April 19, 2018

Public Helps With Education Tech Plan

By Debra Lau Whelan

Officials at the Department of Education (DOE) are currently sifting through some 270 responses to a request for public input to help shape a new plan for teaching technology in our nation’s schools–and a handful of suggestions will likely be included in the final report.

The public recommendations–which came from teachers, librarians, and superintendents, as well as the American Association of School Librarians and the International Society for Technology in Education–“pointed us in some directions that we initially weren’t thinking about,” says John Bailey, director for the department’s office of educational technology, which was given the mandate to draft the new report under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Based on the public commentary, Bailey says the DOE now recognizes two more priorities for an effective National Education Technology Plan: leadership at the superintendent level to ensure that technology is being used effectively and the need to purchase assistive technologies for students with disabilities.

What else can educators expect from the report when it’s released this spring? New budgeting models to help make laptops more affordable for schools, ways to integrate technology into curriculums, and the importance of virtual schools, distance learning, and data-driven decision making. Professional development is also high on the agenda. “It’s not enough to just throw computers inside of a classroom or library and expect that people will know how to use them,” Bailey says.