Team 5 is Pro
Team 2 is Con
Team 1
  • Stephanie is Pro
  • Michelle and Megan are Con

Use this page for your discussion posts. Remember to only post in your team's area.

As with previous discussions, sign your name and insert at horizontal rule above and below your post.

Pro Statements


Kristina Kaufman (Group 5)
I am on the pro side of having a National Educational Technology Plan. It is becoming more of an apparent necessity that education in the 21st century will be heavily influenced by and incorporate technology. Many schools are turning to 1-to-1 initiatives to provide each student with their own computer or technological device for classroom use and The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is teaming with states across America to influence standards of education that incorporate the use of technology. While all of these actions are taking a step in the intended direction of an education that provides students with opportunities to learn about new technologies and to leverage their learning with them, not all schools in America are on the same page. Without a National Educational Technology Plan, I believe the distance between the schools that have and those that “have not” will increase, further dividing the opportunities and educational attainment of students to learn and be exposed to relevant technologies.

A national plan would help to make sure that high standards are met for all students in all schools across the country. Why wouldn’t anyone concerned about education want this? Is it fair that some schools have 1-to-1 technology while others a few towns over barley have enough access to a computer lab let alone outdated equipment? While technology itself is quite varied, a national plan would help to provide a more even playing field and a focused goal for what students should be able to do with technology in and outside of the classroom.

To be successful today and, undoubtedly more so in the future, students will need techno-literacy skills that combine more than traditional book literacy skills. Students will need to be able to read vertically and sporadically over a page as opposed to horizontally as well as to be able to critically examine sources and contribute to and create with content online (Klein & Shinas, 2012). These are skills that professionals in all fields must utilize. A national technology plan will help to ensure all students should have a 24/7 infrastructure that supports the critical learning that all students should be allowed to have (see Blog below); technology should not just be for the students of affluent homes or school districts.

References:
Klain, R. & Shinas, V. (2012) Guiding principles for supporting new literacies in your classroom. The Reading Teacher, 65(5), 288-293.

Blog Reference:
http://takingonthird.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-3-national-education-technology.html
“All learners will have engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and out of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society.” This goal from the National Educational Technology Plan (NETP) is one of my favorite new quotes. The NETP says that states must continue to revise, create, and implement standards and learning objectives using technology for all content areas that reflect 21st-century expertise and the power of technology to improve learning.

Our education system at all levels will leverage the power of technology to measure what matters and use assessment data for continuous improvement. Interactive technologies, especially games, provide immediate performance feedback so that players always know how they are doing. As a result, they are highly engaging to students and have the potential to motivate students to learn. They also enable educators to assess important competencies and aspects of thinking in contexts and through activities that students care about in everyday life. Because interactive technologies hold this promise, assessment and interactive technology experts should collaborate on research to determine ways to use them effectively for assessment.

Professional educators will be supported individually and in teams by technology that connects them to data, content, resources, expertise, and learning experiences that enable and inspire more effective teaching for all learners. Today’s technology enables educators to tap into resources and orchestrate expertise across a school district or university, a state, the nation, and even around the world. Educators can discuss solutions to problems and exchange information about best practices in minutes, not weeks or months. Today’s educators should have access to technology-based resources that inspire them to provide more engaging and effective learning opportunities for each and every student.

All students and educators will have access to a comprehensive infrastructure for learning when and where they need it. Only with 24/7 access to the Internet via devices and technology-based software and resources can we achieve the kind of engagement, student-centered learning, and assessments that can improve learning in the ways this plan proposes. The form of these devices, software, and resources may or may not be standardized and will evolve over time. In addition, these devices may be owned by the student or family, owned by the school, or some combination of the two.

I believe that these are all reachable goals but it is going to require great financial assistance as well as large amounts of professional development for educators. I believe that students are more than ready to see these changes implemented into their classrooms.

Rebuttal to Kristina (Michelle Schwartze, Group 1):


In response to your statement that, “without a National Educational Technology Plan, I believe the distance between the schools that have and those that “have not” will increase,” I have to disagree. I think a National Educational Technology Plan will only work to increase that gap between have and have nots. Those schools with more parental and community support will have the families on their side to help them raise money and get more technology, whereas schools lacking that extra support will struggle to maintain the minimum. We need to consider urban schools, which are many times located in areas of high poverty with limited job opportunities (Spillane, 2012). I do not believe that giving those students access to technology will solve all of those problems. It will not provide job opportunities for those families nor take away some of their poverty. I wish it could, but those problems are much bigger than a NETP. Also, as far as making sure high standards are met for all students, of course everyone in education wants that. But, every student and every school is different so those high standards need to be set for individual schools and not for an entire nation.


