to meet it, we're going to hopefully see ourselves in a better position to assess the marginal value of that particular initiative. And I think that methodology might be helpful as we move forward, Congressman.
REP. MILLER: Mr. Kildee?
REP. DALE KILDEE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm going to follow through on your question.
You know, when I taught school over 40 years ago, I was considered advanced technologically because I knew how to thread the movie projector. (Laughter.) Other teachers would call upon me to help them on that. But -- and then when the federal government began to get involved in assisting schools and purchasing some of the technology, a lot of it wound up in the closet.
My question then -- and I'll address it to you, Ms. Bergland, and others might want to answer -- to what degree do teacher training institutions prepare the students to effectively use existing and rapidly changing technology and software material?
MS. BERGLAND: Did you say the higher ed?
REP. KILDEE: Teacher training institutions, in general.
MS. BERGLAND: Okay. Well, first of all, I'll tell you that I -- when I first started teaching, I always wanted to be across from the football coach, because he could help me when the projector didn't work. He knew how to use it better than anybody.
I would say that this is -- we work with our teacher training institutes. I mean, Texas A&M University is in my community, and we work with them and their educational technology, but it is something that we do tend to have to make sure that the -- a lot of the students coming out of college, they know how to use technology. That's not the problem. It's learning how to use it instructionally and having good pedagogy, and that still takes some time. So we're still working on that.
I think the education departments in the universities do a good job, but they're learning a lot of their content from college professors that are still standing and delivering instruction the old, traditional way.
REP. KILDEE: I guess then that gets to the heart of my question. How do the teacher training institutions, either during the undergraduate years or graduate years, teach them how to actually make that technology effective in a classroom?
MR. KINNEY: I can speak to -- one of the things that we've done at Discovery is -- obviously, the professional development around this is such a critical component because it really is a change in the way we're asking people to deliver instruction.
We worked with Wilkes University in Pennsylvania and actually developed a masters program in using instructional media effectively in the classroom, and so we had experts from around the country who developed these courses and actually deliver these courses both online and in person in a masters program for current in-service teachers. So that's one of the things that we did to address that.
The second thing we do is really work with administrations of school districts who are implementing a systematic approach, to really look at their comprehensive professional development needs to make sure that we provide ongoing plans that are multi-year to make sure that people are effectively using this in a classroom. Because, even if people know how to use the technology, I think, your point is right on. Using it for an instructional purpose is really a different thing.
REP. KILDEE: One thing we don't want is what I call the Carter Glass syndrome -- Senator Carter Glass -- very famous senator -- the Glass-Steagall bill -- when the dial telephone came in, he refused to use it. He would just dial zero -- the most he would do, and then tell the operator which number he wanted. And, you know, in every profession, you can have that Carter Glass syndrome where they just are used to one system. This is the system they learned when they started teaching. And you have kids coming in, and you want to have a teacher, whether they have been teaching one year or 25 years -- a teacher who moves with the use of the new technology and the materials that go with that technology.
And -- but both teacher training institutions and the school system has to push those teachers, I think, to use the new technology and don't fall into the Carter Glass syndrome.
Any other comments on --
MR. MCAULIFFE: Yes. I would like to comment. Technology allows you to do many things. One, the fear of a child being nervous about technology -- you shouldn't worry about that. That's usually the easiest of the problems.
The teachers in our program get trained 8 hours so that they become very familiar with the technology. In addition to them being trained on the technology, they're also trained on student participation and motivation to make sure that they make the use of the technology easy for those students.
To address a couple of the other questions, if I may very quickly, technology allows you to do pre-assessments and post- assessments to very effectively measure a student's academic progress there. In our program, the pre-assessment will drive a prescriptive, individualized learning plan that will lead the teacher through the program, through mastery learning where they will teach and re-teach the lesson until the student has learned that lesson and then move onto the other lessons. So technology can allow you to address many of the concerns that you gentlemen have raised today.
REP. KILDEE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. MILLER: Mr. Hare?
REP. PHIL HARE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Short, one of the -- you know, parental involvement is one of the most -- strongest predictors of future academic success. In your testimony you mentioned that parents have access to lesson plans and homework help. And have you seen parents become a lot more involved in children's education as a result of this?
MS. SHORT: Sometimes I dread getting onto my computer and checking my e-mail because it takes 45 minutes to respond to all the parent communication. (Laughter.)
Yes, parents are definitely involved. Even in my school with the diverse population, they are involved. I've had various scenarios this year where my students have been absent. Parents will e-mail me. They say, "What are you doing today? Can you give me your lesson, your review sheets, your flip chart?" And I have uploaded that onto a resource that we use in our county called Edline. And then within an hour, a parent e-mails me back and says, "Thank you very much. We have everything. She'll have it for you the next day." So it's --
REP. HARE: That's incredible.
MS. SHORT: It's incredible. And our students and parents have access to Edline. On a daily basis they can monitor their grades. They can check to see when homework assignments are due, and when their next assessment will be.
REP. HARE: Wow.
Mr. Chopra, I'm the co-chair of the House Rural Education Caucus, and I'm particularly interested in how technology can help rural schools overcome the unique challenges such as lack of financial resources and geographics and things of that nature. You highlighted in your testimony an innovative program being implemented in a rural Virginia school district called an Open Classroom Project, and I wonder if you could tell me a little bit more about how this program works. And can school districts use this program to connect to and collaborate with other school districts, particularly in the rural communities? Because, you know, we have -- I have a huge rural area, and I'm very interested in making sure that those young kids get the opportunity to get the same type of education as the kids in the bigger cities do.
MR. CHOPRA: I thank you for that question. In fact, rural communities, I think, are a great source of potential of next generation innovation if we can connect those communities in more meaningful ways. So we had a very high focus on that aspect.
This particular initiative is sort of the necessity is the mother of all invention. The school district was facing budget shortfalls and tried to find ways to save money. The technology department said, "Hey, we think we could actually get more with less." And they said, "Look, we could put together a compilation of tools that would improve parent communication, teacher-to-teacher sharing, student engagement, and we could cobble together a series of tools that are available more freely and low cost in the market and assemble them in this little district."
