U.S. Department of Education Releases 2016 National Education Technology Plan, Advised by Beth Simone Noveck

Andrew Young — December 22, 2015

This month, the United States Department of Education released “Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education.” The National Education Technology Plan (NETP) – which was developed with input from a diversity of expert advisors, like Network chair Beth Simone Noveck – “sets a national vision and plan for learning enabled by technology through building on the work of leading education researchers; district, school, and higher education leaders; classroom teachers; developers; entrepreneurs; and nonprofit organizations.”

The NETP focuses on five key areas:

  • Learning—Engaging and Empowering Learning Through Technology
  • Teaching—Teaching With Technology
  • Leadership—Creating a Culture and Conditions for Innovation and Change
  • Assessment—Measuring for Learning
  • Infrastructure—Enabling Access and Effective Use

The NETP concludes with optimism on the potential impacts of technology on education, while recognizing that it is far from a panacea:

“The timing has never been better for using technology to enable and improve learning at all levels, in all places, and for people of all backgrounds. From the modernization of E-rate to the proliferation and adoption of openly licensed educational resources, the key pieces necessary to realize best the transformations made possible by technology in education are in place.

Educators, policymakers, administrators, and teacher preparation and professional development programs now should embed these tools and resources into their practices. Working in collabo- ration with families, researchers, cultural institutions, and all other stakeholders, these groups can eliminate inefficiencies, reach beyond the walls of traditional classrooms, and form strong partnerships to support everywhere, all-the-time learning.

Although the presence of technology does not ensure equity and accessibility in learning, it has the power to lower barriers to both in ways previously impossible. No matter their perceived abilities or geographic locations, all learners can access resources, experiences, planning tools, and information that can set them on a path to acquiring expertise unimag- inable a generation ago.”