Innovators packed in Nov. 1 at the State Department’s Tech@State event to explore technology in education.
Two panels discussed recommendations and programs that will use technology in the classroom or to help students learn about technology.
“Seventy-seven percent of jobs in the next 10 years will require computer skills,” Allyson Knox, director of education policy and programs at Microsoft, said about the importance of technology in the classroom.
Tony Bloome, senior education technology specialist at the U.S. Agency for International Development, expressed his agency’s goal of increasing early-grade reading worldwide by 100 million by 2015 with the help of Internet video.
USAID is also working on the mEducation program, which will function as a consumer report for education technologies.
Other technologies showcased included the Education Department’s “moonshot” ideas. James Sanders, an Education Department employee, proposed ditching the traditional grading system for something more 21st century. Sanders wants kids to earn badges, like those earned from playing video games, instead of grades. Each student will also get a personalized dashboard to show his or her progress and areas that need improvement.
The State Department’s Tiffany Attaway showed off her language games. Instead of conjugating verbs in boring tables, Attaway has developed a text-based fiction game to make language learning more interactive. The game allows students to explore the language in an adventure and try and fail and try again with language.
One of the most futuristic innovations at the panels was the VGo, a robot that moves on two wheels and has a screen for video chatting at the time. The robot is controlled by the person video chatting the live situation. VGo could be used to help disabled students attend school or give doctors a chance to be in places too dangerous to visit physically.