Governor Kaine had given them a little grant to document all the work they had done so it could be replicated in communities all across Virginia, and frankly, the country. I included a Web URL for the Virginia Open Classroom Initiative -- vaopenclassroom.org. Anybody can download the tools that they've been using effectively in their school district. It is extraordinarily cheap -- in fact, in most cases, free. And they're focusing on the resources that will actually empower all of the components that you've heard talked about here today.
So if we can keep the infrastructure as modest in their expense as possible, take advantage of broadband -- which we haven't spoken as much of today -- to ensure that we have the kind of capacity for resource sharing in our rural areas, and most importantly, focus on new content that we think could help address some of the long-standing challenges around educational attainment.
We have in our most rural communities very low rates of educational attainment, and incremental ideas are not making the kind of breakthrough change we need. And so we took, for example, the old GED curriculum for adult Ed and mashed it up with Microsoft's Learning Academies for Technology and projects that would give students a chance to experiment. And we think boldly that in six months, a dropout could be a technology worker, and we're going to try those kind of experiments. And I look forward to working with you on trying to find game-changing ideas to support our rural communities, because it's critical for our success.
REP. HARE: I'd love to work with you on that.
And just -- I know I'm running out of time -- Ms. Short, you -- just so I get the figures right at the end of it -- and by the way, I think I got it right when I hit 16 percent, so I didn't want to be the only one on the committee to get it wrong. I'm glad I got it right. That would have looked great with my chairman.
REP. MILLER: (Off mike.) (Laughter.)
REP. HARE: Yeah.
What did you say the United Kingdom had or Great Britain had in terms of the percent versus what the United States has? We have 16 (percent), and they have what now?
MS. SHORT: Seventy (percent).
HARE: So they have 70 percent, and we're at 16.
MS. SHORT: Seventy percent of their classrooms have interactive boards.
REP. HARE: What do we have to do from our end of it to be able to get that up? I mean, that to me just is wonderful technology. What do we have to do here?
MS. SHORT: Funding. (Laughter.)
REP. MILLER: Next. (Laughter.)
REP. HARE: Next, okay. (Laughter.) Ms. Short, I just can't thank you enough for your answer.
REP. MILLER: Some things never change even with the technology.
MR. HARE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Well, we'll work on that.
REP. MILLER: Ms. Hirono?
REP. : Great question.
REP. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Thank you. I'd like to follow up on Mr. Hare's line of questioning, because this all is really impressive, and Ms. Short, you must be a very well-liked teacher, because just sitting here watching your demonstration made me think that I would have liked to be -- have been in your class. (Laughter.)
Mr. Chopra, I'm curious to know, have you done any kind of a study on how much it would cost for our country to get up to speed on, you know, the wideband and all of that for all of our schools -- realizing, of course, that it's not the federal government's role to pay for all of this, but just wondering how much would it cost our country?
MR. CHOPRA: I don't have those figures. But I might flip the question, and that is, how might we drive more innovation into the marketplace? So I could produce facts and figures on the cost of a laptop for every child, maybe four or five years ago, and that would have presumed a certain cost per device. Today, we don't know what the device is going to look like that kids are going to have in their hands to be able to interact and learn. That device might cost us 50 bucks or a hundred bucks, and we might naturally find ways to find operational savings to cover that cost.
I think the bigger challenge for us is ensuring -- I think, to Congressman Castle's question -- where's the value in being more rigorous about how we present the outcomes that we're trying to achieve? Does it improve on math and reading and all the various things you've heard anecdotally described today? The more rigor we have around what the quote, unquote, "killer application" is that would drive performance, I'm confident our private sector will innovate to bring new products, devices and tools into the marketplace, and therefore, drive prices down and make it easier for us to be successful.
That doesn't mean that we shouldn't look for creative ways to pilot research and development initiatives and other things with the resources we've made available so we can find ways to drive that kind of game-changing innovation. But if the number were to be based on current prices, it would be significant.
REP. HIRONO: Ms. Short, how much say did you have in your school as to what kind of technology would be made available to your students? Because you use a whiteboard, but there are any number of other ways that your school could have gone. Did you, as a teacher, have a say in the matter?
MS. SHORT: Actually we didn't. Our county was going through middle school reform and a technology modernization, and within the summer they had installed the Promethean boards into the classroom. And the first day of school, they were there, and we were ready to use them.
REP. HIRONO: Do you think that would be an important element as we move forward, that the teachers would become engaged so that this is not yet another program, another method that is imposed upon teachers?
MS. SHORT: At the beginning of the year, a lot of teachers thought it was imposing, but throughout the year as we got better with the technology, it became fun. (Laughter.) It became fun. My husband and I -- he's also a teacher -- there is an unspoken competition as to who could create the best flip chart.
Other teachers -- even our veteran teachers, who have been teaching the same curriculum -- well, not necessarily the same curriculum for 30 years, but they've been teaching in the same manner -- they became excited to use the technology as well. They were coming to professional development; they were coming to other teachers who were using it. Unfortunately, we weren't able to take our staff development subs and walk into other people's classrooms to see them use the technology efficiently, and we kind of need that back. We need the time to go into classrooms and see teachers using this effectively, and we just didn't have an opportunity to do that this year.
REP. HIRONO: Ms. Bergland, you mentioned -- and others of you mentioned how important the professional development part of this is, because I can envision teachers who really may not even know their subject area very well, but then they can maybe hide behind some of the curriculum that would be packaged using technology, and that wouldn't be such a great thing for a student to sit there knowing that the teacher is just sort of slapping these things onto a whiteboard or whatever -- a computer. So this part of how we're going to move forward as a country I think is very challenging. Do you have any thoughts on how we can have the two working in concert?
MS. BERGLAND: You touched on the most important thing, and that's professional development. When we first started this, I told my school board, the technical issues, which at first, everyone is concerned about -- are kids going to put, you know, viruses on the machines, and how you can have enough bandwidth to have wireless everywhere -- I told them that's easy. What's difficult is getting teachers to change the way they're -- they've been teaching.
