Ed Tech gets Graded

I must preface this post with an apology. I have not blogged in quite some time, and despite my best efforts to compose an inspiring, interesting, or useful piece of information I’ve found my attention being pulled by other aspects of my life, moving into our first house being one of the largest.

That’s not to say I haven’t been seeking out new resources and working on developing new ones. In fact, Steve Dickie and Tom Woodward, two acquaintances that are quickly becoming friends and colleagues thanks to the forum here, have invited me to help develop anEd Tech Podcast . While I know there are many educational podcasts available already, we felt that there were too few podcasts dedicated to practical integration of tools, and far too many podcasts pontificating on general Ed Tech theory. Not that theory is a bad thing, but one can only absorb so much of it before itching to put some of it to the test.

Speaking of tests, the reason I really wanted to post again was to let anyone know who isn’t a subscriber to T.H.E. Journal (a highly cool, AND FREE, ed tech journal) that the most recent issue has published some really interesting study results. Apparently, all of this hard work that teachers and educators across the country have been putting into increased use of technology has been paying off. Huzzah! Until now, there have been few major studies conducted on the efficacy of educational technology and it’s impact on student achievement. According to the article, a major 3 year study of educational technology commissioned by the federal government is getting ready to publish findings this October. In anticipation there are several success stories of technology enhancing student learning from the states participating, and recommendations that the Enhancing Education Through Technology funding within NCLB should continue to be supported at it’s highest level, or $700 million. Thanks to the study researchers have gathered insightful data such as students in technology-enhanced classrooms in Utah continually outperforming students in non-technology enhanced classrooms of the same grade level. Enrollment in Alabama’s distance learning classes increased ten-fold this year with over 4,500 students this fall gaining access to learning and instructors they wouldn’t previously have had access to. Similar success have been noticed in other states, and increased use of technology for assessment has made accessing relevant data faster and easier for many teachers.

While that means educational technology funding won’t completely disappear this coming year (something that president Bush would like to see happen), it still has been reduced to just $272 million, done from $496 million in 2004. If you’re interested to know more about how your state fairs on improving student achievement with technology and see how much and where dollars are going the SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association) website has a list of state reports for the past 3 years. See just how much your state has received in federal dollars in accordance with NCLB, and how much more it