Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dissecting the NETP- New Blog Series


The National Education Technology Plan was just released this month. This long, ambitious document lays out both the general and specific direction that the Department of Education is looking to move forward with. In the next 7 weeks on this blog I'd like to dive into the plan, summarize what it is trying to say, relate what it means for teachers, and offer up my own opinions as to how it is laid out and structured. Any time a plan such as this comes forward from policymakers it is very important to not only wrestle with it in an attempt to understand what it will mean for everyday classroom teaching, but what directions we can expect to be pushed, poked, or prodded to go in the near future!

The name on the plan is "Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology." In Arne Duncan's accompanying letter, he stresses that "the model of learning described in this plan calls for engaging and empowering personalized learning experiences for learners of all ages." Within the first page of the executive summary, we find that the plan calls for "revolutionary transformation rather than evolutionary tinkering" (p. ix), a statement that I very much agree with. However, right after this statement are listed four major emphases of the plan that aren't all that revolutionary:
  • Be clear about the outcomes we seek (Is this a new idea?)
  • Collaborate to redesign structures and processes for effectiveness, efficiency, and flexibility
  • Continually monitor and measure our performance (Is this revolutionary?)
  • Hold ourselves accountable for progress and results every step of the way (there's the A word that often gets us into debate...)
The plan is then laid out into five goals with recommendations for states, districts, the federal government, and other stakeholders. These goals address what the plan calls "the five essential components of learning powered by technology: Learning, Assessment, Teaching, Infrastructure, and Productivity" (as a side note, that is an interesting order isn't it?). Each of the next five weeks I will dedicate this Tuesday blog space toward each section. On the 6th week, I'll look at the Research and Development piece included with the plan. And, finally, on the 7th week I'll offer up my final thoughts, conclusions, and ways we can move forward in schools to reconcile the plan with our everyday work with students.

Outline
  • Nov. 30th- Learning: Engage and Empower
  • Dec. 7th- Assessment: Measure What Matters
  • Dec. 14th- Teaching: Prepare and Connect
  • Dec. 21st- Infrastructure: Access and Enable
  • Dec. 28th- Productivity: Redesign and Transform
  • Jan. 4th- R&D: Innovate and Scale
  • Jan. 11th- Final Reflections and the Way Ahead
I hope you enjoy these posts and I hope they offer some insight into what will be coming down the pike in our schools.

Happy Thanksgiving!
-Steve J

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