A task force told Arkansas legislators Aug. 25 that classrooms in the 21st century won’t have lecterns or rows of desks, but instead students grouped together working with computers and other technology as teachers mill about, the Arkansas News Bureau reports. The Arkansas Task Force on Knowledge-Based Technology Curriculum compiled 240 teacher-created lesson plans that integrate technology into core curriculum and that teachers can access online, said John Ahlen, president of the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA). The plans are in response to legislation passed in 2005 authorizing ASTA to develop a knowledge-based technology curriculum for use in grades seven through 12 to develop students into effective and productive global citizens in the 21st century and meet challenges in education, economic development, and community development. Ahlen and others presented a report to members of the joint House and Senate committee on Advanced Communications and Information Technology. Using free online tools, they said, students could compile data and hold discussions potentially with students at other schools, all while teachers incorporate lessons on graphing, prediction-making, economics, entrepreneurship, and other topics. "I’d almost want to go back to school and learn how to do this, and I’m 79," said Rep. Billy Gaskill, D-Paragould. The task force recommended that Arkansas join nine other states in full participation in the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, developing new standards that incorporate 21st-century tools and learning skills, as well as accelerate deployment of SMART Portal database, where teachers can access and add to the lesson plans and receive professional development…

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