Team 1 - Pro

Team 3 - Con


Build your position with research - make a statement, cite a source that supports that statement.

Pro Statements


Kevin Palmer (Team 1 - Pro Statement)


From NCLB to Race to the Top, our nation�s educational establishment has embraced a variety of tactics that pursue goals necessary for our students to succeed in the 21st Century. The 2010 NETP: Transforming American Education is at the forefront of this important effort. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have set the tone for this important transformation. At its core are three main components � Learning, Assessing, and Teaching: Learning for all learners by matching what our students need to know with what we teach. Assessing by using technology gives us instant feedback as to what students have learned and what needs to be done to improve their learning and in this way the instant summative assessment can then instantaneously help with formative assessment so that the teacher can modify how and what he teaches. And thirdly - Teaching in a community rather than solo by accessing a variety of educators via an educator network to better accommodate our students thus giving the teacher the necessary resources to better engage students and prepare them. With technology so readily available, teachers, just like our students, must seek the assistance of a vast network of experts that are merely fingertips away.

As part of our district�s assessment PLC/PLT for U.S. History, I have experienced firsthand the need to create assessment that is a tool for teaching what it is our students need to know. We have for too long assessed what we individually think students need to know rather than collectively assess what skills they need to know how to use to make them lifelong learners. In creating our new assessment, we utilized a variety of visuals, i.e. photos, maps, cartoons, etc., as well as text from speeches, songs, poems to require our students to interpret and assess rather than rote assessment which measures what a student can memorize rather than employing tools that can be useful in other avenues. As the National Center On Universal Design for Learning advocates �Neuroscience tells us that these three different types of learning sic [factual knowledge, procedural knowledge, and motivational engagement] are supported by three different brain systems. Social sciences reveal that human expertise integrates all three types of learning. Technology has increased our ability to both study and enhance all three types of learning. (National Research Council, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2009; National Science Foundation, 2008b).

Assessment: Measure What Matters. (n.d.). Retrieved from
http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010/assessment-measure-what-matters
How People Need to Learn. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/

Jason Spoor - (Team 1 - Pro Statement)


“Knowing how to use technology and knowing how to use it for teaching are extremely different skills.” – Dr. Barry Fishman, member of the team assembled to create the NETP.

The quotation above is one of the fundamental reasons why the NETP is favorable for the teaching profession, the state of American education, and, most importantly, our students. Through reading and having contact with different teachers in my PLN I have found many that agree, wholeheartedly with the importance of the 21st Century skills and, as is mentioned in the report, the shift from an industrial to an information economy. However, where I do often have the most interesting discussions is concerning the implementation of technology and what that looks like in our classrooms.

All too frequently teachers are given access to technology tools but not given the necessary professional development to appropriately utilize these tools. What the NETP provides is guidance to our educational leaders that this is a national priority and helping our students develop these skills in a technology integrated schoolhouse is essential to the future success of our nation. Dr. Fishman, in his webinar, specifically speaks to the guidance that the NETP provides and the fact that what is radical about the NETP is not the focus on technology and its importance in our classrooms, but the focus on how we organize and transform teaching and learning. Educators need professional development to understand how pedagogy and material needs to change in order to facilitate the success of our students. To give every student a laptop and then stand in front of the room and lecture is not teaching the skills needed to lead the future. There is technology and there is instruction in that classroom, but when those two things do not work symbiotically true learning is not taking place.

Stephe. (2011, July 2). National Education Technology Plan [Web log comment]. Retrieved from
http://educationvisionleadership.edublogs.org/2011/07/02/national-education-technology-plan/

