After 18 months of writing and refinement, the U.S. Department of Education released the finalized National Education Technology Plan on November 9. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is a strong advocate of the plan and the opportunity that technology allows to reform and advance our education system. In it, the administration sets a target to reach five key goals by 2015.
Learning: Change the learning process so it's more engaging and tailored to students' needs and interests. Assessment: Measure student progress on the full range of college and career ready standards and use real time data for continuous improvement. Teaching: Connect teachers to the tools, resources, experts and peers they need to be highly effective and supported. Infrastructure: Provide broadband connectivity for all students, everywhere—in schools, throughout communities and in students' homes. Productivity: Use technology to help schools become more productive and accelerate student achievement while managing costs.
These goals provide direction for our education system to have technology be a core part of learning in classrooms all across the country. Sokikom sees the first goal as a key part of what we work on--engaging students through a massively multiplayer online social learning game designed to increase their math achievement. Today’s youth are intensely engaged in social games. So much so, that kids spend hours struggling in a game but somehow persevere to overcome the challenge (e.g. passing a level or getting a higher score). However, these same kids quickly lose engagement in math. So why not combine the compelling mechanics inherent in massively multiplayer video games with sound pedagogy and research on how kids learn math? That’s what we’re doing at Sokikom.