The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) have released the following statement in response to a U.S. Department of Education study, titled "Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products." The study reported that 15 educational software products reviewed had no measurable impact on student performance outcomes. The three organizations urge readers to scrutinize the findings carefully, as even the Department states that the study "was not designed to assess the effectiveness of educational technology across its entire spectrum of uses ... "
"In the past five years, emerging interactive media have provided ways to bring new, more powerful pedagogies and content to classrooms," said Dr. Chris Dede, Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies at Harvard University. "This study misestimates the value of information and communication technologies by focusing exclusively on older approaches that do not take advantage of current technologies and leading edge educational methods."
"It is important to remember that educational software, like textbooks, is only one tool in the learning process. Neither can be a substitute for well- trained teachers, leadership, and parental involvement," said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN.
"Modern information tools and digital content prove their value in schools all across the country every day when implemented, supported and assessed appropriately. We should support these effective approaches in the learning process because they provide students with the skills and resources they need to succeed in 21st century work and civic life," said Don Knezek, CEO of ISTE.
"Across the nation, educators are using a range of learning technologies to transform teaching and learning and improve student achievement. We have solid evidence that these efforts are working," said Mary Ann Wolf, Executive Director of SETDA.
Several scientifically-based studies funded by the U.S. Department of Education and conducted by independent research organizations show the positive impact technology is making to enhance learning and instruction and improve performance.
In Utah, Missouri and Maine, the eMINTS program, which provides schools and teachers with education technology, curriculum and over 200 hours of professional development, was responsible for students in the eMINTS classroom achieving over 10 to 20 percentage points higher than students in the control classroom. Additionally, in Iowa, after connecting teachers with sustainable professional development and technology-based curriculum interventions, student scores increased by 14 percentage points in 8th grade math, 16 points in 4th grade math, and 13 points in 4th grade reading, when compared with control groups.
The organizations agree that technology has fundamentally transformed every sector in the United States economy. Parents understand the need for technology in schools, and kids live in a digitally-rich world. There is no question that our schools should reflect these realities. As we consider America's competitiveness, we cannot allow one narrow study to derail the progress technology is making in education in our 21st Century global economy.
Source: Consortium for School Networking, www.cosn.org