LoriAnne Frieri - Team 1 - Pro Statement


Creating new systems, not just “doing old things in new ways” underlies the National Education Technology Plan, but it is also the main focus of many researchers and educators calling for a radical departure from business as usual in education. Marc Prensky (2012) makes the case that it is time for the 21st Century Classroom to be shaped by the new technologies that drive our students and shape their world. Arne Duncan offers on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, a national plan of action that minimizes the inequities that exist between each student, each classroom and across state lines. The ability of the Federal Government to fund and equip our schools is essential for making access to technology and 21st Century Educators systemic and programmatic rather than provisional and inadequate. Our basic sense of what is right should drive the technological revolution that our schools require. Prensky (2012) argues that our schools require a “new curricula, new organization, new architecture, new teaching, new student assessments, new parental connections and new administration procedures” to move our schools into the digital age. By including a radical plan that addresses these issues, the National Education Technology Plan calls for a transformation in how define our educational outcomes, seek collaboration for the redesign of our structures and processes, assess our performance and create accountability. Many teachers are not prepared to inherit this world of accountability and data driven environments that can provide for continual improvement, design and implementation. Prensky (2012) calls for schools to move beyond acting as conservative bastions that resist the pressure to evolve, integrate, and lead in the area of technology. In fact, while many schools resist, both Prensky (2012) and the National Education Technology Plan recognize that there are successful models of schools embracing a technology plan that drives their school improvement rather than simply revising “old things done in new ways.” Technology allows for us create new systems that will push our students into, Prensky believes, completing standard curriculum in half of the time. With that extra time true learning, connectivity and transformation can take place in our students.

Prensky, Marc. "Shaping Tech for the Classroom | Edutopia." K-12 Education & Learning Innovations with Proven Strategies That Work | Edutopia. Web. 09 Feb. 2012. http://www.edutopia.org/adopt-and-adapt-shaping-tech-for-classroom.

Antonette Minniti--Pro Statement for NETP 2010


While the National Educational Technology Plan (2010) admits that “The United States has a long way to go if we are to see every student complete at least a year of higher education or postsecondary career training” (p. 19), we have to start somewhere. Laying out high expectations and many pathways for this plan lines up with much of our educational research on student learning and assessment. Sometimes in education, teachers view ideas in education as a swinging pendulum. This has not been the case. In this plan, the ideas for education and educational technology align with current educational research. One education blogger, Jessica L. Knott, writes, “The significance of this problem is that society is rapidly changing and education must follow suit to produce well-prepared and productive citizens. Social networking and mobile phones have become not only social norms, but tools students expect to be utilized.” In essence, the plan’s vision calls for making technology more than a place to simply look up information. Students need to not only connect to content, but engage with content in whatever way best allows them to learn. Using educational technology allows differentiation for students.

Of course, none of this can be accomplished without educators working together and embracing what is needed for success in our current society. In agreement, the report includes: “Collaboration between P-12 and higher education institutions and practice supported with technology are crucial to addressing the problem” (p.10). This should not only include how to use technology, but how to get technology availability in every school. This may involve prioritizing things differently or getting creative with resources. In “Teachers’ use of educational technology in U.S. public schools, 2009 first look”, national data shows that “Ninety-seven percent of teachers had one or more computers located in the classroom every day, while 54 percent could bring computers into the classroom (table 1). Internet access was available for 93 percent of the computers located in the classroom every day and for 96 percent of the computers that could be brought into the classroom. The ratio of students to computers in the classroom every day was 5.3 to 1” (p. 3). While the data shows that there is a high availabity of some technology, the goal of the plan calls for getting these numbers up to 100 percent. When I think about what it takes to succeed in our current society, the National Educational Technology Plan is on target.

Gray, L., Thomas, N., Lewis, L., & Tice, P. (2010). Teachers’ use of educational technology in
U.S. public schools, 2009[electronic resource]: first look. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Dept. of Education.

Knott, J. L. (2011). “Analysis: National Educational Technology Plan, 2000 and 2010.”
Professional and Education Portfolio. 2 Sept 2011 http://jessknott.com/?p=207.

Rebuttals to Pro Statements:

Con Rebuttal

Vaishali Tajpuria
Con
The 21st century classroom is filled with technology, gadgets, toys, and a variety of other things. NETP talks about mobile devices to access information at any time. No where in the reading is there any mention of low income schools and students. The world is filled with technology but not all students have a computer at hone, cell phone, or any other device. The article says "Many students’ lives today are lled with technology that gives them mobile access toinformation and resources 24/7, enables them to create multimedia content and share it with the world, and allows them to participate in online social networks where people from allover the world share ideas, collaborate, and learn new things." How can we do that is the world they are unable to share their world as easily as affluent students? These schools need to rely on programs such as Teach for America. Such programs often do not have the resources they need to compete. If everyone had access to the same technology, then maybe we can individualize education the way the article suggests.
The article also says "Whether the domain is English language arts, mathematics, sciences, social studies, history,art, or music, 21st century competencies and expertise such as critical thinking, complex problem solving, collaboration, and multimedia communication should be woven into all content areas." These are not the only thins that should be woven into all content areas. Creativity can help to find solutions to problems, being able to compromise is important for collaboration, and being able to work on your own as well as with others is also important.

