3
January 2003 Workshop

FIRST TRANSFORMATION

The first session of the workshop focused on the discussion of the first transformation: the challenge of integrating cheap, fast, robust computers into instruction for every student in America. The session began with three presentations. Barbara Allen and Darryl LaGace described the LemonLINK project for integrating computers into instruction in the Lemon Grove School District in California. Steve Rappaport of Advanced Networks and Services discussed some of the requirements for using technology to improve student learning. Geneva Henry of Rice University discussed the Connexions Project for creating a repository of curriculum modules in science, engineering, and mathematics. These presentations were followed by comments by Cheryl Lemke of the Metiri Group and Wanda Bussey of Rufus King High School in Milwaukee.

Integrating Cheap, Fast, Robust Computers into Instruction for Every Student in Lemon Grove, CA

Barbara Allen, of Project LemonLINK,1 opened the workshop’s first presentation with the observation that although millions of dollars have

1  

Additional information about Project LemonLINK is available at: www.lgsd.k12.ca.us/lemonlink.



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3 January 2003 Workshop FIRST TRANSFORMATION The first session of the workshop focused on the discussion of the first transformation: the challenge of integrating cheap, fast, robust computers into instruction for every student in America. The session began with three presentations. Barbara Allen and Darryl LaGace described the LemonLINK project for integrating computers into instruction in the Lemon Grove School District in California. Steve Rappaport of Advanced Networks and Services discussed some of the requirements for using technology to improve student learning. Geneva Henry of Rice University discussed the Connexions Project for creating a repository of curriculum modules in science, engineering, and mathematics. These presentations were followed by comments by Cheryl Lemke of the Metiri Group and Wanda Bussey of Rufus King High School in Milwaukee. Integrating Cheap, Fast, Robust Computers into Instruction for Every Student in Lemon Grove, CA Barbara Allen, of Project LemonLINK,1 opened the workshop’s first presentation with the observation that although millions of dollars have 1   Additional information about Project LemonLINK is available at: www.lgsd.k12.ca.us/lemonlink.

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been spent trying to implement technology in classrooms across the country over the past 10 years, too much of the education community is still waiting for it to happen. She and colleague Darryl LaGace proceeded to draw on their experience in the Lemon Grove School District to identify obstacles they encountered and to share what they suggested is a promising approach to realizing the benefits of technology-rich curriculum and instruction that could be applied in other school districts. Lemon Grove is a community eight miles east of San Diego with 4,600 students in grades K-8, 60 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Approximately six years ago the district developed a vision for creating a truly connected learning community, with access to that community from anywhere in Lemon Grove, including classrooms, libraries, homes, and community centers. From the outset the designers of this on-line learning community saw easy and seamless access as pivotal to providing the same type of technology-enabled educational experience across all classrooms and to all students. Their initial target for access to hardware was a ratio of one conventional computer to four students. After more than a year into the plan, it became clear that the 1:4 computer-to-student ratio was not making a difference in instruction. The computers remained literally and figuratively peripheral, while the amount of time the hardware or software was unusable or required special attention reinforced concerns that this approach to instruction and learning was unreliable. Those involved with developing this learning community concluded that unless they could achieve at least a 1:2 computer-to-student ratio, the traditional model of teacher at the head of the class, lesson-driven education would remain firmly in place. Today Lemon Grove has achieved a ratio of 1:2 and, the presenters contended, a transformed system of teaching and learning. Allen and LaGace proceeded to summarize the multiple organizational, technical, and economic obstacles their community faced and the strategies they adopted to overcome them. First, Allen identified six challenges to integrating cheap, fast, robust computers into instruction for every student: reducing the cost of ownership; preparing teachers with high-quality, ongoing professional development; providing ready access to educational software linked to standards; involving parents and providing home access, including subsidized access; involving the people and organizations in the greater community whose buy-in is critical to achieve the vision and goals of the learning community; and, perhaps most importantly, justifying the cost of the effort by demonstrating the impact of the project on gains in student learning and achievement. Some of these challenges relate to school district organization and operations, while others are technical in nature. The critical district-level

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issues include the reality that effective district-wide implementation— every school, every classroom with equal access to resources—is rare. Traditional models of use and deployment that view technology as an intellectually and physically separate activity also hamper technology’s potential. Costs are also key: technical support for traditional computer installations is cost-prohibitive for many school districts, as is Internet connectivity. At the same time that costs are rising, most school districts’ dollars for connectivity, equipment, technical support, and professional development are shrinking. As a result, individual schools often are left to implement technology on their own rather than as an integrated district-wide effort. Next, LaGace introduced the equally difficult technical issues. First, there is no consensus or even a shared vision for what effective use of education technology looks like. Businesses producing technology have not understood the culture of schools well enough to adequately address their needs in the products and services they offer to the education community. Instead, education is expected to tweak equipment designed for other markets and users to make it work for schools. Lack of hardware and software standardization raises costs and creates challenges for effective professional development. Most IT departments in school districts lack expertise for planning, building, and maintaining a robust, cost-effective network and are not client oriented. Basing his comments on experiences from LemonLINK’s five-year implementation history LaGace turned to the key requirements for reaching the point at which all teachers in a district fully integrate technology into curriculum and instruction for daily use. These include equipment that is simple to operate (instant ON, like an appliance); fast, dependable connectivity; operation that is both reliable and predictable (e.g., technical support is readily available); tools that allow teachers to locate quality electronic resources that are aligned with standards; and electronic delivery of lessons, instructional materials, and resources that is easy to organize. Most important, he emphasized, is “access, access, access.” However, if access is defined as a minimum 1:2 computer-to-student ratio, then he acknowledged that access is likely to be cost-prohibitive for the approach to computer use taken by most school districts. This is especially true when the total cost of ownership of hardware, peripherals, and software is taken into account. Associated with such ownership are costs for deploying, operating, and maintaining a computer network over a period of time, including connectivity, network hardware, workstations, technical

