Originally published: November 15, 2012
Last updated: November 26, 2012 - 9:13pm
[Commentary] Technology is not a panacea for closing the achievement gaps within the U.S. or between the U.S. and other countries. We know there is no substitute for a great teacher. We know that children who attended prekindergarten are more likely to be productively employed at 25. But we also know that technology has to be part of any answer to preparing U.S. students for the jobs of the 21st century.
There are programs across the country that are starting to show real results, like in Mooresville, N.C., where giving a laptop to every child increases concentration in school, grades, and test scores. We need to learn from what is working and incentivize other districts to adopt what works. We also need to keep experimenting with technology and support bold ideas, something the Gates Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top are already doing. Finally, we have to make the necessary investments to close the digital divide that has persisted now for a generation—we need more laptops, universal high speed Internet access in schools, longer school-open hours to shrink the digital divide kids face during the hours and days they’re not in school and training for teachers so that they understand how best to use technology—and so they’re as fluent in tech speak as their students. We have to tackle all aspects of our digital divide or we risk failing more students and falling further behind in the global race to the top