Teach For America Program Serves Rural, Low Income Schools
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPI51MiKQVM

Mary Pat Krones (con) rebuttal to LoriAnne Frieri:


LoriAnne-The NETP 2010 provides many goals and structures for improving education, as pointed out in your reflection. As a matter of fact, ASCD largely agrees with the report and recommendations. However, Sloan (2011), brings forth many realistic challenges of the ability to implement such a lofty plan. Primarily, the concerns are centered on funding and professional development. The plan suggests access for all, yet offers no universal federal plan to provide such access. It appears to be up to schools, districts, and states to determine how they are going to get technology into the hands of every student. Sloan suggests it will be more of the same, in regards to the weatlhy districts having fast downloads and great networks, while low income districts will have less access, both to actual devices and the internet. Sloan also brings to attention the problem of staff needing to be educated on how to appropriately integrate technology into instruction. Staff need to be trained on how to use technology to get students to do new things, rather than replace technology with what they are all ready doing. Schools need resources for both the hardware and infrastructure, as well as the time and staff it will require for proper professional development.

Sloan, W. (2011). Meeting the Goals of the National Education Technology Plan: Can Your School Meet the Goals of the National Education Technology Plan?, ASCD: Policy Priorities, 17. Retrieved from online website:
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

Mary Pat Krones (con) rebuttal to Jason Spoor:

Jason, you certainly bring up some great thoughts and reflections on the NETP 2010 plan. I am in agreement with you that teachers must be taught best practices in regards on how to integrate instruction and technology. However, as pointed out in the following blog post, I would agree with the comment on the NETP that before we can even develop our teachers professionally in the integration of technology and instruction, we must first focus on pedagogy. In my opinion, it is not just about professional development-we can bring in great presenters and even great teachers within our own district who are already doing this. Are we teaching teachers how to put on a "show", or do we need to first start with working with staff (both teachers and administrators) to change the way we teach and understand how students learn?

"How will this plan engage districts in adopting fundamental pedagogical paradigm shifts that can utilize the leverage that technology in classrooms can bring?
...For technology to be truly transformative, there needs to be fundamental change in the way schools support student learning. This means moving towards competency based graduation requirements, flexible pathways, and rigorous, relevant assessment of academic and 21st century skills. Technology can get us there, but lets remember technology is merely a tool, a means to an end. It is not the silver bullet to fix America's education system to make us competitive on the global stage."
Greg Young, Educator, Facilitator, School Coach

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/national-educational-technology-plan-netp-audrey-watters

Renee Erickson Rebuttal to Kevin Palmer


The 2010 NETP is nothing more than a leftist approach to educational reform. Under the right-wing, the answer to our woes was No Child Left Behind. From one side to the other, the identified need for educational reform has shifted from assessment and accountability to technology and access to a global learning environment. Clearly, as you have stated, as en educational system we charged with providing learning opportunities, for all learners by matching what our students need to know with what we teach. I will acknowledge, in consideration of the world we live, instruction on available technologies and how to use them is important. However, when it comes to the use of technology to enhance learning and ‘expand’ student’s minds through a ‘global’ classroom, the research does not substantiate this claim. Our own Department of Education has admitted the research to substantiate such a claim simply does not yet exist (US Department of Education 2012). Further, there is pure research does exist to substantiate just the opposite. As highlighted by Carr (Parry 2010), given how the brain processes information, multimedia impedes learning by dividing our attention. Carr states “studies pretty clearly show that when our attention is divided, it becomes much more difficult to transfer information from our short-term memory, which is just the very temporary store, to our long-term memory, which is the seat of understanding”. The use of technology in education, while possibly intended to level the playing field, does not result in long-term, meaningful learning.


http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/implications-online-learning.pdf

http://chronicle.com/article/Is-Technology-Making-Your/66128/

Renee Erickson Rebuttal to Jason Spoor

Jason, you are correct that in order for educators to effectively utilize technology tools in the classroom, they don’t just need access to these tools, but access to the necessary professional development, too. However, research suggests that by the time educators have received the professional development and training needed for the possibility of potentially successful implementation of technology, that technology is rendered outdated or obsolete. Further, it is suggested that often times the development and training educators have access to is hyper focused on using the technology to teach, not on using technology for students to learn (Voyta 2009).

