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2016 National EdTech Plan Insists on Technology Training in Teacher Prep, Warns Against BYOD

2016 National Ed Tech Plan Insists on Tech Training in Teacher Prep, Warns Against BYOD

The U.S. Department of Education released the 2016 National Education Plan yesterday, which comes six years after the last and elaborates significantly on U.S. ed tech policy.

Described by the DOE as the "flagship educational technology policy document for the United States," the document highlights the importance of learning, leadership, teaching, assessment and infrastructure in increasing edtech equity on a national level.

"The 106-page document envisions what education could look like in coming years, describes how technology can play a role, and outlines steps that education leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, researchers, policymakers and others can take,” said EdSurge.

The five components to the 2016 plan are all designed to reach an end goal of increasing the quality of tech and its influence in U.S. education.


In order to provide greater equity and accessibility, tech should be used to transform learning experiences for the better. One of the end goals of technology in U.S. education, then, is to improve learning, the report says. 


As technology changes, so must the understanding of how to use it to teach. "[T]o be transformative, educators need to have the knowledge and skills to take full advantage of technology-rich learning environments” all the while being adaptive to tech changes.


Strong and capable leaders must step up to help lead instruction with shifting technology to increase the learning experience for all kinds of learners.


Technology should be a key factor in distributing assessments to "reduce interruptions to learning time” and enable better tracking of learning progress for all learners.


And to be make all of the above possible, schools must have access to high connectivity and devices that create a workable infrastructure of tech.

The 2016 report also notably takes a firm stance against Bring Your Own Device policies and encouraging tech training in teacher prep programs.


According to the report, BYOD programs can highlight economic disparity, create instructional burdens, and raise privacy and security concerns, leading the DOE to conclude that BYOD policies should not be a primary tech policy.

With BYOD, “[i]t can be very difficult for teachers to manage learning experiences and activities when they have to support multiple platforms and device types, and some activities may be incompatible with some devices. In this situation, teachers may revert to activities of the lowest common denominator that work on older and less robust devices at the expense of a more effective learning experience,” the report said.

Besides also encouraging Openly Licensed Educational Resources and outlining protections for student data, the report insists that teacher preparation programs be adjusted to inspire "a solid understanding of how to use technology to support learning.”

Schools should be able to rely on teacher preparation programs to ensure that new teachers come to them prepared to use technology in meaningful ways. No new teacher exiting a preparation program should require remediation by his or her hiring school or district. Instead, every new teacher should be prepared to model how to select and use the most appropriate apps and tools to support learning and evaluate these tools against basic privacy and security standards, the report said.

It highlighted prep programs from the University of Michigan, Saint Leo University and Illinois State University’s Department of Special Education as leaders in this movement.



Read the full report here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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