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support, staff development, repairs, replacement, upgrades, software purchases, and ongoing licensing fees. For LemonLINK, fiscal realities made it essential to drive down both the costs and the complexity of the technology. LemonLINK approached the cost issues proactively through a broad array of partnerships in order to develop a cost-effective model for computer use in schools that was not already being provided by the market. The design team took the initiative to identify the kinds of capabilities they needed and to develop their technologically based learning community as a business proposition in ways that would appeal to potential partners. Obvious partners included hardware, software, and networking providers, such as Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and Citrix. The plan also involved working with Cox Communications, the town’s local cable provider, for home connectivity. Finally, higher education institutions, including the University of California, San Diego, helped to round out their partnership strategy. Until the market provides ready access to a cost-effective model for computer use, other school districts may find it worthwhile to pursue such partnerships as well. In another innovative approach to offsetting costs, LemonLINK has contracted to provide network services to various public-sector organizations in the community. In a prescient move 10 years ago, the district erected a communications tower, which now sends video, voice, and data across its private network, not only to the schools but also to the City of Lemon Grove, local fire departments, the community center, the recreation department, the teen center, the senior center, and the nearby charter high school, which is attended by 60 percent of Lemon Grove’s graduates. Thus the district’s technology budget, only about 1.9 percent of its general fund,2 is supplemented by revenues generated from providing these services. And the community benefits from a growing, integrated, and seamless network. Centralized network design is a key factor in LemonLINK’s cost structure and effectiveness. The district’s technology center allows multiple district organizations to share resources as well as to process and store data that can be accessed across the network. Because everyone’s programs and data reside at the center, students and staff can be anywhere— such as at a school, in different classrooms, the local community center, or 2   For comparison, the second survey of district technology coordinators conducted by the Milken Family Foundation during the 1998-1999 academic year found that on average districts spent 3.6 percent of their operating budget and 5.1 percent of their capital budget on technology (Milken Family Foundation, 1999). The survey was based on responses from nearly 3,800 districts in 27 states. The study found an average computer-to-student ratio in 1998-1999 of 1:18.5 for computers capable of accessing the Internet.

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at home—and still access and manipulate their information. The centralized design concept also enables the data center to serve multiple independent organizations without the need to implement or support locally installed servers or network resources. All that is needed at a school or facility is a local area network (LAN) that can connect workstations back to the data center. The center’s high availability is achieved through cluster technologies and mirrored locations. A 30 terabyte storage area network (SAN) allows teachers practically unlimited space to develop and maintain on-line curricula. Each student has a one gigabyte of space to store daily work as well as maintain an ongoing portfolio of final works. The LemonLINK plan to supply abundant access to technology necessarily moved away from just putting more and more computers in the classroom. Instead, the district began installing smaller, cheaper network appliances known as “thin clients.” By purchasing thin clients at $389 each instead of $1,500 for a multimedia station, the district dramatically increased access. This innovative approach has allowed LemonLINK to install three times more equipment in schools with the same budget allocation, and it was the key factor in attaining both the 1:2 ratio and the instant-on capability that allow teachers to focus on instruction rather than technology. While the interface is the same as that for a PC, a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor, the thin client workstation doesn’t have all the complex and expensive components of a typical PC. Most thin clients don’t have any moving parts and have instant-on capabilities. Their programs and data come from “slices” of memory and processor power from a terminal services farm located at the data center. Bandwidth-intensive applications, such as streaming video, can also be viewed directly from the thin clients through LAN connections using a locally based web browser and media player. To provide for full computing capabilities, each classroom is also equipped with several multimedia workstations. LemonLINK made an early strategic decision to get away from having schools or teachers purchase specific applications, many of which were often poorly aligned with district learning standards or were difficult to operate. Instead, LemonLINK adopted a district-wide approach whereby everyone has access to the same library of software. Currently, 15 applications are supported throughout the district. This approach has proven both effective and efficient in terms of training and support. Moreover, teachers easily share how they are using technology across schools in the district and across classrooms in schools. Technical support at the classroom level is provided on site in each school one day per week. Technical support staff participate in professional development meetings so they understand the realities of employing information technology in classroom settings. However, many technical support problems can be solved remotely. Phones in each classroom allow teachers to call the