Toyama (2011) suggests that from a historical perspective, the implementation of electronic educational technologies have been fraught with failures, despite educators being provided with opportunities for training and development. In the 1920s, it was believe that movies would revolutionize our education system. This was followed by the portable classroom radios in the 1940s and ‘educational television’ in the 1960s, which promised access to the world, within the walls of the classroom.

Further, the success of educational technology is plagued with issues of motivation. While technology in the classroom is at first appealing to students, it “swings between uselessly fleeting at best and addictively distractive at worst”. The use of technology in the classroom cannot replace the tailored attention, encouragement and inspiration that dedicated educators can. Hence the reason the use of technology for instruction is destined for failure. (Toyama 2011). Once the novelty factor wears off, Bon Tempo (2009) suggests that student motivation diminishes, quickly followed by teacher motivation.

While I am not saying that technology does not have a place in education, I am saying that our attempts and approaches miss the mark and there is a long history of failed implementation to substantiate this claim.

Voyta, W. (2009). Educational technology debate: If & when schools invest in ICT, teachers first. Retrieved from: http://edutechdebate.org/ict-in-education/if-when-schools-invest-in-ict-teachers-first/

Toyama, K. (2011). Educational technology debate: There are no technology shortcuts to geed education. Retrieved from: https://edutechdebate.org/ict-in-schools/there-are-no-technology-shortcuts-to-good-education/

Bon Tempo, J (2009). Educational technology debate: Designing a sustaining and sustainable ICT4E initiative. Retrieved from: http://edutechdebate.org/ict4e-sustainability/designing-a-sustaining-and-sustainable-ict4e-initiative/



Con Rebuttal

Vaishali

Jason mentioned that teachers are given access to technology but not given the necessary staff development. That may be true in many circumstances, but there are many cases where the tools are not even provided because the district cannot afford it. The National Education Technology Plan states that while there may be significant gains learning from underserved minorities are still less likely to computers and internet access. There were were some suggestions that were given, such as the use of networked computers in schools and libraries. But what if the school cannot afford that? There technology may be so archaic that it is from anther generation. If were to have more technology available to more students, thic could be possible. Ideally, all students would have acess to technology. In addition to this, NETP briefly mentions learners with disabilities. They do identify that there is a need to provide for these students. New assistive are becoming more available, but again schools in low-income areas often to not have the funds for modern techology.

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/netp.pdf


Con Statements


Renee Erickson

I share similar sentiment to Al Meyers (2010), in that The National Education Technology Plan is nothing more than the government’s attempt to pull together boundless research on educational technology, aimed at being a solution to the failing infrastructure of education in the United States. The National Educational Technology Plan is example of yet another over ambitious and unrealistic approach to educational reform, as delineated by out-of-touch political figures.

The very notion that the NETP puts ‘students at the center and empowers them to take control of their own learning’ perplexes me. If students weren’t previously at the center of learning, then who was? Further, as a student, had my government told me to ‘take control of my own learning’ and I lived in a world of 24/7 immediate access, the foundation of my education would very likely be underdeveloped (Johnson 2011)! Moreover, the impact of face-to-face instruction will be lost and the art of teaching a thing of the past. Another point of frustration under the NETP, teachers are ‘encouraged’ to expand their professional circles, network and grow in the areas the areas they need to, on their own. While the NETP claims this will replace episodic or ineffective professional practices, I fear that it will result in isolating professional development (Johnson 2010). Moreover, I think it is difficult to imply that teacher professional development in the US is weak compared to that in other countries, as our teachers have less time (weekly) devoted to professional development (Meyers 2010). I am irritated by the suggestions in the NETP, that for assessments to provide data that drives instruction, they must be technology based. And, let’s not forget the address the elephant in the room. In these economic times, how do schools intend to afford all the technology called for in the NETP? In Illinois, with a state government that hasn’t paid its bills on-time in years, how can this plan become a reality? Will the practice become for Districts replace teachers with technology?

Under the NETP, the two greatest charges made to educators are to increase the two- and four-year post-secondary school graduation rate from 41% of the population to 60% and close the achievement gap. While, I would agree that changes in instruction (driven by data) are key in this, I perceive the NETP as an overambitious, ‘quick and immediate fix’ to our woes, I do not believe when have enough evidence to substantiate that this is the solution to our problems in US schools. While reviewing the NETP the perception that education will ‘evolve into students being responsible for their own learning and teachers responsible for interpreting data. The art of teaching will be lost. The US Department of Education (2010) is uncertain if the NETP is the solution as evidenced when they stated “Without new random assignment or controlled quasi-experimental studies of the effects of online learning options for K-12 students, policy-makers will lack scientific evidence of the effectiveness of these emerging alternatives to face-to-face instruction.”