References

Spillane, J. (2012). The more things change, the more things stay the same? Education and Urban Society, 44(2), 123-127. doi: 10.1177/0013124511431567

~Michelle

Rebuttal to Kristina & Lindsey and In Support of Michelle’s Stance
(Kira Hamann—Group 2—Con)
Kristina’s 1st Post: A national plan would help to make sure that high standards are met for all students in all schools across the country. Why wouldn’t anyone concerned about education want this? Is it fair that some schools have 1-to-1 technology while others a few towns over barley have enough access to a computer lab let alone outdated equipment? While technology itself is quite varied, a national plan would help to provide a more even playing field and a focused goal for what students should be able to do with technology in and outside of the classroom.
Lindsey in response to Michelle: In your statement “I find it hard to believe that the achievement gap will be closed with another form of standardization“, I don’t think that is the Obama Administrations goal. They want to close the achievement gap by providing more technology resources to students. I would not interpret NETP as standardization. It is more about giving students tools to be successful.
I have to support Michelle’s stance that adopting the NETP is a form of standardization that misses the mark with its one-size-fits-all approach. Yes, national guidelines and high standards give everyone something to shoot for, but any time that the federal government makes broad, cross-country mandates such as this (NCLB for example), the goals for the larger country get lost in the infinite differences within individual schools. Having worked for one of the largest school districts in the country (Chicago Public Schools) in one of the most economically and racially diverse cities in the Midwest, I saw first-hand how a one-size-fits-all approach to anything with education falls flat when faced with the infinite differences within schools. Just by saying that “it should be so!” as the NETP does for technology in education, without considering how these types of policies, procedures, and attitudes actually break down at the micro-level is irresponsible, and is really just another form of top-down standardization. Meredith Ely, in her blog on the Huffington Post website, laments that instead of absorbing innovation from the always-changing education technology market in a bottoms-up adoption model, which is almost always better-tailored to individual needs, a plan like the NETP does the exact opposite. She suggests that accepting the naturally-emerging tech taking place across the country would serve us better, as this work grows organically and adapts to individual environments. To just wait for tech to “naturally-emerge” for all schools across the country would be remiss because although many are already using very innovative and exciting uses for tech in their classrooms, this is not the case across the board, and many teachers, schools, and districts will need support and guidance to do this. I would thus add to Ely’s suggestion that tech be allowed to grow organically from the bottoms-up and add that instead of proposing something like the NETP that reeks of potential blanket mandates a la NCLB, the federal government instead should plan strategically for those people and places that will need the most support and guidance in really advancing technology in education. This would be much more beneficial than a one-size-fits-all plan for the country. I look forward to reading your reactions and discovering whether or not you have also felt the burden of standardization/ federal mandates such as these in your own learning, teaching, or outside life.
:)Kira
References:
Ely, M. (2011, February 11). The “technology plan” conundrum. Huff Post: Education. Retrieved from: www.huffingtonpost.com/meredith-ely/the-technology-plan-conun_b_824197.html

Response to Kristina (Amy Hubble Group 2):
I don’t disagree that the National Education Plan is essential for our students and it will afford them opportunities and experiences necessary for their futures. I think it is extremely important for them to engage in technology as it pertains to their daily lives. The problem I have with the plan is the promise of technology for all. In your response to my statements about the issue of funding, I agree that we, as a society and school system, can find creative ways to get technology into children’s home. I understand that businesses can donate computers to low income families. Many of the families I work with have 5 or 6 kids who are all in school. Will these businesses donate a computer for each student to use in the home? If they are going to be incorporating technology into education as suggested, the students will need access to technology at all times to complete homework, class work, and projects. Also, what happens when there is a technical problem with that device? Will there be on-call specialists to go into the students homes to correct the issues? Computer maintenance is costly and time consuming. I DO NOT have a problem with the plan, generally speaking, I just have a hard time believing they will be able to pull it off as “recommended.” You stated that if we focused on the financial aspect of it then nothing would get done and we shouldn't sacrafice quality education because of the money. Doesn't it always revolve around money? I am always hearing the statement, "It's not in the budget." I would love to believe that this will be different but I am having a hard time!


Stephanie Willette (Group 1) (Pro)

In my opinion, implementing the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) is extremely important if we want to move forward with teaching our students 21 Century skills. We need a plan that embraces technology and support educators in connecting with students as they teach essential skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration. According to Kennedy (2010), the NETP has the potential to produce better prepared students, more effective teaching, authentic assessment of student performance, more accessible learning resources, and more productive school systems.

I fully support the purpose for the NETP. The NETP focuses on achieving five main goals that will transform our educational system. First in regards to learning, all learners should have engaging and empowering learning experiences that will prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in a globally networked society. Second, in terms of assessment, the power of technology should be utilized to measure what matters and assessment data should be used for continuous improvement. Third, when thinking of teaching, professional educators should be supported by technology that connects them to data, content, resources, experts, and learning experiences that enable and inspire more effective teaching for all learners. Fourth, when considering infrastructure, all educators and students should have access to the resources they need when they need them. Finally, when taking productivity into account, our education system should redesign process and structures to take advantage of the power of technology to improve learning outcomes while making more efficient use of time, money, and staff (Kennedy, 2010).

