I just took the time to read over the action steps in the National Ed Tech PLan. I thought I would react to them in the hopes that some of you would read them and share your thoughts.
There are 7 of them. Four of them are obvious. 1) encourage broadband access 2) move toward digital content 3) integrate data systems and 4) consider innovative budgeting. This doesn't mean that I think that typical school district will be able to do these anytime soon but...yes, I agree 100% with them.
"Strengthen Leadership" - This one concerns me because I don't really understand how you could become a state, district or building leader without some technological literacy. Would a town or state really consider a tecno-phobe for a leadership position in this day and age? Why is this still a necesary action step? I continue to be impressed with the incredibly creative use of technology I see being used across the country by building level principals. This is particularly true in relation to communication and management tasks. Maybe this is why I am confused as to why this is still necessary. I like the sub-bullets which encourage creative technology partnerships with the business community and including students in planning.
"Improving teacher training" - How long have we beating this drum? Why hasn't it happened yet? One misperception that many in the public have is that many veteran teachers are technophobes and the new ones are tech-saavy. MANY young teachers I have encountered were is desperate need of training in technology for their own personal productivity. The vets seem to embrace any technology that has merit and innovate with it. Often the reason that teachers, in general, aren't using it more has to do with logistics, reliability, and availability. Am I right or am I right? See Larry Cuban for more on this!!
"Supporting e-Learning" - Are we really thinking that e-Learning is going to provide meaningful educational experiences for kids? I take on-line grad courses in order to efficiently get through my degree. I have all of the independent learning skills necessary to manage that situation. Does your typical kid? I think there is a place for this but there is a very small percentage of kids who have the situation necessary to meaningfully learn in this way. (ie- AP Mandarin Chineese class for which one instructor exists in a 500-mile radius) Take a second to think of three of your most meaningful educational experiences. Could they have been easily encapsulated into an e-learning experience? It's the teachers stupid! This is an OPINION. Am I wrong? Tell me why by commenting below.
All in all...these are good action steps. I guess what bugs me is the need that still remains for some of them and the shift away from the actual and towards the virtual classroom. Could it be the ever changing nature of technology or shifting priorities at the DOE that cause this constant need? I don't know but I hope this posting evokes a response.