Technology is an essential component of student learning

The 2016 NETP plan articulates a vision of equity, active use, and collaborative leadership to make everywhere, all-the-time learning possible.

Technology is an essential component of learning today. With digital applications, tools and resources, students can create content, interact with experts, collaborate with peers and participate in simulation activities. Personalized learning experiences put students at the center of learning and empower students to take control of their own learning through flexibility and choice. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) acknowledges technology’s role in transforming learning and includes definitions for digital learning and blended learning, and references technology throughout the legislation. In the Non-Regulatory Guidance Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants publication provides an overview of activities LEAs may consider as they prepare for implementation of the effective use of technology (ESEA Section 4109). Specific activities include: supporting high-quality professional development for educators, school leaders, and administrators to personalize learning and improve academic achievement; building technological capacity and infrastructure; carrying out innovative blended learning projects; providing students in rural, remote, and underserved areas with the resources to benefit from high-quality digital learning opportunities; and delivering specialized or rigorous academic courses and curricula using technology, including digital learning technologies.

Similarly, the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) calls for a “revolutionary transformation rather than evolutionary tinkering” in education and recognizes that we must leverage technology to provide engaging and powerful learning experiences for all students. Technology offers all students – urban, rural, low-income, ESL, special needs, high achieving – the opportunity to engage in dynamic learning activities. Education leaders at the federal, state, and local level have the opportunity to provide leadership to ensure that all students have personalized, engaging learning experiences.

U.S. Department of Education Initiatives and Resources

The Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Program

The Enhancing Education Through Technology state educational technology grants program (Title II, Part D, of ESEA) was the U.S. Department of Education’s only program dedicated to the integration of educational technology in K-12 schools. At the request of the Obama Administration, Congress defunded the program beginning with federal fiscal year 2011.

EETT explicitly supported the broad goals of ESEA through the use of technology in schools and had three primary goals: (1) to improve student academic achievement in elementary and secondary schools through the use of educational technology; (2) to assist every student in crossing the digital divide by ensuring that every student is technologically literate by the time the student finishes the eighth grade, regardless of the student’s race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability; and (3) to encourage the effective integration of technology resources and systems with teacher training and curriculum development to establish research-based instructional methods that can be widely implemented as best practices by state education agencies and local education agencies.

SETDA and its members undertook the creation of annual reports from 2004-2012 on national trends in the use of funds appropriated to the program. The supplemental investment in the program through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was covered in a special SETDA report, as well as in select case studies prepared by SETDA on the use and impact of funds drawn from 28 states.

For access to all of SETDA’s National Trends and related reports on the implementation of the EETT state educational technology grants program, visit the Resource section and filter by “Federal Program Implementation”.

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