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Sizing Up Obama's Ed-Tech Plans

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I just finished up a story for Digital Directions today about what Obama plans to do for the ed-tech community and how that measures up to what prominent members of that community believe he should do once he takes office on Jan. 20.

As we mentioned before, Obama has pledged to put more computers in schools and expand broadband access to homes and schools as part of his economic-recovery plan that he hopes will create up to 3 million jobs. In addition, Obama has indicated that technology will play a much larger role in the infrastructure of government, something ed-tech advocates hope schools will take notice of and emulate.

One thing I didn't have room to talk much about in the story was the role of technology in increasing the transparency of government, which many ed-tech experts were excited about. Tracy Gray, from the National Center for Technology Innovation told me, "What [Obama's] trying to do, I believe, is make sure that all citizens who are interested have the option to better understand what government policies are, what the mandates are for our citizenship from a legislative perspective, despite whatever disabilities or handicaps they have, that they can get this information."

Kimberly A. Rice, the chief information officer for the Boston public schools, hopes that the same philosophy will be applied to education. "Our parents, families, and communities should expect that we make our [student] data transparent, whether or not they choose to use those tools," she said. "Student information, parent portals, access to student grades, ... are really important, and I'm finding it promising that [Obama is] setting that expectation for his own executive branch."

This was a very interesting story to report, and most everyone I talked with was enthusiastic and hopeful about what might happen when the President-elect takes office. It'll be a while until we know whether Obama will fulfill all the promises he made for ed tech on the campaign trail, and in light of the current economic, financial, and global downturn, it's unlikely that we'll see a whole lot of movement on this right away, but it's definitely something that—at this point—the whole ed-tech community is watching closely.

2 Comments

I am also very excited about Obama's ed-tech community plans. The education field is not up to par with the ever-changing pace that technology is setting in our world today. If schools have more access and availability to computers and internet access, then teachers will be able to implement more technology-based lessons and projects in their classrooms.

In addition their students will become equipped with the technology skills which they will need to be productive in today's society. Teachers and students alike can learn from each other using poweful web tools such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts. By exploring these tools and putting them to use in the classroom students are preparing for their future. As educators continue to stay abreast with the latest trends in technology everyone benefits.

Since technology is becoming more innovative in the classroom, and it is facilitating the way teachers' teach and creating ways to do things differently in the classroom; I hope Obama's Ed-Tech plans come through. As an educator I realize the power of Web 2.0, and the impact it will have on today's generation. Schools need to be equipped with the latest technology in order to prosper.

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