in the Digital Age
is the Right Time?
No Child Left Behind
Have Touched the Future, I Teach"
Frank B. Withrow:
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LEARNER CENTRIC SCHOOLS
Reauthorization of NCLB
Frank B. Withrow, PhD
April 12, 2007
ESEA/NCLB, TITLE II-D
Learner centric school reform is designed to prepare learners for 21st Century Skills and is based upon effective applications of digital technologies.
Skills and knowledge requirement for the competitive global economies require workers to be able to work as TEAM members and to apply their skills and knowledge to creative thinking and problem solving in a digital global world economy.
Whereas the average 18 year old will have been awake for at least
105,000 hours of his or her life and if they have perfect school
attendance they will have spent approximately 13,000 hours in a classroom.
This represents only one ninth of their waking hours. They will have spent at least 48,000 waking hours watching TV, listening to Ipods, interacting with computers, video games and/or talking or text messaging on their personal cell phones. This vast array of digital resources is generally unstructured. Moreover it is used at the specific whim or choice of the learner. This modern digital world is a vast unstructured curriculum. On the other hand schools offer structured learning experiences that often conflict with this unstructured digital curriculum. Today’s learner can select from the digital world positive or negative learning experiences. They
can often tune out the structured school curriculum. The digital
world of television, computers, cell phones and Ipods is there for
the taking whereas schools require structured, often dull and sometimes
very passive learning experiences.
In a print based paper and book school system based upon the storage
of the wisdom, experience and knowledge of civilization in books
and libraries schools could be very structured. The teaching of reading,
writing and arithmetic were the windows and doors to the broader
world. Schools and public libraries were the open door to the society’s
knowledge base and anyone who was literate could benefit from them.
However, learners had to physically come to these windows of opportunity,
that is, the classroom or the library. Today access to digital information
is universally available at our fingertips.
Literacy remains a major element in our ability to learn but the
formal classroom no longer dominates or is even the main source of
available information. Therefore, schools need to organize around
the new digital resources and libraries. Consequently, we must create
learner centric institutions that take advantage of the broader world
of digital information. We must not remain the prisoners of
time and tradition but develop new modern year round learning institutions
that take full advantage of modern digital resources 24/7 365 days
Part A: The Secretary of Education shall create a twelve member Board of Advisers that will have the resources to design Learning Centric School systems administrators and professional develop programs. For the purposes of this part $250,000 shall be appropriated annually.
Part B: The Secretary shall make competitive grants to Institutions
of Higher Education to prepare Administrators for Learner Centric
School systems. For the purposes of this part $100,000,000
shall be available annually.
Part C: The Secretary shall make grants to every State to create Professional Development centers for preparing teachers to work in technology based Learner Centric school systems.
Section One: Management of Learning Centric Institutions. We need
new leadership and administration within our school systems. This
section provides funding for administrators that can manage a digital
based learning environment. Such administrators shall be knowledgeable
in modern team management techniques, Total Cost of Operation, flexible
learning and accreditation of learning experiences, operating schools
year round, uses of technology and data management for learning,
and data mining of student achievement. For the purposes of this
section $50,000,000 shall be made available annually.
Section Two: States shall make competitive grants to IHEs to create Professional Development Centers that prepare both new and in-service teachers to function through technology in Learner Centric school systems. Such grants shall be competitively made by the states to IHEs. Such professional development centers shall have funds that are sufficient to equip them with the digital tools needed to prepare teachers. For the purposes of this part $250,000,000 shall be made available annually.
Section Three: The Secretary shall in cooperation with NSF and the
LOC establish content based national digital learning libraries. Such libraries shall include both public and privately developed digital resources. Such digital libraries shall be accessible from both the home and classroom. Such
libraries shall use commonly developed search systems and be made
available to all learners. For the purposes of this section $100,000,000
shall be made available annually.
Section Four: The Secretary shall make grants to all states for the
establishment of Learner Centric School systems that take advantage
of the vast amount of digital learning resources. Grants shall be made within each state to school systems designed to operate year round and designed to make maximum usage of digital learning resources. Such
school systems shall recognize the blending of such diverse programs
as home schooling and traditional classroom learning resources. Such
school systems shall develop authentic assessment systems to determine
the achievement of learners. Every child shall have an Individual
Learning Plan. For the purposes of this section $500,000,000 shall
be made available annually.
Section Five: Research, Design, and Development of Digital Learning Resources. The Secretary shall establish several National Institutes for the development of high quality learning resources in specific content areas. Such Institutes shall work closely with IHEs and with the private sectors to develop streams of well-developed and researched learning materials that can be stored and accessed from the National learning digital libraries. For the purposes of this section $100,000,000 shall be made available annually.
Section Six: The Secretary shall provide grants to develop sophisticated digital authentic assessment resources. Among other aspects of this development shall be an Individual Smart CARD that each learner owns and that documents his or her achievement and is transferable from school to school. For the purposes of this section $50,000,000 shall be made available annually.
PART D: The Secretary shall establish an Office of Information
Sciences and Technology in the United States Education Department.
An Assistant Secretary shall head the Office.
Section One: The Secretary shall ensure that the leadership and knowledge gained by this program is promulgated throughout all parts of the Department including, Title One, OSERS, Vocational and Bilingual Programs. To ensure this result the Secretary shall have a council of all Assistant Secretaries that meets on this reform movement at least once a month and where appropriate incorporates the benefits and findings of this program into all operating programs with USED.
Section Two: All operating technology programs within USED
shall be administered under the Information Sciences and Technology
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