Panel examines ed tech, personalized learning

This presents an even larger problem, and examining a competency-based advancement system that evaluates students on skill mastery instead of based on age or grade level should be an important consideration.

“Seat time obviously is very relevant,” Hughes said. “One of the reasons families come and enroll in virtual schools is to work anytime, anywhere.”

Weiss pointed out that the Carnegie Unit–a time-based measurement of student learning–has been adopted in virtually every state in the country, and suggested that a new idea and new system should take hold.

Equity of access and the opportunity to learn are essential, and Weiss said people must have the access to technology and the ability to use it and adopt it.

Increasing technology access and use in low-income areas is key, Zolt said. “Anything we can do to increase the amount of technology available in low-income environments” will help.

Popović said policy should be loose enough to allow for the quick and easy adoption of successful and scalable pilot initiatives.

In conjunction with the panel discussion, West released “Using Technology to Personalize Learning and Assess Students in Real-Time,” in which he examines how digital technologies have led to new instructional models. The paper details many successful pilot initiatives and makes policy recommendations.

“Sticking to a 20th century production model makes little sense when there are 21st century technologies available that enable different instructional approaches and delivery systems,” West wrote in the report. “The key for educators is to figure out how to use digital technology to engage and instruct students. We need to determine ways to speed up technology adoption and extend it into the learning process in effective ways.”

Laura Ascione
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