CCST Releases Summary of Cal TAC Digital Media Workshop
The summary of the Cal TAC "How To" Workshop on Using Digital Media
to Improve Teaching and Learning is the third in a series of CCST documents released in 2012 on digital education.
Using digital media to improve teaching and learning is essential to the classrooms of the 21st
century. However, many challenges must be overcome in order to fulfill the potential of digital
education in California, as the members of the California Teacher Advisory Council (Cal TAC)
discussed in a recent meeting.
Cal TAC is a group of master teachers formed in 2005 by CCST. Cal TAC was intended as a means for bringing real-world classroom
experience to policy makers and others whose decisions affect the quality of science and math
education in California.
In a series of "How To" workshops in 2012, CCST, Cal TAC members, and their partners are
exploring ways to move digitally enhanced education forward in California in a consistent, viable,
and measurable way that keeps improved teaching and learning outcomes front and center. A newly
released summary report of the workshop which took place on April 20, 2012 explored what technology
can offer to improve education inside and outside the classroom walls. Participants also had an
opportunity to share their own successes and frustrations using technology in the classroom.
The workshop included presentations from TechNet, a group of technology company CEOs, and the
California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet).
"Fulfilling the potential of digital education is a natural interest of California's technology
companies," said Jim Hawley, general counsel to TechNet. "Our members are interested in ensuring
that more opportunities exist in middle-class jobs - in areas such as clean technology,
biotechnology, and the burgeoning, lively app sector, which didn't even exist a few years ago."
Hawley noted that while these areas show the potential for significant economic activity,
employers are concerned that the current and future workforce won't have the skills to take
advantage of these jobs.
CSLNet CEO Chris Roe added that while meeting workforce demands is important, it is not the only
driver of STEM education, which needs to be broadly defined as an integrated, trans-disciplinary
approach to learning, coupling rigorous academic concepts with hands-one, real-world applications of
Cal TAC members themselves recounted their experiences using newly received iPads in their
classrooms, an experience which has allowed them to achieve a different level of engagement with
students. Advantages included the ability to move around the classroom untethered, relating to
students in every corner of the room, and using the iPads as portable, infinite whiteboards.
For every success, however, there were tales of frustration, including the outdated view of many
school authorities for whom student access to the Internet during school is dangerous. Teachers
recounted stories of needlessly restrictive policies and unresponsive IT departments.
"The most important barrier," notes the report, "is the lack of a statewide vision of digitally
enhanced education for the state. If such a vision were endorsed, it would be much easier to align
every level of the education system."
CCST Spotlight is a weekly
newsletter focusing on CCST activities and highlighting innovative science
and technology research, applications, and policy issues in California.
The Spotlight editor is Danny DeCillis.
We welcome information and feedback from our readers about science and
technology at work in the private, public, and education
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