Meyers, A. (2010, June 4). An outsider's critique of the National Education Technology Plan [blog post]. Retrieved from http://tagthink.com/whitepapers/whitepapers/an-outsider-s-critique-of-the-national-education-technology-plan.html

Johnson, S. (2011, January 21). The National Education Technology Plan - Final reflections and the way ahead. Retrieved from http://edtechsteve.blogspot.com/2011/01/national-education-technology-plan.html

Johnson, S. (2010, December 21). Dissecting the NETP- part three, Teaching: Prepare and Connect. Retrieved from http://edtechsteve.blogspot.com/2010/12/dissecting-netp-part-three-teaching.html

U.S. Department of Education (2010, September). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf

Mary Pat Krones- Team 3-Initial Con Statement

It would be hard to argue with the merits and ideas in the National Education Technology Plan 2010. The big picture ideas presented in this report are exciting and forward thinking. I doubt there are many parents, educators or policy makers who would argue that learning powered by technology focused on the areas of learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity are not important in today’s world, to prepare tomorrow’s citizens. The plan provides many big picture ideas that, if implemented, could potentially change the face of our nation. However, there are several red flags that immediately jumped into this reader’s head that make me quite apprehensive of the plan.

Implementation and finance are two of the first concerns that come to my attention. There are many recommendations and steps outlined in the plan, that would need to be coordinated in order for this plan to be fully implemented. Unfortunately, the United States government has not proven itself as a great facilitator of teamwork. In order to implement this plan, states, districts, schools, and teachers would all need to be on board. There are components of this plan that are a complete shift in what is currently occurring in certain states, districts, schools, and classrooms. Along with that, where is the support for this to be funded? Many school districts are struggling just to keep their doors open. School districts cannot take on the financial burden of this lofty project.

The challenge of the financial support leads to another concern, that is, the overreliance of technology to support learning. As this article from the New York Timesnotes, “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”. The graph below represents the increase in spending on technology has not necessarily increased test scores in one particular district. As a matter of fact, test scores in reading and math either fell or became stagnant. While I do not believe technology should be thrown out, I do believe there needs to be a balance. We do know that traditional methods of instruction work. There is all kinds of research available on best practices in instruction for the core content areas. Where is the research on how technology improves instruction? Is the cost of technology worth the improvement in student learning?

external image 04schools-graphic-popup.jpg
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/technology/technology-in-schools-faces-questions-on-value.html?ref=technology

Vaishali
CON
What NETP is pushing to do is good in theory. However, it is very difficult and nearly impossible to make sure all schools in the country have equal access to technology. It is becoming apparent that not all students will meet all standards the way President Bush first envisioned when NCLB was first implemented. President Onbama has been trying to reside the law and five states have implemented the changes. Similarly,, NETP may not be able to be able to make technology as accessible to all schools in the county. NEP would like to reorganize teaching and learning, but that needs to be one on a school by school basis, or at east by state of district, in order for it to be effective. NETB mentions extending learning time, while this is a good idea, it may be difficult to implement. Will all states agree to lengthening the school day or year? Will this impact child care? After school jobs and activities? There are many things to consider. Maybe we should start by making sure we teach the curriculum we need to before we do this.

http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/242
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/09/obama-no-child-left-behind-changes-will-allow-states-to-meet-higher-standards/

Rebuttals to Con Statements:

