WASHINGTON, July 31, 2009 – Information technology can enable 21st century schools by creating a student-centered learning environment where students learn at their own pace and help teachers guide students as they actively pursue their own learning path, rather than simply present information to a passive audience.
That was the message of a July 2009 report issued by Ted Kolderie and Tim McDonald of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, titled “How Information Technology Can Enable 21st Century Schools.”
According to the report, the federal government and states should “establish a state-level new schools entity for innovation, with the power and authority to realize a program of school innovation enabled by information technology.”
They also urged Congress to create a "New Schools America Fund” that would encourage state legislatures to create these specialized organizations that would be autonomous from the management of traditional schools. The authors said this approach would “allow new innovative schools to be evaluated outside the framework of the federal education reform law known as the No Child Left Behind Act."
Unlike traditional schools, said Kolderie and McDonald, these new schools would be information- technology centric, allowing “the student’s interests, needs, strengths and weaknesses to drive the learning process, with the instructor facilitating rather than dictating."
States should look to Minnesota's actions in this arena for guidance, and Congress should designate funding to encourage state legislatures to create these specialized organizations in the upcoming education reauthorization act, they said.