Building on the report of a technical working group of leading researchers and practitioners and on input received from many respected education leaders and the public, this National Education Technology Plan tackles this and other important questions. The plan presents goals, recommendations, and actions for a model of 21st century learning informed by the learning sciences and powered by technology. Advances in the learning sciences give us valuable insights into how people learn. Technology innovations give us the ability to act on these insights as never before.
Our plan is based on the following assumptions:
- Much of the failure of our education system stems from a failure to engage students.
- What students need to learn and what we know about how they learn have changed and therefore the learning experiences we provide should change.
- How we assess learning focuses too much on what has been learned after the fact and not enough on improving learning in the moment.
- We miss a huge opportunity to improve our entire education system when we gather student-learning data in silos and fail to integrate it and make it broadly available to decision-makers at all levels of our education system – individual educators, schools, districts, states, and the federal government.
- Learning depends on effective teaching, and we need to expand our view of teaching to include extended teams of educators with different roles who collaborate across time and distance and use technology resources and tools that can augment human talent.
- Making engaging learning experiences and resources available to all learners anytime and anywhere will require state-of-the-art technology and specialized people, processes, and tools.
- Education can learn much from industry about leveraging technology to continuously improve learning outcomes while increasing the productivity of our education system at all levels.
- Just as in health, energy, and defense, the federal government has an important role to play in funding and coordinating some of the more far-reaching research and development challenges associated with leveraging technology in education.
Just as technology is at the core of virtually every aspect of our daily lives and work, it is central to implementing the model of 21st century learning in this plan.
The model depends on technology to provide engaging and powerful learning content, resources, and experiences and assessment systems that measure student achievement in more complete, authentic and meaningful ways. Technology-based learning and assessment systems will be pivotal in improving student learning and generating data that can be used to continuously improve the education system at all levels. The model depends on technology to execute collaborative teaching strategies combined with professional learning strategies that better prepare and enhance educators’ competencies and expertise over the course of their careers.
The model also depends on every student and educator having Internet access devices and broadband Internet connections and every student and educator being comfortable using them. It depends on technology to redesign and implement processes to produce better outcomes while achieving ever-higher levels of productivity and efficiency across the education system.
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