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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop Improving Learning with Information Technology Report of a Workshop Steering Committee on Improving Learning with Information Technology Gail E. Pritchard, Editor Center for Education Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, DC
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. R303U000001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-08413-X Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242or (202) 334-3313(in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Suggrested citation: National Research Council. (2002). Improving learning with information technology: Report of a workshop. Steering Committee on Improving Learning with Information Technology. G.E. Pritchard (Ed.), Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop STEERING COMMITTEE ON IMPROVING LEARNING WITH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ROY PEA (Cochair), Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA WM. A. WULF (Cochair), National Academy of Engineering, Washington, DC MIRIAM MASULLO, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY JAMES W. PELLEGRINO, University of Illinois at Chicago LOU PUGLIESE, Consultant, Herndon, VA KEVIN AYLESWORTH, Study Director SUSAN GOLDMAN, Special Consultant, University of Illinois at Chicago JAY LABOV, Deputy Director GAIL E. PRITCHARD, Program Officer TINA WINTERS, Research Assistant TERRY HOLMER, Senior Project Assistant DOUG SPRUNGER, Senior Project Assistant
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop COMMITTEE ON IMPROVING LEARNING WITH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ROY PEA (Cochair), Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA WM. A. WULF (Cochair), National Academy of Engineering, Washington, DC BARBARA ALLEN, Project LemonLINK, Lemon Grove, CA EDWARD R. DIETERLE II, Northwestern High School, Mitchellville, MD DAVID DWYER, Apple Computer, Inc., Palo Alto, CA LOUIS GOMEZ, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL AMY JO KIM, NAIMA, El Granada, CA EDWARD D. LAZOWSKA, University of Washington, Seattle, WA MIRIAM MASULLO, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY JAMES W. PELLEGRINO, University of Illinois at Chicago LOU PUGLIESE, Consultant, Herndon, VA MARSHALL S. SMITH, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Menlo Park, CA BOB TINKER, Concord Consortium, Concord, MA DAVID VOGT, Brainium.com, Vancouver, BC, Canada BARBARA WATKINS, Chicago Public Schools LINDA WILSON, International SEMATECH, Austin, TX KEVIN AYLESWORTH, Study Director SUSAN GOLDMAN, Special Consultant, University of Illinois at Chicago HERB S. LIN, Senior Scientist, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences TIMOTHY READY, Senior Program Officer, Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences and Education GAIL E. PRITCHARD, Program Officer TINA WINTERS, Research Assistant TERRY HOLMER, Senior Project Assistant DOUG SPRUNGER, Senior Project Assistant
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop Acknowledgments The ILIT steering committee would like to thank the many symposium participants listed in Appendix A. The frank and vigorous discussions contributed greatly to the subsequent deliberations of the ILIT committee. The committee welcomes these participants to its larger community of interested parties and invites them and others to “continue the conversation” by participating on the ILIT website, <http://www.nrcilit.org>. The committee would also like to commend the representatives of successful partnership projects engaging these three communities who attended the meeting and shared the histories of their programs. Barbara Allen and Darryl LaGace shared their insight in developing and managing Project LemonLINK, based in Lemon Grove, California, which focuses on high-speed connectivity; equitable, adequate access to resources; development of web-based instructional tools; and ongoing professional development for teachers. Fred Carrigg and students Steven Perez and José Marrero talked about the transformation of the Union City, New Jersey, public schools from a failing system to a national exemplar. The Chicago City Science program was presented by Barbara Watkins, then principal of James McCosh Elementary School (now chief education officer of the Chicago public schools); Irene DaMota, principal of Roberto Clemente High School; and Louis Gomez, associate professor at Northwestern University. James Kaput of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, explained the goals of the SimCalc project, which aims to introduce powerful mathematical ideas early by using techniques that tap into children's natural abilities.
