The U.S. Department of Education unveiled its final National Education Technology Plan on Nov. 9, designed to transform the use of technology and student learning in classrooms nationwide and create an “engaging state-of-the-art, cradle-to-college school system.”
NSBA supports the plan and is pleased that it will help school leaders expand students’ learning to create more personalized and engaging experiences. NSBA’s Director of Education Technology, Ann Flynn, says the plan also emphasizes the importance of data and shows how technology can be used to improve management and productivity.
The plan “articulates a vision for the use of technology in K-12 education that makes it essential and no longer an optional add-on’ to learning and productivity,” says Flynn. “Far too many districts still think about if’ they can afford to invest in technology, rather than thinking about how to do things differently and what impact not having those resources can have on their students.”
The plan identifies goals in five areas: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and creativity. Using those goals, students will have more individualized learning experiences and will be assessed at intervals to ensure they are meeting career- and college-ready standards. Teachers will have better tools for professional development and more opportunities for collaboration and support.
The plan, which is supposed to be in place by 2015, was written with input from a range of education groups, including NSBA, and school officials over an 18-month period.
“Our nation’s schools have yet to unleash technology’s full potential to transform learning,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at the announcement. “We’re at an important transition point. We need to leverage technology’s promise to improve learning.”
Karen Cator, the director of the Office of Educational Technology, said in an interview for the October 2010 issue of American School Board Journal that the plan would help further President Obama and Secretary Duncan’s goal to have the world’s highest per capita college graduation rate by 2020. That would mean increasing the percentage of Americans with a degree from a 2-year or four-year school from 39 to 60 percent of the population in the next decade. Read more from that interview in ASBJ’s archives.
“We want to see teachers and students fully empowered to teach and learn with the best possible content, tools, resources, access to experts near and far, and the best simulations, cognitive tutors, adaptive environments, and embedded assessments so that we have a more productive and efficient education system,” Cator said.