Lisa Short, an eighth-grade science teacher in Montgomery County, Md., said this was the first year that her school has used interactive whiteboards.

“When you use this type of technology in the class, student engagement increases,” she told the committee, adding that she had to create a system to make sure that all students were allowed equal time at the board.

“Students carry iPods, cell phones, video games, and sometimes laptops to school, and what’s the first thing we ask them to do? We ask them to power down,” she added. “If the technology is available, why don’t we use it [to help them learn]?”

In addition to interactive whiteboards, witnesses spoke about ways that integrating initiatives and technologies such as one-to-one laptop programs, video cameras, web page development, and online learning into instruction has helped improve learning.

One college student at East Carolina University said his parents were involved in drug trafficking, his older brothers ended up dropping out of high school, and he was probably close to dropping out as well–until his school integrated technologies such as interactive whiteboards and video cameras into instruction.

“The integration of technology opened the world to me,” he said.

Short told the committee that only 16 percent of American students have access to interactive whiteboards, while about 70 percent of students in the United Kingdom have access. She was asked what could be done to increase that number.

Her succinct reply: “Funding.”

Links:

House Education and Labor Committee

Software & Information Industry Association

State Educational Technology Directors Association

Note to readers:

Don’t forget to visit the Empowering Education Through Technology resource center. Integrating technology into the classroom can be a challenge without the right guidance. Go to: Empowering Education Through Technology