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Effectively using technology
education and careers, we encourage shifting
emphasis to a different research focus – how
to use technology refl ectively and scientifi cally
to make teachers and curricula more effective.
Three forms of technology applications, all
showing considerable promise for this purpose,
are as a tutor, as a teaching aide, and as a
learning tool. The fi rst two forms augment and
enhance what teachers can do on their own to
orchestrate and adapt teaching to individual
needs. The latter form is directed to enabling
students in all ethnic and socioeconomic
groups to use technology effectively to master
and perform 21st-century skills.
About the authors
Steven M Ross is a Professor and Senior
Scientist at the Center for Research and Reform
in Education at the Johns Hopkins University.
Deborah L Lowther is a professor of
Instructional Design and Technology and
Senior Technology Researcher at the Center
for Research in Educational Policy at the
University of Memphis.
Further reading
as clickers), students immediately respond to mathematics. Unfortunately, research shows
Jonassen D, Howland J, Marra RH,&
questions posed by the teacher. The answers that schools serving disadvantaged students
Crismond D, (2008) Meaningful Learning
are instantly aggregated and graphically are more likely than wealthier schools to use
with Technology, 3rd ed.
displayed. Benefi ts include: computers for “drill-and-practice” functions
Kulik JA, (2003) Effects of Using

Timely feedback for teachers about than as a meaningful learning tool. Thus,
Instructional Technology in Elementary
student learning; the socioeconomic gap is widening in this
and Secondary Schools: What Controlled

Valuable review and feedback for important domain.
Evaluations Say, Arlington, Virginia: SRI
students; and In a series of recent quasi-experimental

“Community-centered” learning with high studies, we and our colleagues examined
student interactivity. efforts by multiple school districts to integrate Morrison GM & Lowther DL (in press),
computers as a learning tool. What we found in Integrating Computer Technology into the
Technology as a learning tool the “computer-intensive” settings were: Classroom: Skills for the 21st century, 4th ed.
The school described in the opening scenario

More frequent student-centered,
Ofsted (2009) The Importance of
illustrated students learning, not so much cooperative, and higher-order learning;
ICT: Information and Communication
about or from computers, but with computers

Superior student writing, problem solving,
Technology in Primary and Secondary
to solve problems and produce meaningful and 21
-century technology skills;
Schools 2005/8
work. Unfortunately, even after three decades

Extremely positive attitudes by students,
of technology initiatives in the UK and the U.S., parents, teachers, and school leaders; and Somekh B et al. (2007). Evaluation of the
this level of integration of technology with

Higher quality, more sustainable technology Primary Schools Whiteboards Expansion
classroom learning remains more the exception integration programs when initial Project: Report to the Department for
than the rule. For example, a recent report professional development was combined Education and Skills. Manchester, UK:
from the U.S. Department of Commerce ranked with ongoing in-school peer coaching. Manchester Metropolitan University.
education as the least technology-intensive Also noteworthy is what we did not
Van Dusen C, (June 01, 2009) eSN Special
enterprise among 55 U.S. industry sectors. Just fi nd – achievement advantages on state
Report: 21st Century Teacher Education,
as sobering, a recent survey of over 400 U. S. assessments. While there would be every
eSchool News, retrieved July 14, 2009 from
employers revealed that high school graduates reason to believe that the positive teaching
are entering today’s workforce defi cient in and climate changes observed will benefi t
most of the 21st Century knowledge and virtually all types of learning, such “far
skills needed to achieve successful careers. transfer” effects are likely to take time.
Viewed from this perspective, profi ciency Wagner T, (2008) The Global Achievement
in using technology for such contemporary Conclusions Gap.
tasks as searching the Internet, creating For the last four decades, researchers have
Wagner T, (June 11, 2009) Accountability
graphs and illustrations, and communicating given extensive attention to comparing the
2.0, Education Week, retrieved July 15,
through multimedia presentations has effectiveness of computers and teachers in
2009 from
become an essential educational outcome, improving test scores. Given the essential
much like being profi cient in reading and goal of preparing today’s students for higher
fall 2009 Better: Evidence-based Education 21
Better(US) Fall09.indb 21 14/10/09 13:05:34
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