I understand that this is a big shift in thinking, and that many teachers will resist the change. However, we need to think of the bigger picture and do what’s best for our students in the long run. Technology is intertwined in our students’ everyday lives, yet schools have not fully embraced incorporating technology into the teaching field. I believe that the NETP will provide schools with the support needed to provide all students with an education that will prepare them for the digital world. According to Kennedy (2010), teachers will no longer receive episodic and ineffective professional development. The plan aims to provide teachers with professional development that is collaborative, coherent, and continuous.

Reference:
Kennedy, M. (2010). Connecting to the future. American School and University, 82 (9) 14-21.



Response to Stephanie (Amy Hubble, group2):

I agree with you that technology is an integral part of our student’s lives and that schools have not fully incorporated technology into the field of teaching. I also agree with you that this is a big shift in thinking for the teachers and they may resist the change. I think this is one of the biggest problems with the lofty goals of the National Education Technology Plan. Our teachers are not prepared and I think it will take a lot of time and resources to properly train them. While most teachers use some forms of technology in their everyday lives, it mostly revolves around emails and social networking. Our students need instruction that will allow them to become critical thinkers, communicators, and collaborators. I know teachers who barely know how to delete an email. The goal of NETP is to provide access to students 24/7 but without proper instruction from highly qualified, trained teachers, I believe the students will do little more than surf the internet and play games.

Response to Stephanie –

Kennedy (2000) may believe teachers will receive professional development, however this currently does not hold true. Pennsylvania House Bill 1352 signed on June 30, 2011 suspends professional development until June 30, 2013 and professional educators will not be required to earn additional continuing professional education credits. With the strain on our economy states are forced to take drastic measures which our impacting our teachers and students. To put such a lofty request forward from NETP seems unwarranted.

Act 45 & 48 Moratorium Update. (2011). Retrieved June 14, 2012, from http://www.paessp.org/publications/press-releases/41-news-and-announcements/278-act-45-a-act-48-moratorium-update.html

(Michael Vetere)


Response to Stephanie (Megan Griffin, Group 1 Con) -

According to Clarke-Midura, Dede and Norton (2011), “many reports and studies have documented that higher-order thinking skills related to sophisticated cognition (e.g. inquiry processes, formulating scientific explanations, commu­nicating scientific understanding, strategies for resolving novel situations) are difficult to measure with multiple-choice or even constructed-response paper-and-pencil tests” (pp. 27-28). Performance-based assessment is an alternate technique to measure such skills. Previously you mentioned, “in terms of assessment, the power of technology should be utilized to measure what matters and assessment data should be used for continuous improvement”. This is great for traditional-based assessment, but what about performance-based assessment? Can technology accurately execute a performance-based assessment the same way a teacher could in order to document higher-order thinking skills?

Reference:
Clarke-Midura, J., Dede, C., & Norton, J. (2011). Next generation assessments for measuring complex learning in science. Retrieved from http://www.ocde.us/CommonCoreCA/Documents/Road_ahead_for%20State%20Assessments_May_2011_Renniecenterforeducationresearchpolicy.pdf#page=31


Lindsey Dickinson (Group 5 Pro)

In my opinion, implementing the NETP plan in schools is extremely important. Technology has become increasing important in the lifestyles of people over the past 10 years. There is no doubt that technology will continue to develop and remain significant in the lives of students. Therefore, we need a plan that will embrace technology and will be able to teach students 21st Century skills that will ultimately help them to become successful in their adult lives.

The United States is in the beginning stages of implementing the Common Core standards to make sure that all students are given learning experiences in classrooms that prepare students for future education. Why not incorporate technology into this overall plan by adopting the NETP? This would allow all students to get technology learning experiences that prepare students for future education.

Ted Nellen, the author of a blog, states “Technology is a powerful and valuable tool that is being used in far better ways than it is being used in schools and it is about time we caught up”. Society is using technology all the time to enhance lifestyles. There is a plethora of resources on the internet that could enrich our classrooms and teach our student technological responsibility.

While the report does discuss the fact that students must have technology available to them and this can be a difficult task, there are many ways to help provide this. In the middle school I work in, we had received an abundance of computers that we were not going to have space to use; therefore we donated these computers and all necessary software and equipment to families of low socio-economic status that did not have these technologies. If educators want a solution to a problem, you may just have to put in a little effort to find the answer.


Blog Reference
Nellen, T. (2010, March 10). The National Educational Technology Plan 2010. Received from: http://tednellen.blogspot.com/2010/03/national-educational-technology-plan.html

Rebuttal to Lindsey and Stephanie (Michelle Schwartze group 1):