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support center when a technical problem arises and receive remote help immediately, without having to submit work orders. Staff development was designed to parallel the phased installation of the technology over the past five years. During each year of the installation period, approximately 20 percent of the teachers were provided with 100 hours of initial training, including short workshops on applications, teacher-to-teacher collaborations, observation, and hands-on use of technology in classrooms. Additional professional development is provided on an ongoing basis at the building and district levels. What have been the results in terms of student learning? About half-way through the implementation phase, LemonLINK’s outside evaluator took a very close look at student performance scores from the Stanford-9 and API state assessment data (Snyder, 2000). Roughly half the schools and students had access to technology at the desired 1:2 ratio, and their teachers were trained to use the equipment and software; the other half had not yet reached these goals. The results, reported Allen, were “astounding”: students who had access to the technology did better across the board than students who did not. In some cases, she reported that the differences were striking. Matched scores on every student also allowed them to observe solid year-to-year improvements for individual students, including various subgroups, again with significant advantage to those in technology-rich classrooms. When teachers saw the results, they became far more interested in learning to use those tools in their own classrooms. Student engagement has also benefited. In response to a question about whether technology has changed structural practices in the schools, LaGace reported on an extensive series of observations that were conducted in a recent tour of over 60 district classrooms. The object of those observations was not to observe the lessons being conducted, but rather to observe the students and what they were doing. At that time about 70 percent of classrooms were participating fully in the technology, while in about 30 percent of cases, teachers were not quite convinced of the efficacy of integrating technology into their classrooms. LaGace reported that the differences observed were striking: in the technology-rich classrooms students were engaged with their work and progressing at their own rates, collaboration was taking place, and teachers were providing instruction tailored to individual students. In the classrooms in which technology was not being used, the traditional model of teaching and learning was striking by contrast: teachers at the front of the room writing on the white board, students nodding off or otherwise distracted. Allen also added that the configuration of the classroom has had to change: computers are now on classroom desks, not at the back of the room. The technology is part of the learning process every day, always available for searching information on a topic under discussion in class.

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As technology has become a working tool in the classroom, the teacher is no longer up front but working with students as a facilitator, helping them to gain knowledge in many different ways. Lessons have changed as well. Instead of starting with lessons that are linked to subject matter in textbooks, many teachers begin with large ideas. They then use those larger concepts to bring students to desired levels of learning through designated activities that use technology and related resources to get there. Textbooks become supplements in many cases. 3 Finally and most importantly, according to Allen and LaGace, access to the technology and learning does not end with the school day. Currently 15 percent of district families have on-line access through LemonLINK’s thin clients. With newly developed web-based access (http://mylearningportal.com), LemonLINK expects the percentage of students and families with LAN and Internet access to double as home computers connect to the network. The district also provides every student who scores below the 40th percentile on state standardized tests with a thin client for home at no cost for 12 months as an academic intervention. The LemonLINK team shared several additional insights in response to questions: Recruitment of new teachers: Over the five-year implementation period, teachers both retired and left the district. As new teachers have been recruited, LemonLINK is seeing a different kind of candidate. An increasingly important factor of their recruitment efforts is that teacher candidates research the school district on the web and report that they are choosing to apply to Lemon Grove because of its use of technology. One indicator is that these new teachers are themselves more technologically savvy, being able to pick up on the technology and move to a functioning level quickly—in 6 months compared with the 18 months for teachers who had participated in the 100-hour professional development program. Their interview process also emphasizes candidate compatibility with the technology-rich environment. Experimental process in developing LemonLINK: Another question concerned LemonLINK’s response to experiments in the development process that did not work. Allen was clear:if something is not working, they stop doing it. LemonLINK admits to itself and to its partners when something does not work. She emphasized that doing so is not synonymous with failure. Rather, continuing to spend lots of money without any results constitutes failure. If those who are directly involved with a project 3   See Kaput and Hegedus (2002) for a discussion of some ways that classroom connectivity can allow new types of learning and teaching opportunities.

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can admit to themselves that that something did not really work, they can try to understand why and learning becomes possible. Disseminating information about LemonLINK to others: LemonLINK has received numerous visitors from other school districts. The utility of those visits depends on the kinds of people the other districts send. A team that represents different perspectives and is able to look at the challenges from different angles has a much better chance of reliably communicating what they saw and translating what they learned into action in their home districts. LemonLINK tries to focus visitors on the things that have really made a difference—what their presentation at this workshop addressed. Visitors will see the data center and the technical aspects that make the network work. But they will also see that the technical office and the curriculum/staff development/instructional methodologies offices are collocated, allowing for daily conversations. The staffs function as a team, unlike the situation for technology departments in most districts that are located apart from curriculum experts and may never have an opportunity to talk with them. Visitors also observe classrooms. By the time the visitors are finished, they should have the whole picture of what LemonLINK is and the results for teaching and learning. Once visitors return home, it is not uncommon for them to call two months later with more specific questions, especially those of a “How did you do that?” nature. LemonLINK does not have a manual that visitors can take back to their individual school boards. According to LaGace, the hardest thing for visitors to grasp is that LemonLINK is a long-term investment in change. Too often, they want to accomplish this transformation in 12 months. Curriculum and content in the LemonLINK system: A final question turned to curriculum content. LaGace reported that an increasing amount of content is web-based and the district’s own teachers are creating more and more content. In partnership with some companies, LemonLINK is working on easier ways to locate instructional materials for teachers that are aligned with standards and linked to appropriate grade levels. Planning for Two Transformations in Education and Learning Technology In the view of Steve Rappaport of Advanced Networks and Services, the transformation involved with integrating cheap, fast, robust computers into instruction for every student in America and ensuring that technology is integrated in ways that dramatically improve K-12 teaching and learning presents not one but two challenges. The first challenge is making technology widely available in schools and ensuring that the conditions for its effective use exist, especially technical support and professional development for teachers. The second challenge is leveraging those

