What Is Technology’s
Role in School Improvement?
What is school improvement? Is it meet- ing adequate yearly progress as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act? Is it
ensuring that all students are prepared for the
future? If the epitome of school improvement is
meeting the learning needs of all students, then
you have to start where students are in their
intellectual development. You have to provide
individualized learning, and that requires technology integration.
Glen Cove School District fell off the dreaded
New York Schools in Need of Regents Review
list recently in part by rejecting the one-size-fits-all approach to technology use (see “Extreme
Makeover: School Edition,” page 12). Just as
important, writes Shari Camhi, district officials
aligned the technology to the curriculum and
made sure it matched student interests.
I hope that all educators are engaged in discussions in their schools and districts about
meeting the learning needs of all students.
Communication and collaboration are key to
those discussions. A robust and reliable technology infrastructure is essential for communication, along with read-write, community-building,
and networking tools to aid collaboration among
all stakeholders, especially students, who must
learn these digital-age skills.
Pioneering students, teachers, schools, and
districts have demonstrated the value of tools
such as blogs, wikis, Nings, and podcasts, and
they have done interesting and promising work
with more controversial tools such as microblog-
ging and chat rooms for back-channeling. These
Web 2.0 tools have their safety and security chal-
lenges, for sure. But it is important to address
those challenges without blocking access to these
tools in our schools.
By Anita McAnear
Anita McAnear is
editor and national
program chair for
exposition. A former
middle school math
and language arts
has been with
ISTE since 1983.