Technology may be productive in K-12 schools when it is applied within an appropriate educational framework under the direction of a teacher, and taking into consideration the needs of the students and what is appropriate to the subject. This discussion does not speculate on any abstract contribution of "technology." Instead it sees computers, software, digital information resources, and the Internet in the context of the teacher's role. The centrality of the teacher's role underlines the importance of training in the effective and appropriate use of technology in the classroom. The literature unambiguously agrees with this point.
As students mature, they learn to direct their own learning and may apply many types of tools and resources in achieving learning objectives. One of the goals of education is to foster this capacity for self-directed learning, a capacity that is both strengthened and complicated by the new resources provided by technology.
Learners should have opportunities to work with whole, meaningful texts.
Programs that offer learners a chance to process large chunks of related text, rather than bits and pieces of unrelated language fragments, allow students to use and extend what they know about reading comprehension.
Learners should have opportunities to work with word-recognition programs that stress the use of word meanings in conjunction with phonics and structural analysis. Care must be taken to make sure that, when programs feature the study of individual words and phrases, they are offered within a contextual framework that helps them make sense to the learner. Assessment programs for teachers should also be provided in meaningful context.
Learners should have the opportunities to apply the skills being taught in some meaningful way. Programs that deny the learner an opportunity to make use of what is being "taught" are merely assessment tools and do little to further the learner's...