National Educational Technology Plan

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve likely seen posts referencing the Digital Divide and the importance of access to technology resources as far back as 2016, as well as follow-up posts in 2018, 2021, 2022, and now, this post in 2024.

Earlier this week, the US Department of Education released its 113-page National Educational Technology Plan. I would encourage anyone interested in the subject to check it out. However, in the event that 113 pages sounds overwhelming, I’ve highlighted this short section that I think everyone in the K-12 community will find of interest:

“…the Department of Education’s 2024 NETP frames three key divides limiting the transformational potential of educational technology to support teaching and learning, including:

The Digital Use Divide, addressing opportunities to improve how students use technology to enhance their learning, including dynamic applications of technology to explore, create, and engage in critical analysis of academic content and knowledge;

The Digital Design Divide, addressing opportunities for educators to expand their professional learning and build the capacities necessary to design learning experiences enabled by technology; and

The Digital Access Divide, addressing opportunities for students and educators to gain equitable access to educational technology, including connectivity, devices, and digital content. This also includes accessibility and digital health, safety, and citizenship as key elements of digital access.”

While there is a lot to unpack here, clearly, the US Department of Education feels passionately about closing these divides.

One major step in doing so is internet access. According to this report, 15-16 million American K-12 learners still do not have access to reliable internet. The ICCSD Office of Technology and Innovation collects data on this issue by asking about home internet access at registration. 6.5% of ICCSD students report NOT having home internet.

This “Digital Access Divide” barrier must be crossed before we make any progress on the preceding issues of use and design, and is why I personally believe the order of these Divides should be reversed. If you are one of the 6.5% of our students without home internet or know someone who is please check out yesterday’s post.

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