I think we all agree that technology is an important part of life now and that it needs to be integrated into schools. Technology is a powerful tool and, as you said, “there is a plethora of resources on the internet that could enrich our classrooms and teach our students technological responsibility.” I will argue, though, that there are also a plethora of resources on the internet that can miseducate our students and be damaging to them and I’m not sure all teachers are ready to handle that. With anyone being able to put something on the internet now it can be challenging to find whether or not it is accurate (Clemmitt, 2008). If a teacher does not know how to determine the accuracy of something on the internet they may end up utilizing resources that may be damaging in the end to the students’ learning. I know that Stephanie brought up in her argument that this plan hopes to provide professional development that will be effective, and I hope so. But, I also wonder how they can promise such a huge thing for ALL schools around the country? Are they going to visit each individual school and make sure someone certified in that area is teaching that professional development? And, how can they make sure that all of the teachers are paying attention and then utilizing the skills they learn? Seems very idealistic and I just wonder if it is the right time to be introducing a national plan for technology.
References
Clemmitt, M. (2008). Internet accuracy. CQ Researcher, 18(27), 627-633. Retrieved from http://www.cqpress.com/docs/CQ_Researcher_V18-27_Internet_Accuracy.pdf

~Michelle


Response to Lindsey (Megan Griffin Group 1- Con)

In a world with unlimited resources and access, the NETP sounds ideal, but in reality many schools are losing teachers and increasing class sizes in order to gain technology (Richtel, 2011). Is this worth it? I agree that technology plays a huge part in individual’s lives, and students need to learn the skills that accompany technology, but this won’t be able to occur if there are limited teachers to creatively teach students technological skills.
Additionally, is it possible that schools have not fully incorporated the NETP because there is a lack of research supporting its effectiveness (Richtel, 2011)? Schools around the country are asking taxpayers to contribute millions of dollars to increase technology in schools. As a taxpayer, I can understand the hesitation to spend additional money on a gamble.

Reference:
Richtel, M. (2011, September 3). In classroom of future, stagnant scores. NY Times: Technology. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/technology/technology-in-schools-faces-questions-on-value.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all.





Shruthi Reddy(Group 5 Pro)
With technology becoming incorporated into so many aspects of our lives, from smart phones to texting to email to Facebook, more and more interactions are taking place via technology. Industries are bringing more technology into their fields, more research is done online, and more information is shared this way as well, it seems only natural that technology becomes a larger part of the learning environment. NTEP is hoping to help achieve this goal by applying the technology we use in our day to day lives into our educational system.

I definitely agree with this because our learning environment should reflect our day to day environment. Sperber (2011) states that “professionals routinely use the Web and tools, such as wikis, blogs, and digital content for the research, collaboration, and communication demanded in their jobs. They gather data and analyze the data using inquiry and visualization tools. They use graphical and 3D modeling tools for design. For students, using these real-world tools creates learning opportunities that allow them to grapple with real-world problems—opportunities that prepare them to be more productive members of a globally competitive workforce.”
We need to teach students the skills that will enable them to be successful in their lives and be productive members of the workforce and I believe that NTEP is a step in the right direction.

Blog Reference

Sperber, M. A. (2011, February 14) The National Education Technology Plan: good for online education and educational technologies. Retrieved from: http://marcalansperber.com/blog/2011/02/14/the-national-education-technology-plan-good-for-online-education-and-educational-technologies/


Response to Shruthi
Thank you Shruthi for your response and Sperber’s perspective on education, however I would note that there is an assumption made about the workforce. The workforce requires a variety of levels of technology. Not all individuals will encounter or desire an occupation with a heavy level of commitment to technology. This brings me to the US Department of Education Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning where it concludes, “Moreover, the combinations of technology, content and activities used in different experimental conditions have often been ad hoc rather than theory based. As a result, the field lacks a coherent body of linked studies that systematically test theory-based approaches in different contexts.” (2010). I therefore conclude that more evidence is necessary to back up Sperber’s claim.


Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies (2010). U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Washington, D.C.

(Michael Vetere)



Con Statements


Amy Hubble (Group 2)

While the goals of the National Education Technology Plan are good intentioned, there are many cons to this plan. I do not contest that students will be entering a work force that is heavily influenced by technological advances, but this plan is assuming that money, professional development, and student access to technological devices on a 1:1 basis are easily attainable.
Districts are already forced to limit the amount of funds for general education expenses. There are larger class sizes and fewer teachers and resources. With the money needed to fund the NETP, other programs will have to suffer a loss of some sort. Will it be sports or the arts? That is already a huge issue in many schools. The amount of money it would take to fund more technology staff, software, and internet accessible devices will be astronomical.
Secondly, professional development to train teachers to effectively integrate technology in the classroom will take an enormous amount of money and time. Just because teachers have access to technology doesn’t mean they know how to use it for the good of students and support of the standards. They will need to be properly trained to support the students with the skills they need including creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. In Willona Sloan’s article, “Can Your School Meet the Goals of the National Education Technology Plan,” she argues that simply adding a mobile device to a poorly designed lesson doesn’t improve the lesson. She says the real question isn’t whether teachers can use technology but rather what are the teachers using the technology for? Are they playing games or designing them? Are they watching videos or creating them?
Finally, the NETP recommends that all teachers and students have at least one internet access device and software. They go on to say that these devices can be owned by the students or families. This is, in my opinion, the biggest challenge of this plan. The funding required to provide each student with such a device seems impossible especially considering the amount of support needed to keep each of these devices in proper working order for the students to be able to do what they need to do. While suggesting that students bring their own devices to school as a way to make this goal cheaper, it is unrealistic. There are many families who are not able to afford these types of devices or internet access. While increasing internet access in neighborhoods is a priority, it will still be some time before this can be accomplished. Many students will have devices that are outdated or nonfunctioning. Even if they use a cell phone, they must purchase a data plan to have access to the internet.

