Washington, DC — The end is near for the one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning that has dominated American schools for most of the past century.

Instead, that outdated model must be replaced by schools designed to better support individualized instruction enhanced by technology, as detailed in the Winter 2007 issue of Threshold: Exploring the Future of Education.

"We are at a point in history where we can finally begin to realize long-held aspirations for individualization in our schools," said Dr. Helen Soulé, executive director, Cable in the Classroom. "As a former teacher, I understand the challenge of reaching each and every student with limited time and resources. The tools that are available to track student learning, modify lessons, empower parents, and leverage learning outside the classroom are going to make a huge difference in the lives of the students of today and tomorrow."

The research has been clear for decades: individual students learn through different learning styles; at different paces; and through various physical, emotional, and environmental challenges and limitations. They also learn with different interests and passions, and to varying degrees of success in different social and physical environments.

"Our [education] system has fallen decades behind the societal advances in technology, in our understanding of how children learn, and in the demographic composition of our country," wrote Jeff Rice in the Threshold article, A New Model for 21st-Century Education. "We can no longer afford to be a public education system with essentially the same design as devised in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to determine factory workers from college-bound students."

The Winter 2007 issue of Threshold, produced by Cable in the Classroom and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), is available online at: www.ciconline.org/threshold. The issue on personalized education features the following:

* Personalization strategies and tools for teachers

* A discussion with education experts on personalization, technology and their hopes for the future, also available as a podcast (via
kidscablelearning.blogspot.com or iTunes)

* Personal computing for students

* How to use assessment tools to personalize instruction

*A professional development model program from New Mexico

What is the role of technology?

In this issue´s Threshold Forum, leading educational thinkers discuss the current state of personalization, how technology plays a role, and what they foresee for students and teachers. One of the main themes to arise is that technology makes it possible for teachers to allow individual students to learn what they want and how they want–and reach state standards at the same time.

Instead of thinking of technology as a new teaching tool, these experts suggest that our society sees technology as a self-directed learning tool.

And not only is the technology different, the way today´s young people learn is different. "They are wired differently, they look at the world differently, and they solve problems differently," said David Warick, director, The Landmark Project. "One of the things we have to realize is that for the first time in history, we are preparing our kids for a future that we can´t describe."

Who is on the cutting edge?

Mapping the Future profiles six programs that serve as examples to educators and parents on how to best incorporate wireless handhelds, technology training, and data monitoring software into everyday learning and teaching practices.

An article on 1:1 laptop programs in several Crawfordsville, Indiana schools shows how access to technology can inspire teachers to design and assign challenging projects–and give students the freedom to explore meaningful topics. The combination of laptops and problem-based learning gave these students the skills, tools, and confidence to–in this case–become advocates for school, social, and environmental causes.

Threshold: Exploring the Future of Education is a forward-looking quarterly journal for district, state, and national education leaders. Launched in 2003, it features nationally-recognized experts offering provocative ideas, opinions, and research at the intersection of education and technology. The content for each issue is developed in partnership with a leading education organization with a stake and expertise in the topic at hand, meaning readers are guaranteed
authoritative perspectives on the key educational issues of the day. Current and past issues can be found here: http://www.ciconline.org/threshold.

Cable in the Classroom (CIC), the cable industry´s education foundation, works to expand and enhance learning for children and youth. Created in 1989 to help schools take advantage of educational cable programming and technology, CIC has become a leading national advocate for media literacy education and for the use of technology and media for learning, as well as a valuable resource of educational cable content and services for policymakers, educators and industry leaders.

For more information about Cable in the Classroom please visit:
www.ciconline.org.

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