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Brief: Prepare Students for the Future Through Digital Content

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Brief: Prepare Students for the Future Through Digital Content

Classroom technology use has evolved from fixed computer labs, where classes are scheduled one at a time and students learn word processing and typing, to one-to-one computing programs, where all students and teachers are provided with a computer providing software applications, Internet access, and online research materials to work collaboratively anytime and anywhere. Studies show these programs work. A Mediamark Research Inc. report suggests that spending time online helps children ages six to 11 develop the skills, knowledge, and self-confidence they need to fully participate in the world around them. Anecdotal stories testify to rich, complex learning experiences. For instance, at Franke Park Elementary School in Fort Wayne, Ind., third-grade students learn the relevance of math and science firsthand as they use high-speed Internet video conferencing to travel with NASA engineering teams and visit some of the most remote places on Earth, such as Antarctica. Yet such programs remain an exception rather than the rule.

Access to the Future

Eileen M. Lento, Ph.D., is an educational strategist for Intel Americas who continues to raise her voice in an effort to revive the public digital debate, and to inform a nation of the importance of technology access to train the engineers, designers, doctors, mathematicians, and scientists of tomorrow. Lento is convinced that access is not a luxury, but is critical to preparing today’s students to work in the 21st century. She boldly states, “Technology — both access to it and the understanding of it — will increasingly define our national competitiveness in this ever-shrinking world. Our children cannot succeed in the workforce without computer literacy. Yet, in our country, as many as 20 million households with children do not have access to computers and broadband at home. If we are to succeed in this new century, all children in the United States must have access to the technology that will be so much a part of their future.”

Read the full Preparing Students for the Future Paper.