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop Finally, the evening of January 24, 2001, John Bransford, Vanderbilt University, and Nora Sabelli, University of Texas at Austin, provided overviews of the report How People Learn and K-12 education issues, respectively, as context for subsequent symposium work. Within the NRC, the committee would like to thank Kevin Aylesworth, senior program officer and study director in the Center for Education (CFE), for his able guidance as study director of this project, and Jay Labov, deputy director of the CFE, for his general oversight. Susan Goldman, now at the University of Illinois at Chicago but originally at Vanderbilt University's Learning Technology Center, is a special consultant to the project and has provided counsel and suggestions on many of its facets. Herb Lin, senior scientist at the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, and Timothy Ready and Suzanne Donovan, senior program officers in the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, provided additional guidance and perspective from their respective communities. The steering committee extends its deep appreciation to David Sibbet, president of the Grove Consultants International, for his talented and creative moderating of many of the symposium sessions. Thanks are also due Terry Holmer, CFE senior project assistant, for her capable logistical coordination of the workshop and committee meetings. Doug Sprunger, CFE senior project assistant, has the considerable task of creating and maintaining the ILIT committee's online presence, including its website and discussion log. Tina Winters, CFE research assistant, has been instrumental in identifying and organizing research for the project. Finally, Gail Pritchard, CFE program officer, has had the chief responsibility of distilling the rich discussions of the workshop into this summary report, which will be used to launch future discussions with other colleagues interested in improving American education with information technology. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Carol E. Edwards, National Foundation for
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop the Improvement of Education, Washington, DC; Janet L. Kolodner, Georgia Institute of Technology; Ronald M. Latanision, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; James W. Serum, Viaken Systems, Inc., Gaithersburg, MD; and Gary Smith, Montgomery County Public Schools, MD. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Scott Stowell, Spokane Public Schools. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for ensuring that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Roy Pea and Wm. A. Wulf, Cochairs Committee on Improving Learning with Information Technology
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop Contents PREFACE xiii INTRODUCTION: TRANSFORMING K-12 EDUCATION WITH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 1 1 INITIAL ILIT ACTIVITY: A SYMPOSIUM 3 Timing Is Everything, 3 Committee Goals, 8 Evening Sessions, 11 Opening Comments: Participant Observations Concerning Obstacles and Challenges, 14 Exemplars: It Can Be Done, 21 2 SYMPOSIUM ACTIVITY: FORGING A COMMON LANGUAGE, BUILDING ALLIANCES 29 Activity Background and Scope, 29 3 CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION 47 The ILIT Committee's Charge to the Nation, 47 Next Steps, 48 Solicitations and Requests, 53 REFERENCES 55 APPENDIX A: SYMPOSIUM PARTICIPANT LIST 59 APPENDIX B: SYMPOSIUM AGENDA 65
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop Preface Throughout the 1990s, the United States enjoyed the longest peace-time expansion of its economy in history, fueled in large measure by innovation in information technology (IT) and the expanded applications of IT into other sectors of society. However, most of these technologies —and the genius, creativity, and financial and intellectual capital that have undergirded them—have focused nearly exclusively on industrial needs and applications and the entertainment sector, while specific applications for the educational realm have been largely neglected.1 Even so, fueled substantially by E-rate funding,2 public schools in the United States spent 1 See President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, 1997, and President 's Information Technology Advisory Committee, 1999. 2 The School and Libraries Program— often called the "E-rate"— provides support for eligible schools and libraries to help offset the cost of advanced telecommunications services. Since its inception, the E-rate program fas provided about $2 billion to schools and libraries. Eligible schools and libraries receives discounts ranging from 20 to 90 percent telecommunications services, including local and long-distance service, internet access, and internal connection projects such as wiring and networking schools and libraries to facilitate the use of advanced telecommunications technology. The amount of discount available to a school or library is determined by the income lavel of students in the community and whether the location is urban or rural. Income lavel for a school or district is measured by the percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Applicants for the E-rate assistance must develop an approved "technology plan" explaning how acquiring advanced technologies or discounts on existing technologies will help them in their day-to-day operations or in fulfilling the goals of their organizations. For more information, see <http://www.sl.universalservice.org>.
