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SCOE to Partner With Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

$1 Million Project to Help Schools Make Technology Choices


The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) has been selected to develop a website with information about effective uses of educational technology as part of a new project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) will provide up-to-date research-based information through which educators, superintendents, policy-makers and others will be able to access information resources about technology use in the classroom. SCOE was chosen as a project partner by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which was awarded a $1,050,000 grant in May from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish CARET. An additional project partner is Educational Support Systems (ESS).

The announcement of SCOE's participation in the CARET project was made by John Fleischman, SCOE's Director of Instructional Technology and Learning Resources. "This new project will ensure that research about the effective use of technology in education is available to teachers, administrators and others who make decisions about the use of technology in the classroom," says Fleischman. SCOE was selected to build the website because of its national reputation and experience gained in developing over 100 websites related to K-12 and adult education.

Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools Dr. David P. Meaney, who worked with Fleischman to bring the County Office into partnership with the ISTE, ESS and the Gates Foundation, says the project will be "the only portal of its type on the Internet…a comprehensive, interactive website offering customized information, based on the specific needs and interests of educators and others."

Hundreds of studies have been conducted in the United States and elsewhere on the use of technology in schools, according to Fleischman. Such studies, however, to date have not readily been accessible to—or understood by—educators. "Teachers, administrators and others will soon be able to go to the CARET website and learn how technology can be used most effectively based on varying needs, such as the type of educational setting, specific grade and learning levels, educational outcomes and goals, and much more," says Fleischman. "This knowledge will greatly assist schools and districts in making decisions about selecting hardware and software, as well as developing technology plans."

Says Tom Vander Ark, Executive Director of Education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, "As teachers and schools become increasingly dependent on technology, CARET will provide a much-needed resource for educators. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is excited to support this new and important project."

The project timeline calls for the CARET website to be "live" and accessible online to Internet users in June, 2001. Project partners have already begun the task of collecting and analyzing educational technology studies and survey data.

Information about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to ISTE, dated May 23, 2000, is available online.