State Board of Education members learned today about research by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education staff focused on the needs of the 21st century learner and the technology-readiness status of Missouri schools. The current generation of students – born from the early 2000s to present day and called Generation Z – is used to interacting with advanced technology and communication. However, that digital world is sometimes inaccessible once students enter the classroom.
“Our students are preparing for the jobs of the future. They won’t be prepared without better access to the Internet and 21st century communication and learning tools throughout the state,” said Chris L. Nicastro, commissioner of education. “We can't afford to have Missouri students at this disadvantage in a global, competitive market."
The Department’s research shows Missouri stands at a pivotal point in the education and career prospects of all children by equipping them with tools to succeed. Challenges to incorporating technology into education in Missouri include access, delivery and infrastructure of high-speed Internet; access to student devices; and professional development for educators in using technology to affect student learning.
The Department is developing a plan of action for technology readiness that will focus on these key areas of technology innovation and education:
- High-speed Internet: Internet access of sufficient speed capability is the first step in helping students access more learning opportunities.
- Student devices: All students should have access to a computing device.
- School infrastructure: Advanced Internet access and numerous school computing devices need a modern internal network to apply the learning advantages of technology.
- Professional development: New tools and technology require support for teachers to transform technology use for educational purposes.
The Department plans to release the full report on technology readiness and the plan for enhancing teaching and learning later this fall.