“All learners will have engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and out of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society.” This goal from the National Educational Technology Plan (NETP) is one of my favorite new quotes. The NETP says that states must continue to revise, create, and implement standards and learning objectives using technology for all content areas that reflect 21st-century expertise and the power of technology to improve learning.
Our education system at all levels will leverage the power of technology to measure what matters and use assessment data for continuous improvement. Interactive technologies, especially games, provide immediate performance feedback so that players always know how they are doing. As a result, they are highly engaging to students and have the potential to motivate students to learn. They also enable educators to assess important competencies and aspects of thinking in contexts and through activities that students care about in everyday life. Because interactive technologies hold this promise, assessment and interactive technology experts should collaborate on research to determine ways to use them effectively for assessment.
Professional educators will be supported individually and in teams by technology that connects them to data, content, resources, expertise, and learning experiences that enable and inspire more effective teaching for all learners. Today’s technology enables educators to tap into resources and orchestrate expertise across a school district or university, a state, the nation, and even around the world. Educators can discuss solutions to problems and exchange information about best practices in minutes, not weeks or months. Today’s educators should have access to technology-based resources that inspire them to provide more engaging and effective learning opportunities for each and every student.
All students and educators will have access to a comprehensive infrastructure for learning when and where they need it. Only with 24/7 access to the Internet via devices and technology-based software and resources can we achieve the kind of engagement, student-centered learning, and assessments that can improve learning in the ways this plan proposes. The form of these devices, software, and resources may or may not be standardized and will evolve over time. In addition, these devices may be owned by the student or family, owned by the school, or some combination of the two.
I believe that these are all reachable goals but it is going to require great financial assistance as well as large amounts of professional development for educators. I believe that students are more than ready to see these changes implemented into their classrooms.