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technological resources effectively in K-12 classrooms so that they achieve the ultimate goal of improving teaching and learning. While the two are related, each has its own issues and outcomes. The first challenge is making technology widely available and usable by students and teachers, and the principal issues concern the nature of, access to, support for, and cost of technology. Rappaport applauded LemonLINK’s successful formula for meeting his first challenge: making technology sufficiently affordable to be pervasive, reliable, well supported technically, and easy enough to use to be incorporated routinely into educational practice; and educating teachers so that they feel comfortable with technology and, more importantly, understand how to use technology effectively in their classrooms. He readily agreed that technology has the potential for changing the way we teach and learn. He cited examples including multimedia authoring tools that have been demonstrated to increase students’ means of expression, virtual tours of remote sites, simulations, and on-line collaborations. The ultimate goal, however, is to improve teaching and learning; merely placing technology in schools has a limited impact on student learning. All too often, technology is grafted onto existing teaching practices, so the result is educational practice that is technologically sophisticated but still fundamentally conventional. Rappaport pointed out that using PowerPoint instead of a blackboard or overhead projector for a presentation, for example, does not represent a fundamental shift in educational practice. Too many policy makers view the potential of technology to improve education through a lens that focuses on efficiency, believing that schools can achieve returns on the investment in technology in education that are similar to what many businesses have realized. He cautioned against confusing efficiency with effectiveness. Technology can make the education system more efficient in some respects, such as through improving the ability to assess student performance, marshal data in decision making, or communicate with stakeholders. For example, technology can offer significantly improved means of assessment, such as diagnostic instruments on handheld devices that allow ongoing formative assessment in classes in ways and at levels that simply cannot be achieved without technology. In addition, technology makes possible the aggregation and analysis of assessment data and hence evaluations of student performance at the school, district, state, and national levels, as well as the ability to disseminate information to parents and other stakeholders. As was also discussed by Barbara Allen and Darryl LaGace, Rappaport stated that some evidence also exists that technology can improve student achievement. Some studies, for example, have shown in-

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creases in student performance on standardized tests (e. g. , Honey et al., 1999; Mann et al., 1998). Other studies suggest that certain types of educational software can facilitate the acquisition of early literacy skills, such as reading comprehension and vocabulary development, and that other types of software can increase students’ understanding of mathematical and scientific concepts. But it is the effectiveness of schools—that is, the ability of students to learn in them—that must remain the principal concern; and it is unwarranted to assume that merely introducing technology into educational settings will produce the desired outcome of improvements in learning. Rappaport argued that the education community has failed to demonstrate clearly that technology can improve student learning. Furthermore, he contended, a compelling case has not yet been built because educators and policy makers are asking the wrong question. While the tendency is to focus on technology and ask whether its use is improving student achievement, it is educational practices and processes that determine how well students learn. He emphasized that technology is not a process but a tool through which educational practices are mediated. He then cited ThinkQuest,4 a program that his organization once operated, to illustrate this point. ThinkQuest, in which over 100,000 students from 125 countries have participated, is a large-scale example of project-based learning: several students form a team, intensively study a subject for several months, and then create a web site to reflect the knowledge they’ve acquired. Technology makes certain things possible in ThinkQuest that could not be done otherwise, and it is a powerful motivator for students to engage in their own education. But the educational practice that is at the heart of ThinkQuest is project-based learning: students researching subjects and working on projects reflecting the knowledge they’ve acquired, an educational practice that predates the introduction of technology. In ThinkQuest, students use technology to complete their project, but the end-product could have been a written paper, a play, or a diorama. ThinkQuest’s emphasis on project-based learning is the key, not technology. If technology is to make a contribution to improving student learning, it must be aligned with educational practices that are most likely to achieve desired learning goals. Unless educational goals are articulated first, policy makers and educators will never understand how to align technology with educational practice to realize the goal of improving student learning. For Rappaport, the key question at this juncture is whether, as a country, the United States wants to preserve educational 4   Additional information about ThinkQuest is available at: http://www.thinkquest.org/.

