Karen Cator, Director of the Office of Educational Technology of the U.S. Department of Education, presented at the NBPTS conference. To me, it was an affirming speech which once again demonstrated the fact that we’re headed for tech integration at almost every level of our work as educators.
Cator began her speech by describing how businesses today are mixing and matching medias, transmedia, to relay content. That’s the world our children are living in.
She also listed and discussed the avenues technology provides to learners and teachers including:
· Visualizations, animations, simulations
· Access to virtual communities.
· Feedback loops.
· Publishing to wide audience.
· Global participation.
· Extension of the learning day.
Ms. Cator also described the National Education Technology Plan, and emphasized that technology makes you highly effective and highly connected. Pointing to the future, Cator explained that the Nation hopes to connect up to 98% of the country with Broadband. She also noted that Comcast is about to offer affordable WIFI options to students without Internet connections.
Further, the Director encouraged teachers to leverage the technology tools that students already have to promote lifelong learning in and out of school.
She encouraged teachers to take action in the following ways:
- Shift control and access to students.
- Develop your PLN (professional learning network).
- Be designers – scientists in your own classroom.
- Create new, motivating and engaging assignments.
- Share your stories, strategies, results.
- Support and encourage the professionals around you.
- Get children in on the discussion
Karen Cator is an energized, positive speaker who eagerly supports technology in classrooms throughout the United States as a means of reaching all children in engaging and empowering ways.