And so it -- and you can't just do the how-to training at the beginning. It has to be ongoing, and it has to be job embedded, and you have to take them through a continuum. You're going to start with how-to, and then you're going to move into, how do I use it with kids?; how do I manage a classroom where very student has a laptop? That's a very disruptive thing that happens to a teacher if they're not prepared for it.
But you can't stop with the teacher.
In fact, you need to start with the administrators, because they are the ones that can empower the teachers to do the things that need to be done. And it needs to be the administrators at the campus at all levels, but it also needs to be the administrators at the district level, because the curriculum coordinators have a very important part here. Because if -- in our first year of implementation, we had their vocal support, but their real support wasn't there because they weren't a part of the whole buy-in process. So after that first year, we had to bring all of our curriculum coordinators in and start with them, and once they saw the potential, then they began to support it, and then the project was successful.
REP. HIRONO: Thank you. I think my time is up. I yield back.
REP. MILLER: Mr. Scott?
REP. ROBERT SCOTT: Thank -- thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Mr. Chopra, I want to thank you for your hard work in Virginia. And I know you've got a lot on your plate. You've got all of the technology, generally, but do you also have cyber security? Is that part of your challenge?
MR. CHOPRA: (Off mike.)
REP. SCOTT: That's -- so you've been doing a lot. Thank you very much.
A lot of -- there's a lot of fancy equipment out there that's very expensive. How do we know -- how would a school system know what works that'll actually better the education and what would be a waste of money?
MR. CHOPRA: That's a terrific question, Congressman. And thank you for your leadership in the Commonwealth, as well.
I would say that one of the advantages of programs like our Education Technology Program is that we are building up capacity within state department of Education to facilitate some degree of thoughtful evaluation and support.
In Virginia -- I don't know how many other states have a similar model, but we have thoughtful administrators who can assist and provide kind of best-practice sharing so that local schools can have the kind of advice and counsel they need in an objective manner so that they can make the right technology investment choices.
We do some of this around guidance on procurement. We do some of this by sharing through professional development -- training professional development the technology resource administrators that many states have, and we have nearly 1,200 of them across the Commonwealth of Virginia that are funded largely by the state but supplemented by federal resources. That network helps to ensure that the decisions that are made are fair, effective, and that they're being properly deployed. My hope is that as more and more of our research thinking goes into the evaluation of the quality of various interventions that it'll help to drive the market towards better and better results. But we're still further down the road for that activity.
REP. SCOTT: Thank you. One of -- following up with the gentleman from Illinois, you talked about rural areas. One of the advantages in technology is you can have a virtual teacher who can teach courses for which there is not a critical mass of students. Are virtual teachers as effective as regular classroom teachers, and what can be -- what can we do to make sure they're more effective?
MR. CHOPRA: If it's virtual, Ms. Short, I would imagine it would be very effective.
REP. SCOTT: Does somebody -- are they --
MR. MCAULIFFE: Yes, I can address that --
REP. SCOTT: Mr. McAuliffe?
MR. MCAULIFFE: -- because we do use virtual teachers. Again, I'll go back to the academic gains. We measure that on every student that starts our program and completes our program, and we've seen fairly dramatic increases in grade level performance.
We also make sure that all of our teachers are certified, have taught in a classroom for at least two years, so they're familiar with the teaching environment. Then we take the time to train them on the technology.
I think the beauty of our model is the fact that you can tap into a teacher base, whether it be at night, whether it be on the weekends, whether it be somebody that might be in a high- population area that can service a child in a rural environment.
REP. SCOTT: Now, when you say virtual, are you talking about live virtual or recorded virtual?
MR. MCAULIFFE: Yes. No, ours is a live personalized virtual environment.
The other area that I think this is very important -- there's a lot of needs going unmet right now. The example I used before was speech therapists. There are thousands of kids in our school systems that need that service that aren't receiving them because of the lack of speech therapists out there.
We have the ability to match a speech therapist, wherever they may be, with a student in school at their location using the computer.
REP. SCOTT: Thank you.
Ms. Bergland, you indicated that laptops were extremely valuable in a student's education. Would denial of a laptop constitute a denial of equal educational opportunity?
MS. BERGLAND: (Off mike.)
REP. SCOTT: Sure it is. (Laughter.)
MS. BERGLAND: I do think that -- my community -- we have at least 30 percent -- we just surveyed our students, and 30 percent of our students said they do not have a computer at home. And my own daughter is a junior in high school, and I talk to her about this a lot. And she does a lot of her homework at home using my laptop. And I have a lot of kids in my community that don't have those resources. So I think in the bigger picture, I think I'd have to answer yes to that.
I think it's important. I think those kids that don't have that access at home are not playing on the same playing field. They are not -- they do not have the same advantages of the children whose parents have the -- not only the laptop but also bandwidth and the Internet access at home. Because when we ask the question about how many of my students in our school district have Internet access, it went up -- we had about 35 percent that don't. And then it was about 45 percent that don't have cable access, because we were trying to figure out if we could label our cable franchise and get them to provide a cheap Internet access for our kids at home.
So you do have kids who, if we don't provide it at school, they're not going to have that opportunity, and they're not going to have those opportunities that they need to be able to compete with those kids that do have it.
REP. SCOTT: Thank you.
REP. MILLER: Mr. Real, did you want to respond to Mr. Scott's last question about access to laptops. I thought -- I just thought you did. If you don't, that's fine.
MR. REAL: Well, the access to the laptop, that just -- it definitely puts us on a different, you know, playing field, because it's just -- it doesn't -- like, before, where we just had paper and pencil, and you had to be creative in your ways, now you want to be creative while entertaining yourself at the same time, which is at every kid's heart.
So when we want to get on the laptop -- well, now we can see this, we can do this, and when we can help each other out, that's what really gets us to do these really cool projects, because we can help each other out, expand on what we know, and then we can turn it in, and just everyone will stay in awe.