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practices in essentially their current forms and develop ways to employ technology to increase student achievement on standardized tests, or whether the nation instead wants to take this opportunity, made possible in part by technology, to transform education in ways that will achieve dramatic improvements in student learning. To address these questions, Rappaport argued that national organizations and the federal government must provide new leadership. A wide range of national organizations concerned with the state of education in the United States has a significant role to play in educating their constituencies and shaping the debate about the role of technology in K-12 education. Only with broad discussion among all stakeholders can a national consensus be established about the proper roles for technology in K-12 education that will allow progress on the required scale. The Consortium for School Networking,5 for example, recently formed an emerging technologies committee to educate K-12 school leaders about advances in technologies and innovative applications of them that may enhance teaching and learning as well as school administration and decision making. The committee will also address problems of implementing and owning emerging technologies in schools, including technical issues and the total cost of ownership. Rappaport emphasized that technology will not in itself change educational practice. It is on educational practice that efforts to improve student learning must focus. That is where the principal challenge lies. Rice University’s Connexions Project At the heart of Rice University’s Connexions Project is an electronic curriculum repository for concept-driven curriculum modules.6 The initial content has covered courses in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics. Newer content includes music and social sciences modules, with additional humanities materials currently in preparation. Most of the existing material has been developed for college-level courses, although some of the content in music has been developed for K-12, and the system would be broadly applicable to K-12 content in other subject areas. As Geneva Henry, executive director for Connexions, explained, the concentration on concepts was a creative response to one professor’s frustration 5   Founded nearly a decade ago to be an advocate for improving K-12 education with telecommunications and the Internet, the Consortium for School Networking represents technology decision makers at the school district, state, and national levels. For more information see http://www.cosn.org. 6   Additional information about the Connexions Project is available at: http://cnx.rice.edu/.

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support structure for education research so that each new education research project isn’t forced to reinvent the school-based partnerships necessary to carry out research. The requirements of such a research support structure have been described in the National Research Council’s study for a Strategic Education Research Partnership (National Research Council, 1999c, 2003). Next-Generation Educational Software Edward Lazowska of the University of Washington began his talk by discussing the numerous examples of failed predictions that technology would revolutionize education. These include predictions about the impacts of film, radio, and television. In each case, initial hype was followed by a struggle to produce material for the new medium, then by a more mature judgment about the capabilities of the medium, and finally by a sense of disappointment and cynicism. This cycle was renewed with each appearance of a new technology. Since computers have already passed through several stages of hype about their potential for affecting education, it is reasonable to ask why we should believe that this time will be any different. Lazowska discussed several reasons that he believes make this time particularly promising for the ability of information technology to have a substantial impact on K-12 education. First, he stressed the importance of the progress in the learning sciences over the past few decades. This work has not yet been effectively exploited by education in general or education technology in particular, leaving a huge opportunity for educational gains. Second, there is the tremendous power of the hardware advances that is typified by Moore’s law, which describes the doubling of transistor density on integrated circuits every couple of years. Although that progress is continuous, we tend not to notice it until it suddenly crosses some threshold. He cited the Internet as an example of this process, going through regular doublings since its inception in 1969 but not bursting into public consciousness until it reached a critical mass in about 1993. Third, he stressed the importance of networks and the Internet in connecting people, allowing exploration, interaction, and the creation of communities in ways that previous technologies have not allowed. Fourth, he observed that the education community is moving toward a more widespread understanding that the focus of education technology should be on teaching and learning, not on the technology itself. Finally, he noted that in the current sophisticated media environment, students are accustomed to engaging media and communication technologies. This level of comfort by users with the technology itself will provide a strong demand for learning environments that are more engaging than traditional instruction.

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Lazowska then turned to the kind of capabilities that are offered by information technology. First, he listed a number of capabilities that he described as “boring” because their function is straightforward. These capabilities include accessing information, publishing information, collaborating with others, building communities with others, improving class and school administration, adapting materials for learning disabled and physically disabled students, and making use of remote scientific instruments. Although the technologies involved in providing these capabilities are not particularly exotic, they can be used to provide a much more engaging learning experience for students and a broad base of support for teachers. Fundamentally, it is the provision of these “boring” capabilities that is at the heart of the first transformation, which must address huge deployment, integration, and support issues. He then discussed the more complex and “exciting” capabilities that technology can provide. One of these is the ability to create self-paced and adaptive learning systems. These offer the possibility of simulating the kind of effective intervention and personalized instruction that individual human tutors are able to provide, which has been shown to substantially increase student learning. Such systems also offer the possibility of incorporating ongoing formative assessment that would reduce the need to devote large portions of classroom time to student testing. Finally, technology offers capabilities for complex simulations, exploratories, and clip models. Lazowska illustrated this point with several examples of web-based models providing simulations of phenomena in physics.16 Later in his talk, he also mentioned the example of the Digital Human project, a sophisticated multilevel simulation of the human body that the Federation of American Scientists is trying to advance.17 The research in technology that was necessary to develop these more complex technological capabilities is substantial. Lazowska referred to these as “multidisciplinary grand challenge scale problems.” In contrast, it is instructive to compare the level of research in education as a fraction of total expenditures with that in other industries. For example, the semiconductor industry’s research share is over 80 times that of education.18 In the report on education of the President’s Information Technology 16   See http://www.forceandmotion.com. 17   Additional information about the Digital Human initiative is available at: http://www.fas.org/dh/index.html. 18   The report of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (1997, Section 8.4) noted that the United States in 1995 invested less than 0.1 percent of its spending for public K-12 education on research to determine what educational techniques work and how they can be improved. In contrast, the National Science Foundation (2002, Table A-20) reports that in 1999 the semiconductor industry invested 8.3 percent of its net sales on research and development.