Pro Rebuttal

Response to Mary Pat (Pro Rebuttal)--Antonette Minniti

Mary Pat,
I agree that the ideas in this report are exciting and forward thinking, especially for the goals that we have in our district. As you state that the ideas in this report “could potentially change the face of our nation”, then is it not worth it? In your article, “Schools Seeking Results from Technology Spending”, we need to dig into that article a bit more. It’s great that they allocated money for more technology, but how are they using the technology? Have the teachers been trained to use the technology? How long has the data been kept? If I’m reading the graphs correctly, the data shows an increase in technology spending in ’07-’08, so I think they need to give it a bit more time. The test graphs do seem to show an upward trend. Of course, we’d always like to see more, but we have to be realistic. Most of us can testify to the fact that there is not a magic bullet in education. Just as well, standardized tests are not the best or only way to assess student learning. According to Roberson (2011) in “Defying the default culture and creating a culture of possibility”, “focusing on studentperformance on high stakes testing that is unnecessarily narrow if not irrelevant to meeting the needs of students to take their place in the dynamic world outside schools. It is argued that schools holding on to the default culture are becoming more disconnected from the reality of the changing outside world. Moving education for students in a positive direction involves more than buying some computers. It involves planning and then re-planning based on needs. In one school, “teacher researcher(s) attempted to enhance students' basic math skills by re-teaching basic math skills with an emphasis on number sense using computers, calculators, and other technological devices. The students accessed mathematical websites and software via computers weekly. To reinforce and explore these topics, the teacher researchers recommend using technology such as software programs, PowerPoint, Elmos, Smart Boards, projectors, calculators, internet websites, You Tube videos and DVDs, and music CDs. Overall, targeted student in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and ninth grades improved their understanding of basic math skills by using technology. Their post intervention test scores indicated a noticeable increase in student mastery of basic mathematics.” Therefore the answer to your question of whether the cost of technology worth the improvement in learning is YES. We need to continually question how we are using technology. Is it being used? Are teachers working with other teachers to increase their instructional technological usage? Are there professional development opportunities for these teachers? How has their school supported students and teachers’ learning processes?

Roberson, S. (2011). Defying the default culture and creating a culture of possibility. Education, 131(4), 885-904.
Hudson, S., Kadan, S., Lavin, K., & Vasquez, T. (2010, December 1). Improving basic math skills using technology. Online Submission, ERIC, EBSCO host.




Pro Rebuttal to Vaishali Con Statement –from Kevin Palmer


Vaishali mentions several often repeated reasons to oppose the NETP plan, all of which we hear over and over again as to why the federal government, or any federal mandated plan “doesn’t get state and local schools”, and the argument has grown tiresome. If states and local schools are unwilling to take responsibility for the improvements necessary to make our educational system competitive with the rest of the world then the federal government must mandate a rational plan to improve our educational system.

What the NETP stresses is that technology is an ever increasing tool in our society and we need to make sure to get it into the hands of our students so they can prepare for the next level of technology that will sweep over us in just a short matter of time. While it is true that technology is not always available we as a nation have to make sure that it is. The NETP foresees a national approach to improving technological accessibility for all of our students and that may mean an increase in funding. We as a nation have harped for far too long about the “burden of our federal taxes” while our nation continues to sink lower and lower in educational preparedness behind nations that lack the great resources we do yet manage somehow to provide for their students. Why do we continue to allow ourselves to lag behind? We do so because we are unable to see or plan as a nation for the future. As it states in the NETP report, pages 61-62, “The effort should start with implementing the next generation of computing system architectures and include transitioning computer systems, software…” if we don’t implement this newest generation of technology within all of our schools, regardless of cost, then we will pay a much higher price in the future. This plan is not a pipe dream but a necessary tool if we are going to sustain our position as an educational leader throughout the 21st Century.


Pro Rebuttal by Jason Spoor



Both Mary Pat and Renee utilize arguments that frequent oppositional arguments to The National Education Technology Plan. The problem that I find with many of these arguments is that they are short-sighted and don’t challenge educators to look outside the box. It is important for us to look at new and innovative ways to move education forward. If as educational leaders we do not support optimistic and forward-thinking goals for our field we will continue to face many of the same challenges with competitiveness and preparedness that are obstacles in our field.



Funding is always going to be an obstacle to making progress in American education. Americans need to make a commitment to increasing funding for education. This may mean sacrifices in other areas, but the eventual pay off in the future is worth the short-term cuts in other areas.



As Mary Pat stated, “There are components of this plan that are a complete shift in what is currently occurring in certain states, districts, schools, and classrooms.” This is true and this is definitely a concern for everyone in the field, however, the last time schools saw a shift like this was when educators began to be concerned with preparing students to be successful in an industry/manufacturing based economy. Our argument is that it is now time for another similar shift. We need to begin preparing our students for an information-based economy. Our classrooms do not do that in their current practice. In this article from eSchool News “students should learn in school using the same technology that professionals in various disciplines use….” If we agree with this premise than changing the way we teach is fundamental to fostering growth in our field. As humans we fear change, but should we allow fear to prevent us from helping our students find success in the 21st Century?



