In 2002, when I was assistant superintendent of Arizona's Scottsdale Unified School District, we set a goal: to ensure all students and staff are proficient in the use of technology to acquire and manage information, communication, time, and task. With the NCLB Act mandating technology literacy by the time students reach the eighth grade, many districts are pursuing a similar objective.
To prepare for meeting this mandate, our district worked diligently to equip the school community with all the tools it would need to help the students achieve computer proficiency by the end of their eighth grade year. Scottsdale, a district serving 27,000 students, started the 2002-2003 school year with updated computer facilities, state-of-the-art media centers, a strong technology plan, and plenty of extra funding from the community. With all of these considerations in place, we seemed to be well on our way to achieving a significant goal.
So imagine the district's frustration and disappointment when the computer proficiency results were not as high as expected by year's end. Not enough of the district's eighth graders had passed the Scottsdale Computer Proficiency Test. The failure meant that each of those students would have to take an additional computer class in high school.
Scottsdale had made all the right moves, tackled all the obstacles, and even garnered community support to boot. So what went wrong? The answer came to us just in time for the start of the 2003-2004 school year.
The Missing Piece
We realized that despite adequate facilities, equipment, and funding, Scottsdale would not succeed in achieving computer proficiency without a technology literacy teaching tool. The missing piece was curriculum. We wanted a program to teach kids technology skills in a real-world context. And we wanted something that was teacher-friendly.
This article is available in its entirety in a variety of formats — Preview, Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF — on a pay-per-view basis, courtesy of ITI's InfoCentral. CLICK HERE.