Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

David L Silvernail, Dorothy Small, Leanne Walker, Richard L Wilson, Sarah E Wintle (2008) Using Technology in Helping Students Achieve 21st Century Skills: A Pilot Study, Center for Education Policy Applied Research and Evaluation (2008) Publisher: Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation. University of Southern Maine.

As everyone enters the 21st Century there is a great deal of discussion in business and education circles alike about the type of skills the youth will need to survive and thrive in this century. At the same time, there is little known today about the level of 21st Century skills students currently have. Educational Testing Service (ETS) has begun to address this issue by developing a 75-minute scenario-based test to measure high school senior and college freshmen students’ Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy skills; skills defined by ETS as, “the ability of post-secondary students to: define, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create, and communicate information in a technological environment”. During the spring of 2006, ETS offered high schools and universities across the country the opportunity to take an early version of the assessment. One of those high schools was Skowhegan Area High School (SAHS) in Maine School Administrative District 54 (MSAD 54). The results suggested that the work Skowhegan has been doing preparing students for the 21st Century is showing some progress. The pilot study presented in this paper demonstrates the potential impact of interventions specifically designed to address 21st Century Skills. It also demonstrates the importance and feasibility of systematically developing curriculum interventions and collecting and analyzing impact data.

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