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Advisory Committee (2001), the overriding recommendation was to make the effective integration of information technology with education and training a national priority. That report called for the establishment of a major research initiative for information technology in education and training. Lazowska stressed that this step has not yet been taken: the technology offers tremendous opportunities for the next generation, but a serious research and development effort that could realize those opportunities has not yet been achieved. Education Transformations Enabled by Technology Robert Tinker of the Concord Consortium focused his presentation on applied research and innovation that meld work in technology, the learning sciences, and educational practice. He argued that these form a crucial missing link between the earlier stages of basic research in cognitive science and new technology and the later stages of dissemination and professional development. This intermediate stage includes the development of educational applications and IT-based curricula, along with research specifically focused on implementation. This intermediate stage is essential to bring about the major advances in education that technology makes possible. However, such efforts currently are both underfunded and often entirely overlooked in policy debates. He stressed that meaningful change in classrooms does not come from a single development but instead from a series of insights and innovations that cascade and evolve from more basic to more applied research. Tinker described implementation research as being somewhat similar to medical field trials. Done correctly, it should include large numbers of students and teachers and focus on in-school studies. As an example, he described the Concord Consortium’s Modeling Across the Curriculum19 study of the use of computers to model different areas of science, which involves 13 schools and 10,000 students. The study employs a consistent approach to modeling across high school courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. It also uses random assignment of students into two different versions of the modeling approach, one more open-ended and the other more structured. The study has received $7 million in funding from the Interagency Education Research Initiative, a jointly supported project of the National Science Foundation, the U. S. Department of Education, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He stressed that this is the first time that this level of support has been supplied for this kind of serious implementation research. 19   Additional information about the Modeling Across the Curriculum study can be found at the Concord Consortium’s web site at: http://mac.concord.org/.

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In addition to inadequate support for implementation research, Tinker also noted that innovations themselves are not being funded. He outlined the funding structure and emphases of the Math/Science Partnerships, the various national laboratories, resources and systemic initiatives, and the Centers for Teaching and Learning. Although these efforts are important, they focus on implementing, disseminating, and providing professional development for innovations that already exist, not on creating new innovations. He likened this to funding the construction and employment of a big conveyor belt without offering support for developing the goods that would be placed on the belt. Such innovation research will not come from the researchers who are engaged in basic research or from business or from the schools. Tinker also described an idea that he called “education accelerators.” These would be interdisciplinary research centers for applied, school-centered research. The accelerators would promote, support, and study large-scale, theory-based change that is supported by existing research evidence. Because such large-scale change is inherently risky, the education accelerators would provide a system of insurance and assurance, with ongoing formative assessment built in to provide an early warning system that would mitigate the risks of change and make sure that any mistakes involving students would be quickly corrected. He envisions that such research centers would receive base funding for staff and for a general research agenda with 5-year renewable grants. However, the bulk of their funding would come primarily through peer-reviewed grants to affiliated institutions. Tinker concluded his remarks by outlining the level of funding that he believes would represent a balanced research agenda for research related to education technology. This research agenda would span the range from basic cognitive research to innovation in technology, software and curriculum, implementation research, a set of education accelerators, to human resource development at all levels. Box 3-2 reproduces his funding outline, giving an order of magnitude estimate of BOX 3-2 Funding Outline for a Balanced Research Agenda in Education Technology Basic cognitive research: 75 projects at $200K/year = $15 million/year Technology innovation: 50 projects at $500K/year = $25 million/year Software innovation: 50 projects at $1 million/year = $50 million/year Curriculum innovation: 50 projects at $1 million/year = $50 million/year Implementation research: 50 projects at $2 million/year = $100 million/year Education accelerators: 10 accelerators at $5 million/year = $50 million/year Human resource development: 200 projects at $50K/year = $10 million/year Total cost: $300 million/year for 10 years

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funding required for the different types of research. The outline shows that only one-third of the funding would be used to support the cognitive, technology, and software-related research that is typically thought to be the focus of education technology research. Two-thirds of the proposed funding would foster curriculum innovations and different types of implementation research that focus on the use of that technology in classrooms. Tinker finished his presentation by noting that this level of funding is small compared with the size of the education enterprise itself, and it is about the same order of magnitude as the current efforts being spent to implement, disseminate, and provide professional development for innovations that already exist. Despite the relatively modest size of this proposed investment, he believes it has the power to transform learning in K-12 education. Responses Nora Sabelli of SRI International spoke as an invited commentator. She stressed the importance of conducting research on the adaptation process that is central to change in education. In this context, she noted that it is unreasonable to expect teachers to aggregate pieces of curriculum from different software developers; such aggregation must be part of the solution that the research and development community provides. She also noted that the adaptation process in schools usually doesn’t involve a single innovation but rather a complex of innovations in curriculum, instructional materials, and pedagogy. As a result, it is important to think about aggregating innovations in ways that are easy for schools to adopt. In addition, Sabelli talked about the importance of carrying out long-term research to understand the processes of educational change. She argued that typical collaborations between a researcher and a set of teachers are so short and perfunctory that they are over before the researcher and the teachers adequately understand each other’s needs and potential for contributing to solutions to the problems that they should be addressing together. David Vogt of the New Media Innovation Center also spoke as an invited commentator. In his remarks, he stressed the importance of allowing students to own their learning experiences. He contrasted this “pull” model of education with the current “push” model in which students are not in control of their own learning experiences. He argued that introducing a dynamic push-pull tension into education would make an enormous difference in students’ enthusiasm and participation. As an example