This plan seems like a classic case of some students receiving more benefits than others. Unless there is a way to make sure that ALL students have the SAME access to the SAME resources, then this plan needs some work.

Internet reference:
http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/policy-priorities/vol17/num03/Can-Your-School-Meet-the-Goals-of-the-National-Education-Technology-Plan%C2%A2.aspx
Sloan, W., (2011). Can your school meet the needs of the national education technology plan? Policy Priorities, 17(3).


Response to Amy from Stephanie Willette (Group 1)
Amy,

I understand that many low-income families will not be able to afford devices and internet access on their own. However, have you ever considered that these families could receive financial assistance? The NEPT calls for school districts to provide assistance for technology in the same way that they provide free or reduced-price lunches for students (Kennedy, 2010).

Stephanie Willette (Group 1)

Reference:Kennedy, M. (2010). Connecting to the future. American School and University, 82 (9) 14-21.



Response to Amy: (Lindsey Dickinson Group 5)
In regards to your statement about professional development, don’t you think that many teachers are already familiar with technology in some aspect? Many teachers are using interactive whiteboards, cameras, iPads, or other forms of technology. Nagel states “Teachers who use technology frequently in their classrooms perceive greater benefits to student learning--particularly learning 21st century skills--than teachers who are less frequent users”. Therefore, no matter how much a teacher uses that technology will it hurt the students? Obviously, some teachers will be more comfortable with the technology than others. In general, teachers are great learners; therefore sharing among peers, students, community members, and families is a great way for teachers to learn about other forms of technology.

In regards to making sure that there is technology in each family’s possession for students to use. I believe in the report it stated that there would be funding opportunities. Also, there are numerous other ways in order to gain these types of technologies for families to have. There are many companies that are willing to donate unused or older computers, and there are tons of different grants and funding opportunities.


Resources:
Nagel, D. (2010, June 28). Teachers Report Educational Benefits of Frequent Technology Use
Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/Articles/2010/06/28/Teachers-Report-Educational-Benefits-of-Frequent-Technology-Use.aspx?Page=1


Response to Lindsay: (Kira Hamann Group 2)

Although I can appreciate that in some settings teachers are currently very connected and familiar with various technologies and tools, I would argue that this is not necessarily the norm across the country. Education blogger, Mary Beth Hertz of Edutopia writes, “What we don't reflect on enough is how some educators are connected to the global community, emerging trends and research, and larger conversations around reform and the direction of global education in general -- and how so many other educators are simply not tapped into that world.” She cautions that this seems to be growing into a wider gap as opposed to diminishing. In my reality as a Chicago Public School teacher and a professional development leader for teachers there, I have found that it really is a mixed bag when it comes to knowledge, ability, and interest in using technology for classroom use. This past year I coached ninety teachers who were new pre-k teachers in CPS. Two-third of the group were veteran teachers of varying years of experience who had been moved down from another grade to pre-k, and the other third was brand-new to the field. They were physically spread across the city of Chicago, and I was down here in Normal, so I created a Grouply site (kind of like a ning, but now defunct) to keep us all connected. Over a third had not have an email account that they used regularly and over half had no idea of how to set up an account on the site. I created many tutorials and hand-walked several of them in using the site, but many still did not find the relevance in engaging with the technology. Many of these who were engaging professionally were definitely not using the tech in individual practice. In receiving feedback at the end of the year, about a third remarked that although the Grouply turned out to be cool, they still did not feel a hundred percent comfortable with it, nor were they inclined to continue using something like it in the future.

I would be very interested in a study of actual tech knowledge, skill, and use amongst educators across the country because I would argue that there are more teachers who are less comfortable than those who are extremely comfortable with it. Because of this, any move to a national model such as NETP will have to place more funding, time, and energy in professional development than the NETP currently alludes to. After reading Michael’s post about the cutting of PD funds in Pennsylvania and knowing that for the 2012-2013 school year, Chicago Public Schools has completely cut almost all of its professional development budget for schools across the city, the jump from the status quo to a world in which all teachers have at least basic functioning and ease with ed tech is a long one. I would love to hear how you (fellow Discussion 2-ers) perceive teachers/ faculty in your work place feel about tech. Am I off in my perceptions of the reality?