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop nearly $6 billion on technology during the 1999-2000 school year alone (Carvin, 2000). In spring 2000, representatives from the U.S. Department of Education (DOEd) and senior staff at the National Research Council (NRC) recognized a common frustration: that the potential of information technology to transform K-12 education remains unrealized. School-initiated efforts to improve teaching and learning through the use of IT have largely been devoid of input from cognitive sciences3 research, which has elucidated modern principles of human learning and their implications for improving education (e.g., the NRC's 1999 report, How People Learn). Meanwhile, computing power is increasing while costs are significantly decreasing. This combination—knowing more about how people learn, combined with a continuing trajectory of greater computing power at a much lower price—provides the essential elements to tackling the challenge of creating effective information technologies for educational purposes. In fall 2000 the U.S. DOEd formally requested that the National Academies undertake an interdisciplinary project called Improving Learning with Information Technology (ILIT) to meld expertise among practitioners in the chief domains: experts in the cognitive and learning sciences who have explored the practical uses of IT in education; practitioners in the education community who understand the opportunities and the challenges for the ways in which educators can most effectively organize their working lives and carry out their many tasks, particularly in the face of changing demands for knowledge creating and handling skills in the new economy (Marshall and Tucker, 1992), and hardware, software, and applications developers who are committed to improving education. The hardware sector can adapt its commercial equipment to better meet the organizational, financial, and technological constraints of the K-12 community. Software and applications developers can develop new tools or new applications for existing tools that can be used productively in the education domain. 3 Throughout this report, the terms “learning sciences” and “cognitive sciences” are used interchangeably to refer to the body of knowledge about how people learn.
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop For the first phase, the following three goals were identified:4 to establish ongoing dialogue and interactions among the technology, learning and cognition, and education practitioner communities for the purpose of improving education for all learners through the development and appropriate uses of modern technology; to find ways to incorporate the knowledge base, research findings, and innovations from each of these communities into coherent strategic approaches to developing education technologies; and to offer information so that the end users of education technologies can make better informed decisions about the purchase, use, and maintenance of these technologies and, in addition, can develop the capacity to offer the kinds of professional development programs that will enable teachers to use education technologies in ways that can transform teaching and learning. Wm. A. Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering and professor of computer science at the University of Virginia, and Roy Pea, professor of education at Stanford University (and formerly of SRI International), agreed to serve as cochairs of the project. Following the appointment of a small steering committee, the project was launched with a symposium on January 24-25, 2001 (see Appendix A for the participant list and Appendix B for the symposium agenda). Subsequent to the symposium, the second phase of the project included appointing a full committee to undertake continued deliberations on this issue. The committee is composed of 16 people who are leading experts in the fields of cognition and learning, education practice, information technology, community building, and technology roadmapping. The committee will have several deliberative meetings, solicit the input of other experts, and host additional workshops and meetings to draw local and regional issues into the national picture. In addition to this report of the opening symposium, the committee will produce a final report (anticipated to be available in December 2002). The second major activity of the committee was a work 4 Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this project, it was organized and implemented collaboratively by the National Research Council 's Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, and the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences.
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Improving Learning with Information Technology: Report of a Workshop shop in December 2001 to further the community-building process and to begin roadmapping the issue. The final activity of the committee will be a major symposium in fall 2002; this symposium will bring the community together again for the purpose of building a standing body of experts to monitor learning with information technology and to plan future activities as appropriate. In addition to the reports to be produced, another committee product will be an interactive website to promote the growth of the community. This report summarizes the proceedings of the symposium and is intended for people interested in considering better strategies for using information technology in the educational arena. While it offers insights from the presenters on both the challenges to and the opportunities for forging a better dialogue among learning scientists, technologists, and educators, it does not contain conclusions or recommendations. Rather, it highlights issues to consider, constituents to engage, and strategies to employ in the effort to build a coalition to harness the power of information technologies for the improvement of American education. Every effort has been made to convey the speakers' content and viewpoints accurately. Recognizing the speculative nature of many of the speaker contributions, most attributions identify a speaker by area of expertise rather than by name. The report reflects the proceedings of the workshop and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all the issues involved in the project to improve learning with information technology.