And even when we present this, like, in Powerpoints and movie presentations, we look at what we -- we look at what each other does, and we know for next time. So it's further learning every time we present -- further learning. Because I remember when I was in -- just a freshman, it was different, and it was so different, because it was just a basic ones -- you just have a slide here, and now, you go in there, you have all these colors, you have things flying out, and you don't even know what place where it's going to come. So it's just so much different. I think it just elevates us and it makes us do better.
REP. MILLER: Thank you.
REP. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. MILLER: Mr. Tierney.
REP. JOHN TIERNEY: As my friend Rush Holt says, "The fundamental right to be entertained." What are you going to do about that? -- which doesn't hurt at all. (Laughs.)
I think maybe Ms. Bergland, Ms. Short and Mr. Hartschuh might be able to answer this question: We have a whole cadre of teachers out there who have no background in technology at all -- excellent teachers, been teaching for a long time. And obviously, it would be beneficial to have them become familiar with this technology and capable of using it. So what are we going to do -- how do we most effectively get them to do that, and how long does it take to have a teacher with a long teaching experience actually acclimate themselves to this technology and become able to use it efficiently?
MS. BERGLAND: There's been some research on that, and it -- they -- it indicates that it takes anywhere from three to five years starting at -- if you're at the level where you -- it's in your face, is what I like to call it. You're -- at that point you're saying, "This isn't making my life easier," because you're just -- you're having to struggle learning how to use it. To the point where you're being innovative with it and you're teaching differently, it takes three to five years.
I think one of the things that you've already done in your Title II, Part D program -- you've basically said that 25 percent of the funds have to be spent on professional development. And I think there's even a proposal where you up that to 40 percent. I think that's important.
REP. TIERNEY: Yeah. I'm just curious, you know -- how do we motivate those teachers to not resist it on that? Anybody that might --
MS. BERGLAND: That's where you start with the administrators. You -- the leadership has to buy into this, and teachers are going to do what their administrators want them to do. And they're going to take that leadership -- if they're encouraged; if they're supported -- you want to have all of the good professional development strategies that we know work. You don't want to do just the, come in and train and sit down and leave. You want to have ongoing professional development. You want to make it relative to their subjects. You know, teachers like what we call "make and take it sessions," where they can come in and they can actually then go back into their classroom and use it.
And then you also -- we actually hired an integration specialist that worked at our one-to-one campuses, and they would go in and plan with the teachers. They would also model teach for the teachers.
And then you also want to embed that technology into the curriculum, because if it's already embedded into the curriculum --
REP. TIERNEY: They have to use it.
MS. BERGLAND: -- then it helps them with that.
REP. TIERNEY: Well, Mr. Chopra, in that line, has anybody taken an assessment of what our colleges that are preparing people to teach have on hand for the technology itself -- the hardware and the software on there and the teaching core to teach teachers how to use that?
MR. CHOPRA: I don't know any national studies on that, but having visited with the network of colleges that are mostly engaged on teacher training, they see this as a key element of their work going forward.
And, again, this notion of having a resource available -- it's a state and local question, in large part, how they organize themselves for this kind of capacity --
REP. TIERNEY: It's a huge investment, I would think, right?
MR. CHOPRA: It is a huge investment, and states like Virginia are taking that step. I don't know as much as the other states in terms of how they built, but a network of 1,200 professionals in the classrooms across the -- in this example, one state -- certainly helped to mitigate against the risk of fear on the technology and the poor decision making about what you buy and how you use it. And having that kind of capacity, certainly in -- in our experience in Virginia was successful, and I'm too early to have visibility into the national picture.
REP. TIERNEY: I know of only one school that -- in my district that actually got technology -- made a smart campus out of it or whatever, and their enrollment applications went up 10 percent in one year, because students want to do this.
MR. CHOPRA: Wow.
REP. TIERNEY: Mr. Real, can you tell me -- did the technology keep you interested in school -- obviously, but did it also help inform what you wanted to do with your life, or was that a totally separate decision?
MR. REAL: It helped me stay in school 100 percent.
REP. TIERNEY: Right.
MR. REAL: I remember later on -- I don't have much contact with my family, but my brother did say -- the words that came out of his mouth: "If I would have had what you had, I think I would have stayed in school." And for it to come out of my brother -- it was tough.
REP. TIERNEY: Did it inform what you chose to do in terms of the nursing at all, or did --
MR. REAL: It had a lot to do, because I didn't know about any careers really. I just knew that I had to go to school. But once I went into health care, I was like, okay, health care, you just -- okay, you're going to be a doctor. But then I realized that there's so many careers out there. And then we actually had clinicals where we were near X-rays, and we could use technology, and I was like, I'm going to stay. I'm going to stay, and I'm going to use everything that I can. And it helped me because later on, you know, when I needed that escape from my home life, I'd go and check out so many medical careers online and using the Web, and that's what really made me stay in health care -- that I had a variety, no matter where I was.
REP. TIERNEY: There's an incredible number of technology related jobs that are going to be available in every field, and so it's interesting that you say that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, witnesses.
REP. MILLER: Thank you.
And I want to remind members of the committee and to the audience and to others that beginning at 12 (o'clock) in the foyer out here, there will be demonstrations of this technology and much more from Apple; from Carnegie Learning; from CASS; from Discovery Education; from eChalk; ExploreLearning; Froguts -- you can go out and dissect a frog right there in the foyer if you're so inclined -- (laughter) -- Oracle Foundation; PBS TeacherLine; Pearson; PolyVision, with the interactive whiteboard and demonstrations how to use that beyond what we saw today; from Scholastic and READ 180 and on and on and on; and SMART Technologies and other companies that will be presenting out here in the foyer to staff and members of Congress from 12 (o'clock) until 3:00.
REP. RUSH HOLT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. A quick question for Mr. Chopra, following on Mr. Tierney's line of questioning: In the $650 million that I believe is available under the ARRA, the so-called stimulus funding for educational technology -- are there plans in the administration to either make that money or other money available for teacher professional development -- specific plans in light of what you were all saying just a moment ago?