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of work that would be relevant to a pull model, he briefly described industry entertainment research in gaming and collaboration that could be adapted to education. He argued that students already have a high level of sophistication with information technologies and that if they are not given control of their own educational experience, they will simply take that control on their own. KEY ENABLERS FOR THE SECOND TRANSFORMATION As was done for the first transformation, four breakout groups developed lists of key enablers after the presentations dealing with the second transformation. Participants then voted for their top two candidates. The complete list of key enablers transcribed from the poster board sheets of the breakout groups is included in Appendix B. This section briefly describes the top choices. Defining Goals for Research and Development to Improve Learning with Technology The discussion in one of the breakout groups identified the fundamental change required for the second transformation as the creation of an ongoing system that allows education to be continually improved through research. A leading candidate for a key enabler of this change was to define a set of targets for research and development that can motivate people, coupled with intermediate milestones to make it clear when progress has occurred. One important aspect of the definition of goals is that it be done in a way that engages the public so that there is broad public and policy support for a vision of the improvement in learning that is possible from research and development in the use of technology. Supporting Large-Scale and Long-Term Research and Development Efforts Several versions of this key enabler received support from a number of the participants. One version referred to targeted test beds that would focus on proof-of-concept support for the first transformation. Another version referred to the LENS partnerships discussed by Roy Pea in his presentation. A third version referred to the creation of technology parks whose mission would be to focus on the use of cognitive science and technology to improve education. These would be similar to university-industry partnerships in science, medicine, and engineering, with open sharing of intellectual property and involvement by teachers and graduate students.

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Developing New Assessments Several groups included versions of this key enabler, which recognizes the driving role played by assessment in the education system. One version mentioned the importance of conducting research and development on formative assessments, while another version mentioned moving beyond paper and pencil assessments. Some of the discussion mentioned the potential to use IT-supported tools to assess more complex 21st century skills, which would in turn allow greater emphasis to be placed on those skills in the curriculum. Creating a Functioning Market for Education Technology Several groups included key enablers addressing issues about the market for education technology that prevent research from being translated into goods and services. One group mentioned possible changes in the tax structure. The discussion in another group focused on creating a forum to reconcile the divergence in views between suppliers who argue that there is no coordination of requirements for purchasing and K-12 practitioners who argue that suppliers do not understand or care about their particular needs. Finding a resolution of this impasse could open a substantial market to industry while providing transformational tools to education practitioners. NEXT STEPS FOR THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES The final session of the workshop focused on a discussion of the ways that the National Academies could partner with teachers, industry, learning researchers, and policy groups to help bring about the two transformations in the use of information technology to improve learning. The session began with invited comments by Milton Goldberg of the Education Commission of the States, Marshall Smith of the Hewlett Foundation, Terry Rogers of Advanced Networks and Services, and Michael Feuer of the National Research Council. Following their individual comments, the discussion was opened to all workshop participants. The following summary of six suggestions integrates the invited comments of the different speakers along with the general discussion. This format brings together related comments that were made at different times by different speakers. Assessing Effective IT Uses and Tools A number of the participants commented that it would be useful for the National Academies to identify effective uses of IT in K-12

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education and raise awareness about promising IT tools that have been developed but are not widely known or used by schools.20 Marshall Smith noted that there are a number of high-quality and highly effective IT tools available that educators do not know about and therefore do not use. Henry Kelly of the Federation of American Scientists noted that one of the comparative advantages of the National Academies is in being able to serve as a neutral arbiter in identifying what is new and different about these particular tools. In addition, Smith suggested that the National Academies could conduct design projects related to important areas, such as English-language learning, to describe how existing IT capabilities could be combined to meet pressing educational needs. Milton Goldberg spoke about the importance of disseminating information from existing National Research Council reports that relate to the use of IT to improve learning. He suggested that it would be useful to form partnerships with constituent groups to explore ways to make the information in such reports more widely accessible. In addition, he underlined the importance in the current budget climate of helping state policy makers understand what technology can do to improve education. Larry Snowhite of Houghton Mifflin Company suggested that it would be helpful for the National Academies to work jointly with policy makers and industry to facilitate the application of research findings to the development of educational materials. Several other participants argued that the National Academies could play a useful role in identifying the IT tools that are available and defining some criteria for the adoption of those tools. Roy Pea spoke about the possibility of using the convening power of the National Academies to provide a way for the publishing and research communities to work together. Identifying Policies That Promote Effective Use of IT In addition to identifying effective IT uses and tools, some participants noted that the National Academies can help identify policies that facilitate or hinder the use of those IT uses and tools. One aspect of helping to identify policies that promote effective use of IT would be to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of various IT approaches, along with research that demonstrates the effectiveness of employing IT to improve learning. Goldberg argued that this is an important role for the National Acad- 20   It has been pointed out that there would be value in developing a theory and related frameworks that would be predictive of the uses of technology in different ways. One example of such a theory is the Evidence Centered Design model (Mislevy et al., 2003) that is being operationalized by the Education Testing Service and other investigators.