:) Kira

References:
Hertz, M. B. (2012, April 30). Beyond the teacher’s lounge: The emerging connection gap [Web log post]. Retrived from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/emerging-connection-
gap-mary-beth-hertz


Response to Amy (Kristina Kaufman - Group 5)

Amy, while you raise some points that may oppose a national tech plan, we sometimes have to look past the financial aspect. If we know that students in the 21st century should have quality access to technological tools at school, then education needs to stand up for what it needs. While these costs may be “astronomical” as you identify, if society wants to better the schools in this nation, we can not simply deny a plan because it is “too expensive.” Should we also cut out transportation and after school care, extracurricular activities or quality food for students because it is "expensive"? How can we put a price tag on education or at least the things in education we know we need? Should we let China and Finland continue to make monumental strides as we sit back and use outdated equipment? At least, both pros and cons could agree that we need to update education and I think many would agree that the national tech plan aims to do that. One of the goals is to make sure that at least “98 percent of the country has access to broadband” (Hart, 2011). I think this is a fair goal in the 21st century; in fact, this is a even a low bar in my opinion. If we continue to say that funding is holding us back from X, Y, or Z, then nothing would get accomplished.

Hard, M. (2011). National tech plan: A key to education success. Retrieved from: http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/06/30/national-tech-plan-a-key-to-education-success.aspx

Response to Amy (Shruthi Reddy Group 5)

Amy, I agree that adding mobile device to a poorly designed lesson doesn’t improve the lesson, however a poorly designed lesson isn’t going to help a student learn either.
In any profession, one would undergo professional development to learn new technologies, policies, or gain knowledge that will help them in their job; I don’t see why this should be any different for teachers.

Yes, I understand funding/budgets are an issue, but this is an issue encountered everywhere and sometimes it is necessary to not be concerned with the budget and the priority should bettering yourself professionally as this will be beneficial to those around you. I think that there are ways to work around this such as having teachers within a school educate each other on a technology or idea that they are familiar or comfortable with. Another option may be to use online training which can be self-paced and less expensive.




Michelle Schwartze (Group 1)

The National Education Technology Plan (NETP) introduced by the Department of Education in 2010 is a plan which shows how to use technology in classrooms in order to improve schools. This plan urges our education system to “be clear about the outcomes we seek, collaborate to redesign structures and processes for effectiveness, efficiency, and flexibility, continually monitor and measure our performance, and hold ourselves accountable for progress and results every step of the way” (U.S. Department of Education, 2010, p.5). My question in regards to this is how are we going to monitor and measure performance and how will schools and teachers be held accountable? Is this going to be a continuance of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) where schools with fewer resources will get punished and high stakes testing will increase? NCLB set unrealistic goals that, in the end, have punished many schools (Ravitch, 2011). I just wonder if the NETP will end up doing the same. One of the major goals of the Obama administration is to close the achievement gap. I find it hard to believe that the achievement gap will be closed with another form of standardization. I agree with Steve Johnson (2010) that standardizing anything can be harmful to students. Students and schools are all different, so to apply one national technology plan to every school does not seem fair to the schools that may lack resources others are abundant with.
The NETP provides goals and recommendations in five areas: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity. These goals and recommendations all involve technology that would cost quite a bit of money to get and maintain. The NETP goes on to compare education to a business model and says “what education can learn from the experience of business is that we need to make the fundamental structural changes that technology enables if we are to see dramatic improvements in productivity” (U.S. Department of Education, 2010, p.10). I think maybe we also need to look at all the businesses that have failed because they had lack of funds or were trying to provide for a population that was not in need or able to receive such products. Maybe before we just continue adding to the problems NCLB has created we need to consider whether more standardization is necessary.

References
Johnson, S. (2010, November 30). Dissecting the NETP – Part one, learning: Engage and
empower [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://edtechsteve.blogspot.com/2010/11/dissecting-netp-part-one-learning.html
Ravitch, D. (2011). Dictating to the schools: A look at the effect of the Bush and Obama
administration on school. Education Digest, 76(8), 4-9.
U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Transforming American education: learning powered by
technology. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/28582608/NETP-2010-Final-Report

Response to Michelle (Stephanie Willette Group1)

Michelle,

I agree with you that NCLB has set unrealistic goals that have punished many schools. In fact, my school has endured the turmoil of going through “school choice” for not making AYP. Since we did not make AYP students were given the choice to go to other higher performing schools in our district. Our students had made great growth, and we are closing the achievement gap in our school, but we were unable to meet the unrealistic goals set by NCLB.

However, the NETP promotes authentic assessment unlike NCLB’s standardized testing. The NETP assessment goal states that our education system will leverage the power of technology to measure what matters and use assessment data for continuous improvement. To reach this goal the NETP plans to take many actions. First, they plan to design, develop, and adopt assessments that give students, educators, and other stake-holders timely feedback about student learning to improve achievement as well as instructional practices. Second, they plan to build the capacity of educators and institutions to use technology in order to improve assessment processes and materials for both formative and summative assessment. Third, they feel it is important to conduct research and development that explores how gaming technology, simulations, collaboration environments, and virtual worlds can be used in assessments to engage learners and to assess complex skills and performances. Finally, they plan to revise practices and policies to ensure privacy while promoting a model of assessment that includes collecting ongoing data for continuous improvement (U.S. Department of Education, 2010).

Reference
U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Transforming American education: Learning powered by technology. National education technology plan, 2010. Office of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/28582608/NETP-2010-Final-Report


Response to Michelle: (Lindsey Dickinson Group 5)

In your statement “I find it hard to believe that the achievement gap will be closed with another form of standardization“, I don’t think that is the Obama Administrations goal. They want to close the achievement gap by providing more technology resources to students. I would not interpret NETP as standardization. It is more about giving students tools to be successful.