MR. CHOPRA: Well, first of all, Congressman, I'm from Plainsboro, New Jersey, so it's a pleasure to see you.
REP. HOLT: Yes, I know you are. It's good to see you here. (Laughs.)
MR. CHOPRA: The Department is actively working on the programs for stimulus, and I believe they are focused on opportunities to tackle the issues that we've outlined. I don't have specifics about the particulars of where that dollar funding will go, but clearly we'll get back with you as those details come in.
REP. HOLT: Let me drop that as a suggestion, and I would appreciate something back on that.
MR. CHOPRA: I'd greatly appreciate that feedback.
REP. HOLT: One of the advantages that several of you have talked about in connection with the educational technology is the ability to have immediate feedback, formative teaching experiences -- in other words, getting back to the teachers and changing outcome by changing the teaching within hours or days or weeks.
I've seen this happen in some schools, but clearly there are impediments to it. If we want to get the most of this -- let me ask Dr. Hartschuh -- or, Mr. Hartschuh -- first -- what do you see are the impediments to getting this kind of -- using the educational technology in assessment, feedback, working with teachers to fill in the gaps to address conceptual problems that are identified and so forth? What are the impediments to actually getting that applied throughout the country?
MR. HARTSCHUH: Well, obviously it's infrastructure and, you know, funding to have the equipment available to the students. We've been very successful in Delaware doing what we call benchmark testing, where every student will sit down over a period of two weeks. They will be able to have a window of about two weeks to run all the students in the school through their math and reading assessments.
How they do that varies by schools depending upon the infrastructure that they have. Obviously you need the number of computers available to the students to do this. And as we look at that, the biggest impediment probably at that point is probably the data interpretation of saying, this student is at level A, another student's at level B, another student's at level C, and how you address those issues at that point in time -- the differentiated instruction concept, and that.
But the bottom is that we're trying to give the teachers as much information about the student and where that student is at so that they can address those individual needs of the student.
REP. HOLT: Well, let me turn to Ms. Short then, and if there's time, to others.
You talk about being able to record individual students or anonymous students. How do you decide how much of this is used for individual assessment, how much of it is used to guide you as a teacher?
And for this to be applied throughout the school, how -- what impediments do you see to using the information that is gained about individual students and individual classes being used to improve the education throughout the system?
MS. SHORT: Great question. Obviously I can use the data in my instruction to determine what difficulty they're having with the information as it relates to my science class. But now in Maryland we have the science MSA, and let's say my colleague and I develop questions that relate to specific areas of the science MSA tests, and we do it as a five-minute warm up before we begin our lesson each day. And over the course of two weeks, we can determine -- if their level of inference ability is low, then we can target students on just that ability. Or if they're unable to target the main idea, we can do that as well.
In our math curriculum or in our reading curriculum, we have the voluntary state curriculum that is broken down into different indicators that you can focus on. So you can use that, and we actually have used that information throughout this past year. We break it down. We bring it to our instructional leadership team, and all of that data is looked at and assessed, and we try to determine strategies on how to develop programs and resources to help those students.
MR. MCAULIFFE: Could I -- could I also address that, if that's -- if you're OK, I would -- if I could address that situation.
REP. MILLER: Yes, quickly. Yes.
MR. MCAULIFFE: While our tutoring is done predominantly outside the traditional classroom, our lesson plans are driven by the assessment, but then can be individualized as the student progresses, depending on the speed at which they are progressing through lessons. We also have prescription monitors that will monitor the progress of students along with the individual teachers tutoring them so that those lesson plans can be altered as the student progresses through the program.
And then last but not least, the parent involvement will also help drive any changes that are necessary for their curriculum.
REP. MILLER: Ms. Biggert.
REP. JUDY BIGGERT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I apologize for having two other committees at the same time. (Laughs.) But I did want to ask just a couple questions.
In addition to being a strong proponent for utilizing technology to improve learning, I'm also interested in the possibility of using the new technology on the measurement side. And I'm particularly concerned about this, particularly,in Chicago where it took them through the next school year to actually get the results of the tests, which didn't really help, I think, the learning of the students since they didn't know what the tests -- the results were in order to plan for the next year. And I hope that -- I don't think that that would happen again.
But when NCLB is, I think, reauthorized, we're going to have to take a long, hard look at the metrics used to evaluate the students and calculate AYP. Have any of you examined the possibility of using computerized adaptive testing to more accurately measure the student achievement? Whoever would like to answer that.
MR. HARTSCHUH: Yes. In Delaware, the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System is in the process of being developed -- that we're going to roll out in the 2010-2011 school year that will be all online assessments. So all students in the state of Delaware will take online assessments in grades three through eight. They will be adaptive tests.
At this point in time, they're adaptive -- grade-level only, because that's what USDOE will allow us to do. We're hoping that down the road we'll be able to move to an adaptive testing that goes across grade levels. So if a student actually is in third grade, if they need the adaptive testing to take them back down to second grade or they're advanced enough to go to fourth or fifth grade, we're hoping that we're going to be able to do that down the road once we clear some hurdles with that.
REP. BIGGERT: Wouldn't that be a lot easier to have the growth method model then?
MR. HARTSCHUH: That would address the growth model that we're implementing right now, yes.
REP. BIGGERT: OK. Anybody else like to address that? Yes, Mr. Chopra?
MR. CHOPRA: Congresswoman, I would just make a general observation. If you looked at the retailing industry, the level of data and analytics available for them to know if I buy milk on Wednesday that they should up-sell me to Oreo cookies because of my historical patterns -- the level of analytical rigor in those kinds of decision making by the retailing sector -- if you compared that with this very basic question that we're asking today -- does student performance improve by the video clip that Discovery showed, or the lesson methodology that Ms. Short described for a particular day, or a chapter of content that is going to be taught over a course of weeks? -- it is very difficult when I look at what I see happening in other aspects of our economy where we have measured to the nth degree the best value of resources against challenges -- it is challenging for me to think about where we are in the ability to cross content quality, teacher quality, all the various elements in order to make the kind of management decisions necessary to improve student performance.
I hope as we move forward in the initiatives that are underway, we will see more attention focused on how we can think more broadly about these analytical capabilities. And I think there's great potential if we were to do that correctly.
REP. BIGGERT: That kind of addresses the other part of this question, and that is: How do we measure, I think, the -- and evaluate the populations like special ed and then the extremely gifted, or how do we move to be able to address not only just the student, but how to address those populations? I think one of our biggest problems has been with the special ed when we've been asking them to take a test for their age group of like, say, fourth grade, but they're really reading at first grade level.
Anyone care to address that? Mr. Hartschuh?
MR. HARTSCHUH: Well, yes. One of the bigger issues you have with the paper-pencil test is it's very difficult to be adaptive with that.
The students with disabilities are obviously -- the online assessment will be to their advantage. In Delaware we're starting to design our system. The one thing that we're doing is multiple opportunities to take the state test -- not only one. But again -- students with disabilities, there can be multiple adaptations for them, to address their needs.
REP. BIGGERT: Just one other -- I think one of the things that has bothered me is that with those kinds of tests, when we have the difference between the NAPE tests and then the state tests and somehow -- sometimes the difference where the -- for example, the number one state on there, as they plan their test, and then ranking at the bottom of the NAPE test. Would there be an integration? Are we going to -- I'm not -- I think that, you know, local control is so important. Are we -- would we -- with this technology, would we be moving more toward the national test? Is that a concern of anyone, or is that a benefit?
REP. MILLER: Anyone?
REP. BIGGERT: I guess we'll wait until next year when we start addressing that to get the answers. Thank you very much.
MR. HARTSCHUH: Well, I might not be able to address that directly, but in our program, again, as I said before, we -- you take a national assessment test at the beginning of that, and the lesson plan is derived from that assessment. Those lesson plans are now aligned in our program to all the state standards. So depending on what state that student is living in or residing in, we align that program with our state standards with, as I had mentioned before, our goal of trying to improve their performance on the state standard test.
REP. BIGGERT: Okay. Thank you. I yield back.
REP. MILLER: Ms. Woolsey?
REP. LYNN WOOLSEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I apologize for not being here for your entire presentation because it's so interesting.
I want to talk about the cost of professional development. In looking at what this will be, just a snap shot in time, can't we assume -- or can we assume, let's put it that way -- that all colleges are teaching curriculum or teaching courses that could use computers in college and kids, when they graduate as instructors, they are comfortable with computers? Okay. I'm assuming that. Okay.
Then I'm assuming that at least a quarter of all instructors now are like Ms. Short who are there. I mean, they're there. They know what this is all about. We don't have to take them back and pay for their professional development.
So what do we have? We have a certain time to bring everybody else up to speed. So that's not going to be as huge as we think it is. I mean, but we need to know what it is.
So, Mr. Chopra, have you looked at it from that perspective? Because when we think about every single instructor coming and already there and all that, it's not everybody; it's just a certain group.
MR. CHOPRA: Well, I might pivot the question in a slightly different direction.
REP. WOOLSEY: Okay.
MR. CHOPRA: Professional development to what end? I think "to what end" part is still an open question. In other words, what particular package of technology-based educational content or innovation or however you want to describe it, is actually the key to the performance results we're trying to achieve?
REP. WOOLSEY: Let me add -- ask a question in the middle of this.
MR. CHOPRA: Yeah.
REP. WOOLSEY: So wouldn't it depend on the grade level and what the class is teaching?
MR. CHOPRA: So there's a basic level of understanding with technology in the classroom that presumably we are in the pipeline learning more and more about, and there is a gap. I appreciate that sentiment.
But the bigger question is, as we study the impact of what exactly is it about what Ms. Short was doing with the interactive whiteboard -- if we understood the nature with which she had used that tool to deliver performance, then it is the training and professional development about the use of the device not so much the -- how do you flip the switch and make sure that the buttons work, but the methodology by which she incorporated it into the classroom.
It's a slightly different question that I think even if someone is familiar with the technical hardware, I would still imagine her peers would welcome professional development to learn how she chose to integrate the tool into the actual coursework itself.
So it's not so much, I know how to use my cell phone; it's, I now am thinking about the meaningful applications for the use of -- they happen to happen to be using the cell phone but will deliver educational performance.
REP. WOOLSEY: But doesn't that replace, then, the ongoing professional development that we provide educators anyway? I mean, it doesn't have to be more.
MR. CHOPRA: My hope is that it's integrated.
REP. WOOLSEY: It's just a different kind. Integrated with, right.
MR. CHOPRA: My presumption is that's part and parcel with how you teach --
REP. WOOLSEY: Right.
MR. CHOPRA: -- the ongoing work of professional development. Integrated into that curriculum, I hope, would be opportunities to take the best learning we've seen and have that be blended as one. It's not technology unto itself. It's that it's aligned with an educational outcome goal.
REP. WOOLSEY: Well, I want to add that -- add one more thought, and then anybody that wants to respond to it while I still have time. Devices spoil like apples and oranges and vegetables. I mean, how do we keep up with that? And how does Europe keep up with that -- with everything, technology changing and the programs changing? So how do we keep up with that financially? How does Europe do it?
MR. CHOPRA: I couldn't speak intelligently about European practices, but there are best practices in IT management. So we're making a general hypothesis that over time, a greater share of a school's operating budget might involve technology maintenance and operations. And as -- that's happening in every sector of our economy, candidly. And so to the extent that there are best practices, whether it's in health care, energy sector, you name it, there are strategies that thoughtful IT leaders have deployed to think about ways to keep technology fresh, staff trained, mitigate security threats. That is a capability that schools will be building up over time.
There will likely be a school's gap into their capacity, and I'm sure there would be some broader discussions at state and local levels all over the country on how to -- best practices in IT management and governance. But I'm confident there are models that are there. We certainly have explored them at the federal level. There are opportunities at the state and local. But I wouldn't imagine a unique perspective in education on those areas. TThat's really a broad discipline.
