Despite the vital role it plays in business affairs, technology does not figure as much as it ought in American classrooms. Students in the United States are falling behind their first-world peers in terms of technology skills and education. Recent panels on this topic have outlined the detrimental effect this widening gap will have on the United States as a whole.
Experts have focused recently on how the United States can use technology to improve its education system in order to compete better the global market. Education Week reports that "[p]anelists from the White House, U.S. Department of Education, and nonprofit and private sector organizations, including the Gates Foundation, gathered Friday in Washington to talk about how the U.S. can use technology more effectively to improve schools and become more globally competitive."
The attendees of this meeting also discussed how technology in education can "individualize learning, decrease costs for school districts, increase accessibility of information, and bridge the achievement gap." Many panelists agreed that the U.S. takes too long to implement new education technologies in the classroom. Additionally, investment in educational technologies reamins too low to ensure success in the global market.
The U.S. also needs to assure that students have equal access to the latest education technologies. The Center for Academic Technology reports that
equity and access are important issues in education. The virtual school community has an obligation to ensure that its programs are accessible and the educational opportunities are equitable. Virtual education programs need to pay attention to these issues in order to be sure to have the greatest benefit to the largest number of students.
To ensure that students across the nation have equal access to technology, the Center for Academic Technology established the following guidelines:
By following these guidelines educators can ensure that educational technologies benefit the greatest number of students.
Students in the United States need to prepare for the challenges posed by a technologically advanced society. Only a proactive approach to technology education will help the United States close ranks with countries that have already educated their students in the finer points of technology and its uses. With the United States already lagging behind most industrialized countries in terms of academic achievement, it cannot afford to fall behind in technology education as well.