Developing communities of practice can help the National Ed-Tech plan become a reality.

The second day of the International Society for Technology in Education’s annual conference featured an hour-long presentation and Q&A session with Karen Cator, director of educational technology for the federal Education Department (ED).

Cator reviewed the nation’s progress toward implementing ed-tech projects and highlighted some of the plan’s top priorities.

“It really is a national education technology plan,” Cator said June 27. “How do people learn in the 21st century?”

The plan focuses on:

•    Learning: Personalized learning and true engagement can make for a powerful learning environment, the plan says.
•    Teaching: Technology has the opportunity to really augment teaching capacity in every single classroom, it says.
•    Assessment: For feedback and better understanding, educators must understand how people learn, and they should be able to take that feedback and improve teaching and learning.

The plan includes “the vision to transform American education and power up learning with the best tech tools of today,” Cator said.

But to execute the plan, several essential components must be in place, she said—such as broadband internet access, devices in all places where learning can occur (including school, homes, and libraries), and the human infrastructure necessary to support such a system.

“How do we make sure that every person who is learning is doing … what is the most productive for the student at any given time?” Cator asked.