REP. WOOLSEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. MILLER: (Off mike.)
REP. PAUL TONKO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
When we look at general education, there's always a concern about the basic foundation being developed in the elementary settings. Are there any insights you can provide in terms of just what may be best to do to help those students who may not link to technology early on in that elementary setting, or are there particular things that are being done to cultivate the best outcomes in that beginning setting? Anyone?
MS. BERGLAND: I guess I'm not really sure exactly what you were asking.
TONKO: Well, OK. The issue of technology becomes very important as you move through middle schools and high school. Are there particular problems or connections that you see that need to be addressed in the elementary grades -- pre-K through, say, five, six, that -- you know, some students don't take to math or science. Are there students not taking to technology and, if so, how do you reach them? Are there concepts that you've developed? Are there --
MS. BERGLAND: Well, there's been some -- every year they do a huge national survey of students, K-12, and parents and teachers. And interestingly, some of the highest users of technology and even the higher in technology are our elementary children. They're doing the virtual worlds. They're not using -- there's a place called "Second Life," -- they're not using that, but they're using the Webkinz or -- those of you that have small children will know those. But -- you know, so they're -- our younger kids are the ones that we're really watching because we know when they hit middle school and high school, they're even more engaged in the technology outside of school than they are than even our kids at the middle school and high school.
So I think that the assumption that maybe how do we engage them -- I think that's already happening.
REP. TONKO: Ms. Short?
MS. SHORT: One of the purposes for our technology modernization and also our middle school reform is that research has shown that students' scores started to drop off in middle school and we needed to become more engaging in our lessons.
I can't speak to elementary schools, but I know that the reason why this big technology push came about was because of research showing that our students' scores dropped off in middle school.
REP. TONKO: Mr. McAuliffe?
MR. MCAULIFFE: Yes. Again, we're -- because of the fact that we do predominantly SES tutoring outside of school, this is a little bit off, but what we have found is that the younger you capture a child and get them up to grade level, the more of a chance you have at success. And we are developing an early reading and early math application for our tutoring services.
And again, like my predecessors on the panel stated, it's surprisingly how adaptive the children are to the technology.
REP. TONKO: That being said -- I'm sorry, Mr. Kinney?
MR. KINNEY: Just one thing to add -- I think one of the cautions is not to separate the conversation of technology from teaching and learning.
So we know a lot in this country about how students learn. We know that students learn differently, and that if we can reach them in different ways, all the better. We know that if they collaborate with their peers, they'll learn from each other. We know that if they interact with content, good things happen instructionally.
And so I think even at a very young age -- I have a first-grade daughter who just recently is now going to second grade -- but is in a media generation. I mean, she's on Webkinz; she has a video iPod; she gets assignments from her school that take her online. And so, I think that even at those very young ages, we can capture them using those tools. But really not just to use the tools, but to capture them in a way that we know we can best reach those students.
REP. TONKO: If in fact we need the parental involvement to maximize the success rate, what are some of the programs that you do to incorporate parents into technology literacy? Are there certain concepts you'd use at your given situations that incorporate the parents and help them to keep pace if the -- especially the pre-K- through-five crowd is ahead of the curve -- maybe ahead of everyone -- how do you keep pace with that, and how do you bring parents in so they can be partners in education if technology's entering in?
MS. BERGLAND: We do parent training. We will have trainings at night for parents to come in. We even provide translators, because we have a large bilingual population. We will -- that's one of the nice things about when students have a laptop that goes home, we encourage the whole family to get to use that machine so it's not just the students, but it also becomes the family's during that year.
So I think that -- you're exactly right. We need to -- we are hoping that our kids -- particularly with our parents that don't have a lot of technology skills, we're hoping our kids could help teach their parents, just like sometimes they help teach teachers.
MR. KINNEY: I can speak from a provider standpoint as well that one of the things that we do when we develop resources for education, certainly look at how parents will access those resources from home or whatever it might be. So we want to make sure that those are available, not just within the context of a classroom environment, but also anywhere at anytime.
REP. MILLER: Mr. Polis.
REP. JARED POLIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
You know, in Colorado I've had the opportunity to be involved with the policy framework around online education, and I certainly realize that online education is only a part of what we're talking about here today. And a couple of you talked about it in your testimony, but it's what I wanted to focus my remarks and questions around. And we had a number -- and just like at the federal level we'll presumably be dealing with as we improve federal education policy -- a lot of policy areas are on how we treat online education. There's a lot of jurisdictional issues that arise, accountability issues -- not things that are inherently good or bad with regard to the efficacy of online education, but just a number of things that challenge the status quo in ways that hadn't really been addressed before.
My first question is for Mr. McAuliffe with regard to jurisdictional issues and whether you've had any experience dealing with serving students that reside in other school districts, other states with programs based in different states, and whether there is a -- to any degree, policy framework recommendations you have around some of those jurisdictional issues that inevitably will increase as online education gains popularity?
MR. MCAULIFFE: Thank you. Yes. We do run into several obstacles in various states. There are a couple of states, like Connecticut, that do not allow online providers to provide supplementary education services. There are others that, in our instance, will not allow the use of retaining the computer. Under our program, the student, if they complete the program, get to keep the computer that we provide.
REP. POLIS: Just a quick follow up question on that. Is it the state itself, or is it district by district in those states you mentioned?
MR. MCAULIFFE: In Connecticut's situation, it's the state, and in other situations, it could be the district. The other big issue is signature requirements. Being an online provider, if you're required to get parents' signatures on attendance forms when you're not there in the state, that creates a problem. Yet we have attendance reports that document the time in and the time out for the students.
REP. POLIS: So on that second point, did you say there's a problem with those attendance reports being counted for state or district purposes?
MR. MCAULIFFE: Yes, they would not -- they don't allow you to submit for payment if you do not have a parent's signature.
