I want to thank Jim Steyer and Common Sense Media for bringing this event together and starting this important dialogue – and for your tireless efforts to keep the digital world that our kids inhabit safe and healthy.
Last Monday, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and committee member Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado co-sponsored a briefing on innovation in public education through the use of learning technologies. More than 50 Senate staff members came to hear from a panel I moderated that featured leaders in the ed tech field.
The panelists, Dr. Stephen Elliott (founding director of the Learning Sciences Institute at Arizona State University), Jennie Niles (founder of the DC-based E.L. Haynes Public Charter School), and Jeremy Roberts (director of technology for PBS Kids Interactive), all concurred that the promise of technology to transform education has fallen short of expectations for the past two to three decades. However, they also all agree that we are finally at a time where many factors are converging to overcome historic barriers: increasingly ubiquitous broadband, cheaper devices, digital content, cloud computing, big data, and generally higher levels of comfort with technology among the general population.
Feature: What Role Can Online COPs – Communities of Practice – Play in Achieving Teacher Excellence?
As 2012 unfolds, the Department of Education continues to pursue an important question for closing the achievement gap: How can online communities of practice (COPs) best address some of the most pressing challenges in P-12 education? For the past year, a multi-pronged effort by the Department's Offices of Innovation and Improvement (OII) and Educational Technology (OET) has pursued several critical issues associated with that question.
Following the 2010 release of the National Education Technology Plan, "Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology," the OET outlined best practices for managing online communities of practice in a report entitled "Connect and Inspire." The report employed both research literature and observations of mature communities of practice to describe ways that online COPs can help educators access, share, and create knowledge, as well as build a professional identity that goes beyond what is possible face-to-face.
Following is a statement today by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the "Connect to Compete" Initiative.
“We are rallying the full forces of the federal government, academia, entrepreneurs, the technology sector, and researchers … to fundamentally re-imagine learning,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as he announced the launch of Digital Promise at the White House on September 16. “There’s no silver bullet when it comes to education,” observed President Obama on the occasion of the launch, “but technology can be a powerful tool, and Digital Promise will help to make the most of it.”
Thank you so much Josneil.
I'm excited to be here to celebrate the launch of the 2011 competition, and its potential to propel a quantum leap forward in education reform. We're on the verge of harnessing education's power to unleash the full measure of human potential.
The Education Department's Office of Educational Technology (OET) will host booth #3212 and make several presentations at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia June 25-July1.
Department of Education Issues Guidance on Rights of Students With Disabilities When Educational Institutions Use Technology
Today, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance through Dear Colleague Letters to elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education along with a Frequently Asked Questions document on the legal obligation to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits of technology.