New Plan Maps Out the State of Educational Technology in the Classroom

Washington, D.C. — A new report released by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology found that today’s students are often more tech-savvy than their teachers, even among the youngest students. The American Institutes for Research helped develop the National Education Technology Plan.

The report found that students are using technology in rapidly changing ways and urges educators to incorporate that reality into their daily lessons, instead of relegating technology use to computer labs outside the classroom. The report is motivated by a need for today’s student’s to be educated in a way that prepares them to compete in an era of increasing global competition and succeed in the digital age.

Toward a New Golden Age in American Education: How the Internet, the Law and Today’s Students are Revolutionizing Expectation, focuses on signs of progress in core subjects and benefits from the success of innovative new approaches to learning through advances in educational technology. It also profiles today’s students and includes a sampling of the views and recommendations of more than 200,000 students in all 50 states.

AIR, under contract with the Department of Education, led the National Education Technology Plan Outreach Team.  AIR was responsible for coordinating input from the public and disseminating information about the Plan's development process. AIR was also responsible for developing the Plan's website, which is being used to collect feedback from the public. Other team members included the International Society for Technology in Education and the State Educational Technology Directors Association.

Through research, policy analysis, and communication support, AIR staff has played significant roles in the development, implementation, and evaluation of educational technology policy and initiatives for the greater part of a decade—including playing key roles in the development of the prior two National Education Technology Plans of the U.S. Department of Education. AIR staff brought to this effort nationally recognized expertise in studying and supporting the use of technology in education, a deep understanding of the social and organizational context of technology use in schools, and strong relationships with leading education organizations.

This report was undertaken by the Department of Education in response to a request from Congress for an update on the status of educational technology. As work progressed, it became obvious that while the development of educational technology was blossoming, its application in our schools often was not.

The National Education Technology Plan is meant to help motivate and incite technology-driven transformation, while examining the student responses and feedback in regards to their educational needs. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress our nation has made as a result of a decade of increased Federal, state, local, and private investments in connecting classrooms to the Internet, providing students with computers, and equipping teachers with the skills they need to use technology as an instructional tool. Finally, it provides a set of action steps and recommendations that the nation’s school systems can consider as they begin or continue to transform.

AIR, founded in 1946, is a recognized leader in the behavioral and social sciences. It is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization engaged in domestic and international research, development, evaluation, analysis, product development, training and technical assistance and assessment.

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