U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, introduced legislation today that would help speed adoption of innovative digital tools to improve student outcomes, close achievement gaps, boost educator skills and improve efficiency and productivity.
"Technology provides us an opportunity to tackle chronic education challenges in new ways thanks to increasing use and access, constant innovation, and falling costs. Technology can be a tool to drive equity and to help transform how education is delivered, making learning more student-centered and recognizing teachers as education designers," said Rep. Miller. "We must harness this opportunity if we want to give all students a 21st century skill set to prepare them for high-growth, high-demand jobs in the global economy."
The Transforming Education through Technology Act would require states and school districts to develop plans and policies that put the best technology in the hands of students and teachers to support learning and achievement for all students. The bill would support technologies that would, among other things, allow students and teachers to receive real-time feedback, exchange information and connect instantly with peers beyond school walls.
A nationwide poll conducted in August 2012 by the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission found that a majority of parents and teachers support greater use of technology in education; however, a digital divide still exists for many schools and students. Miller's legislation would provide students with real-world technology that allows them to tackle real-world problems -- so they're prepared to compete in a global marketplace.
Specifically Miller's legislation would:
Support teachers and principals in using technology to increase college and career readiness, close achievement gaps and engage all students;
Help school districts build a technology infrastructure to make sure schools take full advantage of what technology has to offer;
Help states improve student learning, upgrade assessments, and improve teacher preparation and support; and
Invest in innovation to create the learning environment of tomorrow using the best technology of today.
Many states and school districts across the country are already using technology in the classroom with significant results. For example, the Mooresville School District in North Carolina provides a laptop for every child and teaching staff in grades 4-12. As a result of its "1 to 1 program", Mooresville School District has seen a 20 percent increase in proficiency in all core subjects -- reading, math and science -- and a 14 point increase in its graduation rate since 2011. Started in 2008, their "1 to 1 program" has eliminated 95 percent of spending on print textbooks and reduced spending on calculators, encyclopedias, and maps.