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emies to play. As a negative example, Michael Feuer discussed one of the side effects of accountability testing, which is to hinder the ability of teachers to use more creative approaches in their teaching if they aren’t convinced those approaches will lead to direct improvements in test scores. This comment echoed the earlier comment by Cheryl Lemke that the pressure of high-stakes tests often leads teachers to reduce creative uses of technology. Defining a Research Agenda Kelly noted that one of the areas of comparative advantage for the National Academies is in defining a research agenda. There were many other comments that referred to the importance of defining a research agenda while stressing the importance of focusing that agenda on issues of particular concern. Goldberg suggested a focus on the achievement gap as a way of defining a research agenda for the use of technology in education that addresses issues that people care about. Smith noted that providing accommodation in special education is the one area in which technology already has had a large impact.21 He argued that a research agenda for the use of IT in K-12 education should be focused on similar targeted areas, such as reducing the achievement gap and using speech and language technologies to help English language learning. Steve Rappaport agreed that there had been far too little emphasis in the workshop discussion on people who have been left behind. Roy Pea discussed the inclusion provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, arguing that they provide an opportunity for researchers, industry, and teachers to come together to find ways to use technology to improve the learning of those students who have not been making adequate progress with more traditional approaches to teaching and learning. Terry Rogers provided a different theme for focusing a research agenda: he argued that it would be helpful to identify the hard questions that must be answered to realize the dream of using IT to transform K-12 education. As one example, he suggested the question of defining the teacher’s role in an educational environment that takes full advantage of technology’s ability to personalize the learning experience for students. 21   In many ways, the coming together of researchers, IT developers, teachers, and parents, focused on improving learning opportunities for special education students, exemplifies the kind of community building that the committee hopes can be applied in other efforts to employ technology to advance student achievement.

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Identifying Research Designs for Testing IT Applications That Are Appropriate to Different Types of Research Questions Feuer discussed the current policy focus on scientifically based research in education and suggested that the National Academies could help construct appropriate research designs for demonstrating the effectiveness of IT applications. Goldberg elaborated on this point to note the importance of understanding when a clinical trials approach is appropriate and helping to communicate that importance to local policy makers who would be involved in such trials. Several participants argued that it is important to think carefully about appropriate research designs in relation to the speed of technological change. Pea discussed the difficulty of producing relevant results with long-term research designs when the technology being tested is changing rapidly. Smith noted the difficulties involved in a proposed clinical trial of computer tutors that would not have completed testing until the underlying technology was a decade old. Investigating Market Failures in Education Technology There is widespread and long-standing concern that the market for education technology is broken in some fundamental ways. Feuer noted that the former Office of Technology Assessment issued a report in 1988 that made this claim. Snowhite spoke about the frustration that publishers feel in dealing with the education market, because of the uncertainty introduced in spending decisions by political pressures. Rogers commented on the wide gulf separating the expectations of practitioners and industry representatives for education technology products. He argued that it would be helpful for the National Academies to carefully investigate this market failure and to broker a new understanding between industry and K-12 education about their respective needs. He referred to the morning’s discussion of the LemonLINK project as an inspiring example because of the project’s decision to negotiate with industry to obtain hardware and services that would work for them. He suggested that the National Academies could play an important role by focusing on difficulties with the market for education technology and identifying solutions that have been proposed. Applying Research on Organizational Change to Understand Change in K-12 Education Rogers discussed the separation of researchers and teachers in K-12 education. In particular he commented on the lack of ownership felt by K-12 practitioners in the current body of education research, which is

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perceived as coming from outside the community it is attempting to influence. He contrasted this separation with the organizational research literature on how innovations are developed and used and how organizations evolve and make progress. He stressed that there are important lessons to be learned from this literature, many of which are probably applicable to research in education. In particular, he argued that the literature shows that innovations are unlikely to be successful when the people who implement them are entirely separate from the researchers who design them. Although a gulf between researchers and practitioners can also arise in industry, there are usually management structures in industry that attempt to bridge the gap. No corresponding organizational structure works to bridge the gap between research and practice in education. In general, the comments discussed during this final session of the workshop indicated that participants believe there is an important ongoing role for the National Academies to play in helping to bring about the two transformations in the use of information technology to improve learning in K-12 education. These comments share an agreement that the convening power of the National Academies can bring clarity to a number of difficult issues related to the use of IT in K-12 education. At the same time, participants were concerned that the National Academies find ways to bring together researchers, teachers, and industry representatives so that the findings from National Research Council studies can be effectively used by the entire community.