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August 15th, 2011
Report: Federal action needed to expand digital learning
Experts stress the importance of technology's role in solving education's long-standing problems
As schools increasingly embrace digital learning, a new report says more federal action is needed to encourage the effective use of educational technology.
The Alliance for Excellent Education hosted a recent webinar to discuss its report, which highlights examples of successful digital learning around the country and recommends several steps for the federal government to take in order to build on this success and bring it to scale nationwide.
“We are moving from a predominantly print-based to a digital learning environment,” said Karen Cator, director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), noting why now is the perfect moment for more government action.
“From Gutenberg to gigabytes,” added webinar host Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, co-chair of the Digital Learning Council (DLC) project, and former governor of West Virginia.
According to the report, “Digital Learning and Technology: Federal Policy Recommendations to Seize the Opportunity—and Promising Practices That Inspire Them,” the federal government should do more to help state and local education systems with this major transition in education.
In particular, the report says, the government should:
1. Infuse technology throughout all federal education programs.
2. Restore the dedicated funding stream for educational technology that was lost when the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program was not funded in the last federal budget.
3. Encourage states to implement the 10 recommendations from the Digital Learning Council (DLC), a bipartisan group led by Wise and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. These recommendations include moving from seat time to competency as a measure of student advancement, and ensuring that all students have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities.