Did you know? The U.S. Department of Education has an official national education technology plan. It’s available for viewing on ed.gov and highlights the goals, methods, and tools that will be used to implement a better learning environment using technology.
With all the talk of education technology in classrooms around the U.S., I thought it might be useful to alert Edudemic readers to the official plan. Whether you think it’s a good plan or not, you should at least know what it says. After all, being an informed citizen is critical in this election year.
There’s a lengthy executive summary which I’ve taken excerpts from to save you some time. However, I do recommend reading through the plan in its entirety if and when you have the time.
About The Plan
The National Education Technology Plan, Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, calls for applying the advanced technologies used in our daily personal and professional lives to our entire education system to improve student learning, accelerate and scale up the adoption of effective practices, and use data and information for continuous improvement.
It presents five goals with recommendations for states, districts, the federal government, and other stakeholders. Each goal addresses one of the five essential components of learning powered by technology: Learning, Assessment, Teaching, Infrastructure, and Productivity.
Key Points To Know
The plan calls for applying the advanced technologies used in our daily personal and professional lives to our entire education system to improve student learning, accelerate and scale up the adoption of effective practices, and use data and information for continuous improvement.
The National Education Technology Plan presents five goals with recommendations for states, districts, the federal government, and other stakeholders. Each goal addresses one of the five essential components of learning powered by technology: Learning, Assessment, Teaching, Infrastructure, and Productivity. The plan also calls for “grand challenge” research and development initiatives to solve crucial long-term problems that we believe should be funded and coordinated at a national level.
Technology-based learning and assessment systems will be pivotal in improving student learning and generating data that can be used to continuously improve the education system at all levels. Technology will help us execute collaborative teaching strategies combined with professional learning that better prepare and enhance educators’ competencies and expertise over the course of their careers. To shorten our learning curve, we should look to other kinds of enterprises, such as business and entertainment, that have used technology to improve outcomes while increasing productivity.
We also should implement a new approach to research and development (R&D) in education that focuses on scaling innovative best practices in the use of technology in teaching and learning, transferring existing and emerging technology innovations into education, sustaining the R&D for education work that is being done by such organizations as the National Science Foundation, and creating a new organization to address major R&D challenges at the intersection of learning sciences, technology, and education.
A core set of standards-based concepts and competencies should form the basis of what all students should learn. Beyond that, students and educators should have options for engaging in learning: large groups, small groups, and work tailored to the individual goals, needs, interests, and prior experience of each learner. Technology should be leveraged to provide access to more learning resources than are available in classrooms and connections to a wider set of “educators,” including teachers, parents, experts, and mentors outside the classroom. It also should be used to enable 24/7 and lifelong learning.
When combined with learning systems, technology-based assessments can be used formatively to diagnose and modify the conditions of learning and instructional practices while at the same time determining what students have learned for grading and accountability purposes. Both uses are important, but the former can improve student learning in the moment (Black and Wiliam 1998).
With assessments in place that address the full range of expertise and competencies reflected in standards, student-learning data can be collected and used to continually improve learning outcomes and productivity.
Goal #1: Learning: Engage and Empower
All learners will have engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and out of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society.
Goal #2: Assessment: Measure What Matters
Our education system at all levels will leverage the power of technology to measure what matters and use assessment data for continuous improvement.
Goal #3: Teaching: Prepare and Connect
Professional educators will be supported individually and in teams by technology that connects them to data, content, resources, expertise, and learning experiences that enable and inspire more effective teaching for all learners.
Goal #4: Infrastructure: Access and Enable
All students and educators will have access to a comprehensive infrastructure for learning when and where they need it.
Goal #5: Productivity: Redesign and Transform
Our education system at all levels will redesign processes and structures to take advantage of the power of technology to improve learning outcomes while making more efficient use of time, money, and staff.
The Plan’s Table Of Contents
- Letter From the Secretary
- National Education Technology Plan Technical Working Group
- Executive Summary
- Learning: Engage and Empower
- Assessment: Measure What Matters
- Teaching: Prepare and Connect
- Infrastructure: Access and Enable
- Productivity: Redesign and Transform
- R&D: Innovate and Scale
- Appendix A. How This Plan Was Developed
- Appendix B. Contributors
- Appendix C. Acknowledgments