As I stated in my initial post I think the key to understanding the NETP is not focusing on the challenges of funding and implementation, but to look toward what it means for professional development. As stated on the blog run by the Department of Education, “the problem is not necessarily lack of funds, but lack of adequate training and lack of understanding of how computers can be used to enrich the learning experience.” The pedagogical shift is paradigm and its immediacy is unequivocal. We cannot languish in the status quo while the world moves forward. All the fears I have read in the con statements come back to a central misunderstanding of what the NETP is trying to accomplish. The NETP does not recognize technology as anything more than a supplement to what creative and innovative teachers are doing in their classrooms. The concerns that Mary Pat shared with us in the article from the New York Times, specifically the data, makes sense to me but neglects to consider how the technology was being implemented in the district described. Right now in our own district we are looking at piloting a number of one-to-one sections. As union president, I have heard some fears from people in the district that these courses could lead to changes in staffing. Eventually there may be some changes in how we do things and but these changes should be the cause for excitement. Opportunities for faculty and support staff to really examine our norms and question whether or not our practice matches our shared desire to see our students achieve the greatest success in life. The NETP should not be criticized for being too ambitious or too costly, but looked to as a goal for our continued success as educators.

United States Department of Education (March 24, 2006). Tear Down Those Walls: The Revolution has Begun. Retrieved from
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/plan/2004/site/theplan/edlite-TearDownThoseWalls.html.

eSchool News (March 8, 2010). Feds Release New Ed Tech Plan. Retrieved from
http://www.eschoolnews.com/2010/03/08/feds-release-new-national-ed-tech-plan/.


1st Pro -Rebuttal to MaryPat Krones – LoriAnne Frieri


Implementation and finance will always be a concern when moving forward, but those concerns cannot replace vision. To have the Federal Government take the lead in laying out goals and steps for moving our schools into the 21st Century on issues related to technology is an essential step to elevating these concerns in individual districts. The Federal Government is the unifying factor to bring, as you state, “states, districts, schools, and teachers” on board. The Federal Government has the resources to bring to school districts the necessary technology without prejudice. This is essential to ensuring that funds are dispersed equally and uniformally throughout all districts in the United States. We need to make sure that all schools have access to the necessary funding and resources to determine how to make implementation a reality and necessity of our school districts. How can we resist “overreliance” on technology when the rapid rate of advancement outpaces the conservative nature of our districts? Funding is a matter of allocation. There are budgetary issues and expenditures that need to be reevaluated in order to determine where we are going to find the funds to back this critical technology initiative. Tina Barseghian considered the importance of seeing this as a “transformation” rather than reform. It is not an imposition from above it is embracing necessary tools to change the ways in which we transfer, develop and create information with our students. Some of this resistance may be tied back to the difficulty teachers and districts have in, as Barseghian states, “seeing ourselves in very different roles.” Hiding behind the language of finance and implementation will leave remarkably unprepared to ensure that our students are ready to accept the challenges and successes of the 21st Century World. For our students, these will not be seen challenges rather the reality of their technology driven world.

http://mindshift.kqed.org/tag/national-education-technology-plan/

2nd Pro Rebuttal to Renee – From Kevin Palmer


Renee, ultimately students are the center of education and have always been, the problem with your perception of the failure of NETP is that what you perceive as government intrusion is in reality someone taking responsibility to assure that all of our students are on an equal footing and with access to technology all students are at the same starting point. According to (Becker & Sterling, 1987), the fact that most minority households do not have access to technology proves that the implementation of the NETP will be a move in the right direction toward that end. Technology is one tool to assist our students learn but it is a tool that we need to assure our students are prepared for the 21st Century. As my distinguished colleague Jason Spoor posted in his first Pro Rebuttal from the Department of Education blog “the problem is not necessarily lack of funds, but lack of adequate training and lack of understanding of how computers can be used to enrich the learning experience.”