I do believe that finding an assessment that measures the use of technology and a process of holding teachers accountable will be more difficult. Obviously, there will not be a “test” that will allow people to assess these skills. I would think that the manner in which teachers are being held accountable may be to add something into the teacher evaluation system. Jeff Utecht states “It is great to see teachers using technology in their lessons during an evaluation. It is even more informative if you can evaluate at what level that technology is affecting learning.” In an evaluation system, there are obviously different levels of usage. Teachers can dabble in technology or they can have their students completely engrossed in technology. Either way, teachers are able to be evaluated on the incorporation of technology into their classrooms.

Resources:
Utecht, J. (2008, Janurary 23). Evaluating technology use in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/evaluating-technology-use-in-the-classroom


Response to Michelle (Kristina Kaufman - Group 5)

Michelle, you bring up an interesting topic for discussion: assessment. Any new plan will undoubtedly need to be added to and revised as time goes on, but at least the National Educational Technology Plan (NETP) is a starting point to change education in this country. The following link provides examples of assessment and improved approaches to assessment from the NETP. One of the NETP’s focus areas is assessment and includes thought to classroom responses systems, online tutoring and online assessment among others. The NETP aims to change the way students are assessed as opposed to traditional pen and paper, multiple choice assessment to more of a holistic understanding of content, relating to performative based assessment in conjunction with technology. In fact, these assessments seem more authentic in nature. Popham (2010) argues that authentic assessment is such that is different from what is traditionally given to students and aims to let students show what they have learned. Authentic assessment also pulls from what students really got out of a lesson or content and is essentially asking more of the student than taking a multiple choice test. Aside from thought to assessment, the goal of this action plan is to provide students with relevant tools in the 21st century and give greater opportunity for schools to leverage learning and assessment with technology. I think many would agree that providing these tools to school, reflecting the world around them as they will be adopted by the professions in which these students will enter and possibly in the homes of these students themselves, is a very positive step.

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2010/09/5-examples-of-improved-approaches-to-assessment-from-the-2010-netp-draft/


Popham, J. (2010). Classroom assessment: What teachers need to know. 6th ed. Prentice Hall.



Kira Hamann (Group 2--Post #1--Response to Everyone:) )
Our Pro counterparts in this debate have delineated the some positive components of the National Education Technology Plan, but they fail to mention the countless issues that are raised when we are to consider a national adoption of this plan. Although the NETP is comprehensive covering the learning, teaching, research and development, as well as the finer details of providing infrastructures and coverage for increasing educational technology, there are huge components that are missing, dismissed, or not given enough attention in this national plan. My Con colleagues have described just a few of these including the huge financial ramifications of enacting a plan such as this (which are mentioned vaguely throughout the document), the issue with the over-standardization of education from a national standpoint (it’s all about what the individual states will do, but wait, with direction from the federal government), and the constant wishful-thinking at the national level that education be run in more of a business-model (because they have all the answers—note the sarcasm). I concur with the points that my colleagues have made and would like to expand on two other problematic components of the NETP: the labeling of this as the “ultimate grand challenge,” and the blind following of the tech movement.
I commend the NETP for identifying the status of technology within our schools as a big issue. It is. The problem lies in its identification of this issue as the “ultimate grand challenge,” (U.S. Department of Education, 2010, p. 76). Although the issue of technology in our schools is an important one, is it really the ultimate grand challenge? What about poverty and inequity in education and society? These seem to be much larger, more relevant “ultimate grand challenges.” The NETP mentions at-risk populations, but fails to recognize that these populations will continue to be “at-risk” if technology advances such as the ones mentioned here are forged ahead without addressing underlying divides in education and society. Where is the government’s national plan to address that ultimate grand challenge? No Child Left Behind? While many believe that the digital divide has decreased within the past ten years, Talukdar and Guari (2011) in their analysis of 4,999 individuals taken from random national samples from 2002 and 2008 found that SES and geographic profiles of individuals continued to have statistically significant effects on their likelihood of both Internet access and usage level in the U.S. They report that although the aggregate use of the Internet has increased across the country, which is logical with advances in technology, the actual usage has only been increased by those who were already accessing it, not new or broadened populations (Talukdar and Guari, 2011). This exemplifies the digital divide that only grows deeper. If a plan such as NETP is adopted, the two-tiered systems that are already in place in our education systems will only be increased.
Another major source of concern stemming from the NETP comes from a reading of the full document. Upon completion, it is obvious that the federal government feels passionately that technology is the panacea to all of education’s woes, and it does cite some research in the references section that attempts to back up this claim. But where are the large-scale, experimental, empirically-backed studies showing that investment in technology on a scale this large is beneficial for students, parents, teachers, schools, and society at large? Richtel (2011) writes that they are missing, while the government and schools forge ahead, seemingly blindly. Richtel (2011) writes “In a nutshell: schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.” Research that has been driving this movement is based in small, case studies, which are difficult to apply to larger groups, especially the whole country, which a top-down plan such as this would do. It seems that once again, we, in education, are on a bandwagon that is racing ahead out-of-control, and in this case, we have very little research guiding us. Again, if the larger, foundational issues in education are not addressed, how will pouring more money, time, and emotion into a plan that has spotty research on a national level, at best, properly help our students?
References
Richtel, M. (2011, September 3). In classroom of future, stagnant scores. NY Times: Technology. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/technology/technology-in-schools-faces-questions-on-value.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all.
Talukar, D. & Gauri, D. (2011, February). Home internet access and usage in the USA: Trends in the socio-economic digital divide. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 28(7), 85-98.
U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Transforming American education: Learning Powered by Technology. National education technology plan, 2010. Office of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/28582608/NETP-2010-Final-Report


