Obama's goals for the 21st century classroom

President Obama has called to invest in technology for the classroom as part of the upcoming economic recovery package and has urged Congress to take targeted action. More specifically, Obama's goals include to "equip tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms" and to "provide new computers, new technology, and new training for teachers," with the goal of allowing American students to "compete with kids in Beijing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future." The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) applauded Obama's call, and have in turn urged Congress to disseminate the new classroom technology grant funds through the existing Enhancing Education through Technology (EETT) program. This would ensure that the funds reach the neediest schools first. These 4 groups represent over 100,000 educators and hundreds of high-tech employers, and they believe that a major spending infusion on education technology will create jobs within the education, education services and technology sectors. Furthermore, the funds would help American classrooms address the needs of today's tech-savvy students. SIIA President Ken Wasch says SIIA is "extremely optimistic about their [the Obama administration] commitment to boost classroom instruction into the 21st century through technology, and to achieve that goal through targeted stimulus investment." The four organizations recommend the inclusion of separate, additional broadband and technology infrastructure support for schools in addition to the economic recovery package, since an influx of technology in classrooms will be met with a need for increased bandwidth. The groups also pointed to a recent study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, which found that a $10 billion investment in broadband would lead to the creation of nearly a half-million jobs.

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