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As years have passed, technology has improved in many areas. So many new technologies have developed to help benefit our nation. With these new technologies, we have found it easier to accomplish simple every day tasks. It’s believed that computers are the future, and that sooner or later, all jobs will require some sort of knowledge with computers. Many individuals are going back to college to receive more education on computers and on programs. This may be required for some businesses. But some people today seem to be quite computer illiterate. How would we change this problem? One idea is to develop a nation wide plan into our school system that involves interaction of students and teachers with the new technologies in the classrooms.
The National Education Technology Plan has been the solution to schools across America. In 1996, the plan was developed with many hopes and expectations in mind for the future of education and technology (Air.org). This plan was originally referred to “Getting America's Students Ready for the 21st Century” (Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers). Its’ main purpose was to increase the student’s academic achievements. The idea was to have students not only improve themselves overall but by doing so, they would become familiar with technology. Students as well as teachers would have the opportunity to learn more about technology (ISTE NETS). In order for teachers to help the students along the way, the teachers would be given lessons to improve their skills (Ed.gov). After the teacher felt he/she became familiar with the use of technology, they would then be able to use it as an “instructional tool” in the classroom (Nationaledtechplan.org). Students would also have the opportunity to be connected to the Internet in all their classrooms. Having students involved with the Internet and computers could only lead to future benefits for them (Education World).
The plan has been revised three times now. To improve it, the U.S. Department of Education is looking to the general public to make possible changes or to make any suggestions they feel appropriate (Whelan, Debra).
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In response to all this money being put forth, U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley said that this has led to a “tremendous progress” (Education World). While eight billion dollars was invested, six to seven billion dollars is allowed annually for technology in elementary and secondary education (air.org). With money being invested, statistics are rising. The National Center for Education Statistics found that in 1994 only three percent of all instructional rooms had access to the Internet. But in 2000, 63 percent of all instructional rooms now had access. A ratio that is also being compared is, they way it used to be was that there was one computer for every 20 students, but in 1998 there was one for every six students (air.org/goals). By this data, it’s apparent that much improvement has occurred with technology and the school system.
The National Education Technology Plan has five main goals. The first goal is that “All students and teachers will have access to information technology in their classrooms, schools, communities and homes” (Education World). The U.S. Department of Education wanted the students and teachers around the nation to have the chance to be able to use other resources and to explore them. In addition to using the Internet at school, they would also be able to use it in their homes and at local libraries. If a child had the desire to learn more about a given topic, they could do so during after school hours. The second goal was “All teachers will use technology effectively to help students achieve high academic standards” (Education World). Since so many new technologies were becoming better well known, schools started using them as a teaching tool. An example of this would be instead of using a chalkboard, teachers could use PowerPoint. With this plan, teachers would develop the skills to help the students improve their standards. By using technology in the classroom, students would feel more comfortable with the advancement and perhaps bring themselves to learn how to use it.
The third goal is “All students will have technology and information literacy skills” (Education World). Students will be able to develop the necessary skills that could better their future in technology. Many people today don’t have these skills, but by starting with the students at an early age, those people won’t exist in the future. Therefore, students who will develop these skills will be able to use these in their careers and every day life. The fourth goal is “Research and evaluation will improve the next generation of technology applications for teaching and learning” (Education World). To make the plan better than it already is, some sort of evaluation must take place to measure its’ success. Both students and teachers should be evaluated over the years and compared to past years. By looking at the outcomes, perhaps new ideas may arise to improve the plan. Since the plan is relatively new, more research needs to occur in order to fully understand how the nation will come together to enforce the plan. By doing research, more ideas will become a possibility on ways in teaching students.
The last goal of the National Education Technology Plan is “Digital content and networked applications will transform teaching and learning” (Education World). Students will be able to grasp new ideas by their instructors using digital tools. Here, PowerPoint may also may a possibility. In PowerPoint, not only can you include notes you wish to present but also graphs or other tools that would help prove your point. Students will be able to work on the internet and research different topics. The whole experience of doing this will help students learn differently. Another idea that has been used that’s impacted learning is held hand buzzers. The instructor would ask a question and the students would have the chance to key in the answer they feel is most appropriate. Students would also be able to ask any questions about the lesson if they aren’t sure of the material. This way the instructor will know who understands or doesn’t understand.
With all the new technologies, it’s only necessary to engage students with these new devices and help them learn through them. We can only imagine what the future will be like, especially with schools. If this plan wasn’t formed, I don’t see how students will be able to live their lives in decades to come. Technology is already beginning to take over society; can you imagine what it’ll be like in 10-15 years? We think now that computers are taking over in the career world, what new technologies will be taking over? More inventions are to come and it’s a good idea for instructors to help teach the students about these inventions as they develop.
With the goals that have been discussed, they all would be helpful across the nation. All these ideas are important. If we would be able to accomplish all these goals, I think the end result for all students would be a positive one. All children will have this opportunity and nobody will be left out (SETDA). This includes children who are poor as well. These children won’t have the luxury to have computers in their own homes because their parents won’t be able to afford them. If they can afford the computers, the parents might not even care enough to provide it to their children. The only chance the kids would have to learn through the Internet and computers would be while they are at school.
In my opinion, I’m absolutely in favor of this nation wide plan. I don’t understand why anyone in this nation would be against it. The famous saying that “Children are our future,” is exactly the motivation behind this plan. When I was growing up there wasn’t many technologies inside the classroom that I can remember. There were the basic chalkboards and overhead projectors that were used every day. I suppose to reason for this was because either other devices weren’t invented yet or they just weren’t well known. I think by using these basic devices a student is able to learn but having improved techniques might make things easier for the student. Students learn by different styles and maybe those who aren’t doing as well in school may show an improvement. The use of digital instruments, computers, and the Internet may change the academic performance for not only those who have difficulties in learning but also all students. We won’t really know until we test it out. I think that if students are able to explore new possibilities they will want to do so. By exploring more with technology they will learn more about it and their overall performance may improve. I know if I had the chance to use computers at an earlier age, I would want to “play” around with it more. Since I’m so computer illiterate nowadays, in my opinion, I’d wish I had the chance that children today are now receiving. This plan will only benefit the youth and they won’t be in the position that I’m in today. They will know more about computers at a young age that I know during my years in college.
After the plan is in session for quite some time, it’s important to learn what the good points about the plan are and what could be improved. Hopefully this plan is just a beginning and a so called “rough draft.” The plan can only improve over many years to come and can only benefit the society overall.
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