There was plenty of edtech news out of Washington DC last month. Seems like the Obama administration is making some final efforts to tech-enable schools this year before handing over the White House keys.
First was the latest release of the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) (tech.ed.gov). The document intends to be “a national vision and plan for learning enabled by technology through building on the work of leading education researchers; district, school, and higher education leaders; classroom teachers; developers; entrepreneurs; and nonprofit organizations.” I will admit that, as of writing this, I haven’t made it through all 106 pages, but can only assume the work of former DOE Office of Educational Technology director Richard Culatta and his team will be both insightful and inspiring. Be sure that we’ll be detailing it in upcoming issues.
Along with that data dump was the first-year anniversary celebration for the DOE’s Future Ready initiative, which our executive editor Christine Weiser was able to attend in person. You can read her observations on page 16. New plans for 2016 include a Web site resource center for ongoing professional learning opportunities, as well as five regional Future Ready summits in 2016 for districts where the superintendent has signed the Future Ready District Pledge. Take the pledge already!
Finally, in some not-so-great news, our friends at the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) released their annual infrastructure survey. For the third consecutive year, nearly half of the school systems surveyed identified the cost of ongoing recurring expenses as their biggest barrier to robust connectivity. More than one-third of districts also said that capital or up-front expenses are a challenge to increasing Internet connectivity.
Needless to say, this will be an interesting year in edtech and otherwise inside the Beltway. We’re looking forward to covering it!
— Kevin Hogan