More than 100 organizations are asking Congress to appropriate at least $200 million to help make available education technology devices, resources, and professional development throughout the nation’s school districts.
Technology in the classroom is making new types of instruction possible, according to dozens of groups that are calling on Congress to increase funding for a digital learning initiative.
Technology can open the door to new types and ways of learning that were not imaginable even a few short years ago.
In a letter to Congress last week, the International Society for Technology in Education, along with 26 national organizations and 95 state organizations, petitioned Congress to allot at least $200 million for the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program, which has gone unfunded since 2011.
Among the education-related groups that signed the letter were the School Superintendents Association, the National Education Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
“Technology can open the door to new types and ways of learning that were not imaginable even a few short years ago,” the organizations stated in the letter, which added that high-speed connectivity allows
- students to collaborate, communicate, and create content through blogs, wikis, videos, and other forms of project-based learning
- teachers to choose from a wide array of digital textbooks, online resources, and assessments that provide real-time feedback of student progress to personalize the learning experience
- entire classes to participate in virtual field trips.
The program would also work to make technology devices, software, and equipment more widely available.
The requesting groups also argued that teachers need professional development in incorporating new technologies into their instruction. The organizations asked that school districts be required to set aside at least 35 percent of funds received for teacher professional development.
The White House addressed that issue in its fiscal year 2015 budget. The administration asked for $68.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Education—$200 million of that would go toward a new initiative supporting teachers’ professional development, according to Education Week.