The Pathway to Nevada’s Future: A Case of Statewide Technology Integration and Professional Development

The Pathway to Nevada’s Future: A Case of Statewide Technology Integration and Professional Development

P.G. Schrader (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA), Neal Strudler (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA), Loretta Asay (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA), Terra Graves (Washoe County School District, USA), Shawn L. Pennell (University of Nevada, Reno, USA) and Sara Stewart (Clark County School District, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-492-5.ch030
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This case reports the preliminary findings associated with the planning, development, and implementation of Module 1 of the Pathway to Nevada’s Future project. Baseline data, participant characteristics, findings, and results from participation are reported. Data sources include online surveys, online discussions, and informal interviews of project personnel.
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Background Information

Digital technologies and their uses have pervaded nearly every segment of society. For example, informed citizens may find their news via television, online news outlets, papers, magazines, blogs, forums, and/or podcasts, just to name a few. People may find respite in virtual worlds like Second Life, World of Warcraft, or EverQuest. Others may simply consume media and movies on smartphones, portable MP3 players, or tablet computers. Regardless of the medium, students also find themselves in a world that is pervaded by technology, media, and knowledge. Technology has clearly provided new affordances for the presentation and storage of information.

These contemporary environments also allow users to participate in the creation and exchange of information in dynamic ways (Dede, 2008; Schrader, Lawless, & McCreery, 2009). On the World Wide Web (WWW), there has been a shift from a passive information retrieval system to a dynamic, interactive model in which users are active participants in authoring, editing, evaluating, and disseminating content (Dede, 2008; O’Reilly, 2005). Often termed Web 2.0, the modern Internet and WWW have changed the way people share their views (e.g., blogs), engage in communities of practice (e.g., social networks), and collaborate on ideas (e.g., wikis) (Dede, 2008; Jenkins, 2006; 2007; 2008). When compared to an industrial society, this difference is profound and requires an entirely different set of skills to be productive (Goldman, 2004).

Collectively, the presentation, consumption, and production of information across resources and modes have given rise to a wide array of educational difficulties. Although 17 million students in the United States regularly use the Internet in school (Pew Internet and American Life, 2001, 2005), we know very little about the skills students require to negotiate these information environments (Lawless & Schrader, 2008). As a result, little emphasis is placed on training students to become competent 21st century learners within formal school settings (Manning, Lawless, Gomez, McLeod, Braasch, & Goldman, 2008). This is not only true of the United States, but countries like Australia and the United Kingdom where there is a similar push toward understanding educational technology and technology integration for the 21st century (Kitson, Fletcher, & Kearney, 2007; New London Group, 1996). Unfortunately, what students are trained to do in school does not necessarily align with the expectations of what they need to do in their futures (Apple, 2007; Gee, 2006; Leu, 2000; Schrader et al., 2009).

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