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					SUMMARY AND REVIEW FOR:                                        Study Type
                                                               General Articles and
The First-Year Implementation of the                           Expert Opinions
Technology Literacy Challenge Fund in Five
                                                               Descriptive and Survey
States                                                         Studies
By Kirshstein, R., Birman, B., Quinones, Levin, D. &        X Formal Evaluations
Stephens, M. (2000).                                           Formal Research Studies
American Institutes for Research , 1997 – 1998
                                                               Definition of Study Types

                                                            Printable Version of Review


 Major implications for educators/decision makers:

            o   State and local-level leadership is necessary for efficient
                administration of TLCF funding.
            o   Broad-based and locally planned funding criteria (such as the TLCF
                model) permit support of a wide range of state-level technology-
                related programs. This allows TLCF funds to be applied in a manner
                consistent with local requirements.
            o   Flexible programs such as TLCF require careful monitoring by state
                and federal education agencies.
            o   It has proven difficult for States to identify the school districts most
                in need of TLCF funding.

 Major implications for educational researchers/evaluators:
       This document is an extended summary of the results of five state-level case
       studies. Little detail regarding methodology or data analysis is provided.
       Regarding efficient administration of federal and state-level technology-
       funding programs, presented results suggest the importance of high and low-
       level leadership, district financial resources, experience with technology
       grant writing, and experience with technology plans in general.

 Major intervention(s) or variables studied:
        How various states utilize federal funding provided under the TLCF
        program.
 Critical questions addressed:
        What are effective funding strategies/sources for technology in education?
        What are effective strategies for eliminating the "digital divide"?
        How do various schools, communities and states compare on technology
        access and use?
        What are the Federal and state role(s) in technology in supporting local
       technology use?
       What is the impact of competitive vs. entitlement funding on technology
       impact?
Sources of evidence identified:
       Personal interviews with State and local-level administrators, staff, teachers,
       and students.
Replicable strategies, practices, and/or products:
       Other federal technology-funding programs could easily be modeled along
       the lines of TLCF, pending congressional approval. Such a program would
       be characterized by flexible qualification standards coupled with efficient
       federal program monitoring. Funds would be distributed directly to states,
       which would then provide competitive grants to districts and schools.
       Applications would be weighted on the basis of greatest need. TLCF funded
       projects would ideally be fully integrated with ongoing technology
       programs.
Strengths and limitations of the study:
       The broad focus of this article provides a nice overview of the first year
       implementation of the TLCF program. The within and between-state
       analyses are particularly interesting. The practicality and clarity of the final
       conclusions are also commendable. Overall, the article efficiently conveys
       in an organized, direct manner well-supported results and final conclusions.
       The results and conclusions are limited to case studies.
Suggested related studies or resources to consider:
Summary:
       Kirshstein, R., Birman, B., Quinones, Levin, D. & Stephens, M. (2000). The
       first year implementation of the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund in five
       states. Retrieved January 24, 2002, from
       http://www.ed.gov/pubs/TLCFFirstYearReport.

       Kirshstein et al. present five case studies of state (Illinois, Massachusetts,
       Mississippi, Texas, & Washington) use of federal funding in support of state
       technology plans, via the U.S. Department of Education's Technology
       Literacy Challenge Fund (TLCF).

       Initiated in 1997, TLCF provides funding in support of State and local-level
       technology plans. States first submit technology plans to TLCF for
       evaluation. Pending TLCF approval, individual states dispense TLCF funds
       in a competitive manner to local school districts. At the local level, grant
       approval is based upon school district technology plans, degree of
       technological need, and degree of poverty. Funding regulations require that
       TLCF funds be used in support of technology programs that service school
       districts with the highest degree of poverty, and the greatest overall need for
       technological development. Participating state programs are also required to
       promote the development of at least one of the following technology-related
areas:

   o     The application of technology in support of school reform.
   o     The acquisition of educational technology for the express purpose of
         improving student learning.
   o     The improvement of district, school and classroom-level
         telecommunications connectivity.
   o     Professional development regarding the integration of educational
         technology into the classroom.
   o     The provision of improved education services to adults and families.

Between spring of 1997 and winter of 1998, Kirshstein et al. conducted
personal interviews with state and local-level employees (administrators,
teachers, and staff), and students involved in TLCF-funded programs or
administration. These interviews provided insight into the following general
research questions:

   o     What were the experiences of states and districts in implementing
         the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund?
   o     How were states and districts using the Technology Literacy
         Challenge Fund?
   o     How did Technology Literacy Challenge Fund activities relate to
         other technological and reform efforts?

Kirshstein et al. found that increased time for states and districts to prepare
and implement their technology plans would have been beneficial, and that
within-state competition for TLCF funding often favored those districts with
greater financial resources, and technological planning and grant writing
experience. Results also show that definitions of "technological need" varied
substantially from state to state, and that TLCF funded a wide range of
programs specifically designed to improve student learning. TLCF funds
were also employed in support of professional development activities,
hardware and software acquisitions, and in support of other, ongoing
technological initiatives.

Kirshstein et al. argue that the TLCF program needed to be evaluated within
the context of other, ongoing technological initiatives, and stress the
importance of state and local-level leadership in support of TLCF-funded
programs. They conclude that TLCF funding should not be spread to thin
among competing grantees, point out the inherent difficulties in identifying
"at need" school districts, and stress the need for federal monitoring of
TLCF-funded programs.

				
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