2nd Pro – Response to Vaishali from LoriAnne Frieri

Lemke (2010) states that “Nationally, there is a call for smart, innovative, and informed leadership in 21st century learning in preK-12 education” in order to follow the American model of reinventing itself after a crisis. This is how a national plan would function to provide the necessary vision to create equity and access across socio-economic lines. Making investments into lower income schools and across racial lines is inherent in the power of the Federal Government. In fact, in a recent NY Times article, it shows that the successes of digital schools making gains in student scores and student achievement are emerging in districts that are looking for ways to move forward in cultural shifts toward smart use of technological applications. Mooresville School, highlighted in this NY Times article, proves that these gains are made across the spectrum and will continue as the Federal Government makes technology a national priority. As you state in your argument that "we should be making sure we teach ", I fail to see how an integral part of our society, the Internet and the subsequent development of Web 2.0 applications, is not helping to make curriculum a relevant and accessible part of our student's lives. Focusing on professional development and creating a national vision and structure for our plan to incorporate technology into our classrooms is the beginning to remedy the inadequacies of teacher readiness in this area. Relevancy is important, as Lemke (2010) states, "96 percent of nine- to seventeen-year-olds embrace the Web 2.0 culture of social networking, blogging, twittering, GPS mapping, or interactive gaming at some level." We need the leadership, vision and resources of the Federal Government's plan in order to ensure the equal access to all that you call for in your response.

Lemke, C. (2010). Innovation through Technology. In J. Bellanca & R. Brandt (Eds.), 21st
century skills: rethinking how students learn (pp.243-275). Solution Tree Press.
Schwarz, A. (2012, February 13) Mooresville Schoo District A Laptop Success Story. Retrieved
from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/education/mooresville-school-district-a-laptop-success-story.html?_r=2&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23

2nd Rebuttal to Renee Erickson from Antonette Minniti


I’m not sure about examining learning by considering something right or left wing, but I know we need to be aware of varying agendas, of course. I’m not sure that we can say that technology has not enhanced learning. While the U.S. Department of Education has stated in the report that more research is needed, that doesn’t necessarily mean that technology has not enhanced learning. In fact, the report lists 9 major ways that online learning can lead to “improved productivity” (US Department of Education 2012). This lack of evidence simply implies that time is needed to gather evidence and to see the long term effects since current progress in this field is newer. We need to be cautious about throwing aside modes of instruction and learning simply because we don’t see immediate effects. While Nicholas Carr doesn’t feel that technology improves learning, many of his ideas are debateable. According to Steven Pink in “Mind Over Mass Media “, “The effects of consuming electronic media are also likely to be far more limited than the panic implies. Media critics write as if the brain takes on the qualities of whatever it consumes, the informational equivalent of “you are what you eat.” As with primitive peoples who believe that eating fierce animals will make them fierce, they assume that watching quick cuts in rock videos turns your mental life into quick cuts or that reading bullet points and Twitter postings turns your thoughts into bullet points and Twitter postings” (p. A31). I also think that Steven Pink brings up a good point about the nature of being distracted by the nature of online learning. Pink (2010)states, “But distraction is not a new phenomenon. The solution is not to bemoan technology but to develop strategies of self-control, as we do with every other temptation in life” (p. A31). Bottomline is that technology is here to stay, so let’s help our students learn how to use it effectively and efficiently. Pink (2010) states, “The new media have caught on for a reason. Knowledge is increasing exponentially; human brainpower and waking hours are not….Far from making us stupid, these technologies are the only things that will keep us smart” (p. A31). Technology can remove many obstacles and provide expansive access to learning for all students, which can provide long-term, meaningful learning.


Pinker, S. (2010, June 10). Mind over mass media. The New York Times, pp. A31.



2nd Pro Rebuttal from Jason Spoor in response to Con Statement by Vaishali Tajpuria



I do not feel that an appropriate rebuttal to the NETP can be based on the idea that all districts will not be able to access the technology needed to make it come to fruition. In fact the NETP should be heralded for its vision and dedication to helping take on the education equity challenges we face in the United States. The NETP simply recognizes the fact that the skills necessary to move the US forward hinge on our ability to develop in our students the skills necessary to effectively utilize technology. Furthermore, the argument of a lack of accessibly technology in American schools is becoming increasingly irrelevant. In Daniel Willingham’s article, “Have Technology and Multitasking Rewired How Students Learn,” published in the Summer 2010 issue of American Educator we find research to support that not only that the average American is spending increasing time engaged in technology but that this is reshaping how our students learn and, thereby, how we teach.



As leaders in education we cannot continue to pursue a course of non-action because it seems that all schools will never surmount the challenges of giving students equal access. We must rededicate ourselves to ensuring all American students have an equal opportunity to succeed. By not implementing the NETP we fail to commit ourselves to this fundamental value and instead continue to feed the myth that it is impossible to deliver to our most needy students the tools they need to overcome the cycle of poverty they were born into.