Editorial: Media illiteracy

Technology itself may not impact education until teachers and students take control of its potential.
Education is what will help today's graduates effectively navigate the flood of digital media now at their fingertips.

Default Lines column from June 2010 edition of eSchool News—President Obama caused quite a stir among the technorati with his commencement address at Hampton University last month.

You might have heard about it: Supposedly, one of the most technologically savvy presidents in our nation’s history—and someone who largely owes his Election Day victory to the power of social media in connecting and engaging today’s youth—decried the tools of the iGeneration as instruments of evil. Or something like that.

“You’re coming of age in a 24-7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter,” Obama told the graduating class of this historically black Virginia university.…Read More

Educators respond to national ed-tech plan

Stakeholders say the NETP has much potential.
Stakeholders say the NETP has much potential, although putting its recommendations into practice could prove challenging.

While many school stakeholders say there’s a lot to like in the new National Education Technology Plan (NETP), such as its emphasis on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and using open educational resources to improve instruction, others are concerned about what they see as a fundamental conflict between the plan’s call for innovation on the one hand and the Obama administration’s continued focus on testing and accountability on the other.

In their blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have called for higher standards, particularly in the core academic subjects of reading and math, and better use of data to make sure students are meeting these more rigorous standards.

The new NETP, released last month, refers to these broader administration goals—but it also calls on school leaders to reinvent teaching and learning, with a focus on personalizing instruction and infusing 21st-century skills into the curriculum.…Read More

From proposed plan to implemented program

Collaboration is essential in making the ed-tech plan a success.
Collaboration is essential in making the ed-tech plan a success.

The partnership between public and private stakeholders has never been more important to American education. That’s especially true now, as we consider the recommendations set forth by the Office of Educational Technology’s draft National Education Technology Plan. To make the plan a reality, collaboration among the public and private sectors should be focused in three key areas: continuing to support innovation through research and development, providing teacher support and tools, and setting standards for teaching and learning platforms that make the development of new applications more efficient.

21st century skills expertise

The plan’s success is critical. Only one in four employers today think two-year and four-year colleges are doing a good job preparing students for the challenges of the global economy, according to a recent survey conducted by Hart Research Associates on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. That number is alarmingly low and it highlights the beliefs of many employers: Our students are inadequately prepared to meet the expectations set by the companies that hire them. This is no doubt linked to student preparation and progress made from kindergarten all the way through graduate school.…Read More

Feds release new national ed-tech plan

Although funding concerns remain, the National Ed-Tech Plan is a promising start to turning around education, ed-tech advocates say.
Although funding concerns remain, the National Ed-Tech Plan is a promising start, ed-tech advocates say.

The new National Education Technology Plan, released March 5, sets an ambitious agenda for using technology to transform teaching and learning, ed-tech advocates say–and a call to action that is long overdue.

The plan, called “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” calls for engaging and empowering learning experiences for all students; standards and assessments that measure key 21st-century skills and expertise; a shift to a model of “connected teaching,” in which teams of interconnected educators replace solo classroom practitioners; always-on connectivity that is available to students and teachers both inside and outside of school; and a rethinking of basic assumptions, such as seat time, that limit schools’ ability to innovate.

Julie Evans, CEO of the nonprofit organization Project Tomorrow, said the plan provides some “long-overdue recommendations” for how technology can enhance education.…Read More

National ed-tech plan coming next week

Cator said comments and links to resources from stakeholders will help the DOE finalize the plan.
Cator said comments and links to resources from stakeholders will help ED finalize the plan.

The latest national blueprint for how schools can leverage technology’s power to transform teaching and learning is coming next week, said Karen Cator, director of the Office of Education Technology for the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

Cator made the announcement at the Consortium for School Networking’s annual conference March 2. During a morning spotlight session, titled “Latest News on the New National Education Technology Plan,” she gave attendees a preview of the plan.

Highlights included a focus on teacher professional development in education technology, supporting ed-tech infrastructure in schools, using real-time data and delivering personalized assessments, and harnessing the power of online learning and social networks to provide 24-7 access to tools and resources for teachers and students.…Read More