Michael Vetere
(Con) NETP
I would like to start off by thanking my colleagues for their thoughts and opinions relating to the Pros and Cons of the National Educational Technology Plan. The NETP’s draft in 2010 believes technology is at the “core of virtually every aspect of our daily lives and work” and must be used as an educational tool in the classroom. However, I believe the document has several flaws worthy of debate.

First, technology in the classroom moves our students farther and farther away from human to human interactions. Tiitta Hari and Miiamaaria V. Kujala’s article, Brian Basis of Human Social Interaction: from Concepts to Brain Imaging, identifies the importance to human to human physical encounters as necessary for the development of social cognition (2009). If the “always-on” mentality is held true then our social engagements and learning suffer due to the distraction of the technology.

With the use of technology in the classroom we are also inundating young minds with more social control. From our earlier video’s we watched (What Facebook and Google are hiding from the World, and Google is Watching) it is evident that computer programs are targeting individuals and their interests. Yet, their interests are limited to the information they see. Look at the Disney channel for example, many of their commercials advertise their own products and suddenly we have a Miley Cyrus pop culture phenomenon. Creativity and independent thought is now hindered due to product placement.

NETP also looks at supplying every student and educator with at least one internet access device and software and resources. However, won’t this increase the class divide once students graduate? Computers and internet access runs in the hundreds of dollars. Low income families will not be able to purchase these items that their children have grown accustomed to and it will also put a strain on the middle class families, especially in today’s economy.
In conclusion, NETP’s goals are outreached and not thoroughly thought through. Thank you.

References
Hari R, Kujala MV (2009) Brain basis of human social interaction: From concepts to brain imaging. Physiol Rev 89:453–479.
Pure Education. (Aug. 29, 2010). Google is Watching You. Retrieved June, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbBDQgFNoqw&feature=player_embedded
TED. (Sept.14, 2011) What FACEBOOK and GOOGLE are hiding from world. Retrieved June, 2012. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=bOE1HFEL8XA&feature=player_embedded]]


Response to Michael (Shruthi Reddy Group-5)

Michael, I do have a question about your argument. You say “NETP also looks at supplying every student and educator with at least one internet access device and software and resources. However, won’t this increase the class divide once students graduate”, however I would ask isn't it better for students to have some exposure that will benefit them throughout their educational and professional career versus none at all? Won't the divide be greater if there is no prior knowledge or exposure?


Megan Griffin (Group 1 - Con - Initial Post)

The NETP attempts to make the public believe that technology is the only answer for students to survive in the 21st century. Unfortunately, the government has no data to back up their claims that “technology-based learning and assessment systems will be pivotal in improving student learning and generating data that can he used to continuously improve the education system” (U.S. Department of Education, 2010, v.). According to Richtel (2011), schools are putting “blind faith” into technology. In doing so, schools are neglecting other necessary fundamentals (p. 2). Districts are requesting millions of dollars from voters without providing proof of success.

Currently, education is attempting an aim toward gaining 21st century skills or competencies. According to the NETP (2010), technology is an integral part in establishing these skills. Alternatively, these skills can be established without relying solely on technology. For example, a student enrolled in a technology-centric school in Arizona was grateful that she was allowed to digitally record an oral presentation and display it to the class, rather than present live, due to nerves (Richtel, 2011). Consequently, students are becoming dependent on technology rather than using it as a tool. When this student graduates and receives employment, she will likely be expected to give a presentation in front of a live audience (at some point in time), as opposed to a video camera. Therefore, this reliance on technology is not assisting her in developing 21st century skills, but ultimately hindering her growth.

Technology does have a significant place in the classroom, but when teachers are being forced to beg for paper and pencils in lieu of a new projector bulb, there is a problem. Without sufficient research supporting the positive aspects of technology in education, it is difficult to request higher taxation, larger class sizes and fewer teachers in exchange for a gamble.

References
Richtel, M. (2011, September 3). In classroom of future, stagnant scores. NY Times: Technology. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/technology/technology-in-schools-faces-questions-on-value.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all.
U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Transforming American education: Learning Powered by Technology. National education technology plan, 2010. Office of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/28582608/NETP-2010-Final-Report