REP. POLIS: So do you feel that there might be a federal role in encouraging best practices and establishing an environment where online education can operate in the 50 states and many districts?
MR. MCAULIFFE: Absolutely. If there were uniform requirements throughout the states and the districts, I think that it would make it more amenable to online providers.
REP. POLIS: My next question is for Mr. Chopra. What -- have you, in your efforts -- as well as your thoughts about this -- have you identified any federal policies that are currently preventing or are a barrier to the implementation of new technology, or even more specifically, online education across the country?
MR. CHOPRA: I can tell you that the Department is very committed to this concept and to ensure that we're moving in this direction.
I think a lot of what you've heard in testimony today is a lot of what the Department is focused on. So I don't have any specific barriers or roadblocks identified, but a commitment that we will work together in uncovering them and addressing them.
REP. POLIS: And then the next question is for anybody who would like to answer it. It's also with regard to online education. Perhaps Mr. McAuliffe will answer.
From my understanding, Mr. McAuliffe, your organization does not have -- you don't serve full-time -- exclusively online students, right? It's purely supplemental. Is that correct, or do you have students for the whole day as well?
MR. MCAULIFFE: The predominant amount of work that we do is with supplemental education students. We do do some, what we call in- school, where a student or a group of students will be taken out of the classroom to get additional tutoring during the school day. We also provide that service.
REP. POLIS: Then by way of commentary leading to a quick question, we, in Colorado have about -- over 3,000 students that are exclusively enrolled online. So they're taking all their courses online, for a variety of reasons. Some of them are homebound; some of them feel unsafe at school; some of the are -- move at a pace that's either too fast or slower than the traditional classroom. So there's a variety of ways that that's occurred.
Currently, there is no federal problems with that, but again, I think it's really state by state in terms of whether that's allowed and how that's allowed. I'd like to see if any of you would like to comment on this concept of full-time students that are basically taking all their courses online, and whether you think that that's something that we need any separate accountability for.
And we're out of time. So I just -- that's -- I'll just add that that's something that we should consider that there also are students who are exclusively taking the full of their courses online.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. MILLER: Thank you very much. I want to thank the -- the members of the panel and the members of the committee for their participation this morning.
It seems to me that we're in a bit of a race here because we're going to be inheriting children -- and I think from all socioeconomic levels; they may not have a computer at home, but they can borrow their iTouch from somebody else -- who are going to become more and more proficient with the complexities of technology and, in fact, with the efficiencies of technology. And I fear that if we do not adapt schools to the integration and the embedding of technology in the instructional day, that these students are going to turn out.
Now the problem I see is that they're mastering more and more complex technologies. And whether the school budgets and our ability to integrate -- as somebody said, don't separate the technology from the education. We never thought of separating the textbook from education. We just assumed they went together, and they had to be beneficial and work together. But this is interesting.
You know, when you see very young kids game, and you watch them make risk assessments, develop particular proficiencies, get advice from their friends how to develop those proficiencies -- what is the way that you can master this level; what is the way you can game this level so you can get around it to go somewhere else without having to go through it -- they're demonstrating an array of qualities that, as I said in my opening statement, a lot of employers would die to have.
You know, they have a competition. I'm trying to think who runs it -- whether -- I think it was Sun, but they're young Web page developers from all over the world, and they come -- they bring them to California for awards, and they're generally 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 years old, and I think there are some older students. And at the end of the weekend, they -- as they tell them, "Here's our address; if any of you want a job, just e-mail us, because we'll hire you now. But if you want to go onto school -- do all those things that you" -- (inaudible).
So you see this incredible talent that's being demonstrated, and you've seen it in your classes; you've seen it in the districts that you work with. And somehow the race is to integrate the educational opportunities for these students with this technology that really, in many ways, as Mr. Real pointed out, brings out all of that potential, all of that excitement of learning.
And there are some big mismatches, obviously, across the country in states and in local districts, and in individual schools and in individual classrooms -- huge mismatches between the potential and the opportunity of technology and the resources available, either to manage it or to use it or -- or to learn from it.
I think this is a very exciting moment for American education. I think the ability and the kinds of resources that we can offer to teachers to better understand what they're doing; the success of what they're doing; the needs of their students on a real-time basis. I mean this business we're in -- most of this country, we give you an annual test, and then we try to figure out if the kid's still in our district, in our state, and what is this information tell you now that it's October or November of the next year -- has got to stop. And I -- you know, I think what you're doing in Delaware is exciting to have that kind of real-time assessment. I know very often, we go through this idea that teachers are afraid of this; they don't like it; it's not the way they did business. But what we see is when you really have a first-class opportunity to integrate this into their daily lives and instruction, how much they start to embrace it and really see this as a very helpful tool to them.
I start out -- this is a series of hearings. We're going to look at some of these other opportunities for students and what it tells us about their skills, their talents, and their -- their abilities and how we continue to try to match up this. I think that hopefully this will be integrated into part of the -- we now have this national task force working on common standards to be internationally benchmarked, and how do we adapt technology so that in fact that will flow back through the schools.
I think that's going to be exciting. It's going to be challenging. It's going to require a commitment of very substantial resources. But I suggest a lot of that money is already being committed on resources that are almost obsolete the day they're put into the classroom, and they become very cumbersome for students and for families to participate in these educational opportunities and teaching moments, as we say.
So thank you very much for your -- for all of your participation and your expertise. If you don't mind, as we continue on, we might double back and ask you for some advice and help on our actions in this committee.
Again, I'd like to remind the audience and members that in the foyer just down the hall here, we'll have a demonstration of many of these technologies and others that are available to students. And, Mr. Real, I think you're running a video, are you not, there? Yes.
Ms. Short, do you have an avatar on Second Life yet?
MS. SHORT: (Off mike.)
REP. MILLER: No? Yes? You do?
MS. SHORT: Yes.
REP. MILLER: So do you go there and -- do your students have avatars and show up for class?
MS. SHORT: (Off mike.)
REP. MILLER: No. (Laughter.)
Okay. Thank you very much.
With that, the committee will stand adjourned.