The California Teacher Advisory Council (Cal TAC) and its parent organization, CCST, have released a resource guide that is the culmination of more than two years of investigating digitally enhanced education (DEE), that included two symposia convened by Cal TAC. The guide focuses specifically on assessing the efficacy of digital teaching and learning, assessing what works well, for whom, and under what circumstances.
“Despite the fact that California is the home of technology innovation, the state lags far behind in its attention to bringing a 21st century learning context to its schools,” said CCST Executive Director Susan Hackwood. “The Resource Guide reflects the recommendations of participants from our symposia for successfully integrating educational technology into the classroom. These recommendations were, in turn, based on an analysis of research gathered to inform discussions throughout the state.”
The impetus for the new DEE guide, funded by the Stuart and Bechtel Foundations, stems from a CCST study initiated in 2010 at the behest of a bipartisan group of California legislators. This study, Innovate 2 Innovation, began to explore the innovation capacity of the state and in particular the status of DEE. While technology was advancing rapidly in business and industry, it was unclear if or how digital teaching and learning was taking hold in California schools.
“The research fell short in guiding policy in terms of telling us what works in general, or guiding instructional decision-making by teachers in the classroom,” said Hackwood. “There are still a lot of unanswered questions about what works long-term, but we believe that The Resource Guide provides a solid framework for understanding the principal issues involved in integrating DEE into the classroom and corresponding standards of practice.”
The Resource Guide includes an index of educational technology leadership organizations, sample leadership and framing documents, sample national, state, and local frameworks, a discussion of the process of assessing the efficacy of DEE-related resources, and recommendations for developing educational technology related policy. The standards of practice were developed in collaboration with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
In addition, Cal TAC and CCST have developed a “QUICK Assessment”, a one-page resource designed for on-the-spot use by classroom teachers and others wishing to determine the quality and appropriate use of digital tools, applications, and resources by students.
Development of the report has led to numerous ongoing collaborations between Cal TAC and other organizations, including the National Academies of Science, the Gates-funded educational technology clearinghouse Graphite, the California State University system, Gooru, and the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd.
“These collaborations have been very positive,” said Hackwood. “Through the development of the Resource Guide, our Cal TAC members have served as examples of high-quality accomplished teachers to the policy community and public in shaping and guiding this important project. Cal TAC was founded to bring the wisdom of classroom practice to the educational policy arena, and in this report, it has done just that.”