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SETDA Hosts Senators Reid (NV), Murray (WA), Hagan (NC), and Bingaman (NM) as Honored Guests at a Future of Learning Technology Showcase

November 6, 2009 (Washington, DC) – At a Senate showcase hosted by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), United States Department of Education, and the  National Science Foundation (NSF) more than 500 national policy makers and thought leaders highlighted exemplary programs funded by NSF and the No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program.

Several Senators were honored guests of the showcase, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) and Senator Patty Murray (WA), who spoke about the importance of using technology in our classrooms to enhance teaching and learning.  Senators Key Hagan (NC) and Jeff Bingaman (NM) also visited the showcase and spent time with hands-on opportunities to learn the importance in technology in our education system.

Through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and EETT regular funds, states are developing 21st century classrooms that provide teachers with the training, tools and support they need to individualize instruction, increase student engagement and achievement, and increase interest in STEM fields to build a strong workforce to compete in the global economy.

Senator Reid (NV) commented on the tremendous contributions made by educators developing cutting-edge technologies for teaching and learning.  He cited miniature solar cars, robots playing soccer, and earthquake shake tables as examples of innovative technologies with exciting, broad-reaching impact.

“People do not realize that one of the most earthquake-prone places in the world is the state of Nevada.  As a result of that, I became interested in what the University of Nevada, Reno was doing regarding research on earthquakes,” said Reid.  “We have done some tremendously important and valuable work there.”

Senator Murray (WA) provided insight on why technology is essential to living and learning in the 21st century and the need for teachers to have tools and training to provide students with the first-class education that all American children deserve.

“The showcased programs demonstrate clearly the power of educational technology to enhance teaching and learning,” said Senator Patty Murray. “If we want to effectively prepare our students to thrive in the twenty-first century global economy we need to continue expanding technology opportunities in the classroom. That is why I have been a strong advocate for classroom technology that gives teachers and students the resources they need and deserve, and why organizations like SETDA are so important.”

Senator Bingaman (NM) toured the exhibits and focused on the need to support programs like EETT or the ATTAIN act that provides teachers with the professional development to integrate technology into their lesson plans to improve teaching practices. He emphasized the need for 21st Century Learning environments as well as supporting infrastructures such as New Mexico’s IDEAL portal and robust broadband connections to support these enriched learning environments.

“Technology is an extremely important education tool.  It was useful to experience how emerging technologies are being put to use in classrooms across the country.  And it reinforced my commitment to investing in the effective use of technology in schools,” said U.S. Jeff Bingaman, a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“We were so pleased to host this important event,” said Dr. Mary Ann Wolf, SETDA’s Executive Director. “This was an opportunity to highlight how EETT programs serve as a catalyst for school improvement initiatives that change instructional practice using technology. We greatly appreciate our honored guests’ leadership for ensuring that our nation’s students are prepared for the 21st Century global economy.”

About SETDA

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal association representing the state directors for education technology. SETDA works to promote national leadership in education technology; provide professional development to members; in an effort to build partnerships that provide leadership to advance learning opportunities. SETDA’s membership includes educational technology directors from the state departments of education of all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Bureau of Indian Affairs, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. http://www.setda.org

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