March 17, 2012
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Creates Task Force
to Improve and Expand Use of Classroom Technology
PALM SPRINGS—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the creation of the Education Technology Task Force to recommend how to bring 21st Century tools into California’s classrooms to improve teaching and learning.
In creating the 48-member Task Force, Torlakson said he recognized the severe financial limitations currently facing schools, but was establishing the group now so that a plan for making better use of technology would be ready when more resources were available.
"Technology is changing nearly every aspect of our lives. But in California—home to Silicon Valley and the world’s leading technology companies—many schools have been all but left out of the technology revolution," Torlakson said. "If we’re serious about providing our students a world-class education, we need a plan that leaves no school and no child offline."
Torlakson announced the Task Force during the annual Computer-Using Educators Conference in Palm Springs. For a list of members, please visit Education Technology Task Force - Initiatives & Programs.
The all-volunteer, unpaid Task Force is comprised of teachers, administrators, technology directors, local and county superintendents, school board members, parents, researchers, policy advocates, and foundation/community members from around the state.
The Task Force will work in groups led by facilitators to explore education technology in five key areas—learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity.
Members will assess the state’s current education technology infrastructure and identify gaps between the current National Education Technology Plan and California’s most recent plan, which was approved in 2005. The group also will assess future needs and recommend how to improve teaching, learning, and equal access to technology for all students.
Creation of the Task Force was among the goals set out in the Blueprint for Great Schools, a report on the future of education in California prepared for Torlakson by his Transition Advisory Team, a group of nearly 60 parents, teachers, and business and community leaders.
The Blueprint calls for incorporating one-to-one technology as a key component of teaching, learning, and assessment that supports high levels of literacy, biliteracy, and prepares students for success in the global economy.
As part of its duties, the Task Force will get input from stakeholders and experts in the field. A Web page also has been created on the Brokers of Expertise Web site for anyone who would like to contribute information, research, and case studies at Ed Tech Task Force - Public Comment :: Groups :: Brokers of Expertise [http://commentedtech.myboe.org/] .
The Task Force is expected to present recommendations to Torlakson to revise and develop a California Educational Technology Blueprint over the next few months, followed by a series of public meetings to gather comments on issues identified by the Task Force.
For more information on the Education Technology Task Force, please visit the California Department of Education Web site at Education Technology Task Force - Initiatives & Programs.