a m e r i c a ’ s P l a n c H a P t e r 1 1 English Language Arts allows for these skills to be used and teaching methods that combine online and face-to-face developed in a practical manner, without taking time away learning.78 Online courses at the secondary level often serve from other subjects by creating stand-alone courses. Students younger-than-average students seeking access to accelerated must also understand their ethical responsibilities online and courses in math or science that are not available in their regular know how to stay safe while using advanced broadband tech- schools. Online courses also serve older-than-average students nologies.69 To succeed in the 21st century workplace, students needing a slower pace and more individualized attention.79 This must be digitally proficient at developing, advancing and ap- variability in students’ skills, combined with the geographical plying their own knowledge and skills within virtually any field distribution that occurs in an online environment, provides ad- or profession.70 ditional challenges for which teachers must prepare. ReCoMMeNDaTioN 11.10: the u.s. department of edu- 11.2 UnLocKInG the cation should provide additional grant funding to help schools train teachers in digital literacy and programs tar- poWer oF data geting stem. states should expand digital literacy require- ments and training programs for teachers. and IMproVInG Achieving digital literacy goals for students means teach- ers also must be digitally literate (see Box 11-1). While teacher transparencY use of technology continues to grow, most teachers still do not use technology in their classrooms for many key activities.75 Teachers without digital literacy skills find it difficult to in- Ideally, a teacher would have real-time access to accurate infor- corporate online learning solutions into instruction. Similarly, mation about each student’s mastery of skills, course grades, it is hard for students who lack such skills to engage with the test scores and progress over time. Other pertinent information systems to learn.76 would include the student’s behavior and learning style, his or Teachers report that teaching online requires different skills her prior experiences in school and more. As students transfer than teaching in a bricks-and-mortar classroom.77 Students among multiple classrooms during the year—something more also need training in online learning methods. Consequently, likely to happen with at-risk children—the same information teachers need training both as online instructors and in would be available as soon as the child walks through the door. In addition, if an issue arose that was outside a teacher’s experi- ence—for instance, providing alternative teaching strategies for Box 11-1: an individual student—the teacher would have instantaneous access to online information about the issue and, perhaps, to Online Learning Can Support learning opportunities.73 experts and colleagues who could offer advice. Investment in STEM The Executive Office of the In addition to benefiting individual students and teachers, Expertise in STEM will be President recently announced the creation of a large-scale pool of electronic educational critical to maintaining the a $250 million public-private records could potentially transform education. Anonymized United States’ competitive investment for STEM teacher records with detailed data on schools, educators and students edge in the 21st century.71 recruitment, professional would allow educators to determine in a fact-based fashion A critical shortage of highly development and the use of what works and when, and what the actual costs and benefits qualified math and science innovative teaching methods teachers, particularly in low- such as online learning. This are of different practices. It would allow researchers to learn income urban school districts is an excellent example of from the best practices and brightest ideas of every great and rural districts, threatens the kind of investment that teacher and principal in America. It would help educators this competitive edge.72 Pro- should be made in this area.74 determine when improved educational outcomes are a con- viding access to more online In addition, improved online sequence of practices and techniques that are transferable to learning systems, coursework solutions for professional different contexts or due to factors not directly associated with and materials in STEM can development of teachers can educational practices. improve opportunities for help train new teachers and At the moment, however, schools run on a patchwork students who are interested give existing teachers new of proprietary data systems that make sharing meaningful in working in these areas techniques and resources for information about students slow and difficult. Disjointed but lack local, high-quality instruction in these fields. administrative systems and processes currently keep schools, school systems, colleges and universities from conducting fast, F e d e r a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n s c o m m i s s i o n | n a t i o n a l b r o a d b a n d P l a n 2 3 3
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