Academic journal article The Science Teacher

New Tools for Learning

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

New Tools for Learning

Article excerpt

While reviewing a recent article for The Science Teacher, I was trying to remember a grammar rule that I, apparently, never learned well in school: Do you use "a" or "an" before an acronym? For example, should you write "a NSTA publication" or "an NSTA publication"? Of course, I immediately went to the internet for the answer and before I had even finished typing "a or an befor ..." into the search engine, it suggested "before an acronym" and took me to the answer--all in the space of less than a minute.

After learning the answer--it's "an" in this case--and reading an interesting commentary on the subject, I started to reflect on how much learning has changed. I'm sure each of us could provide dozens of similar illustrations of how new technologies have radically altered our learning. And yet, in an age of constant connectedness and nearly instant access to information, our educational system is often slow to incorporate the technology that has become a central part of our daily lives.

The National Education Technology Plan 2010, released by the U.S. Department of Education on March 5, offers a vision of how schools might use technology to transform teaching and learning. The plan's overview notes that "technology-based learning and assessment systems will be pivotal in improving student learning and generating data that can be used to continuously improve the education system at all levels. ... The challenge for our education system is to leverage the learning sciences and modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all learners that mirror students' daily lives and the reality of their futures" (U. …

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