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11/11/2010
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Feds Seek Education Transformation Through Technology

National Education Technology Plan outlines five goals by 2015, including broadband connectivity for all students.

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The Department of Education this week laid out a technology strategy to improve the U.S. educational system.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan released the National Education Technology Plan (NETP), which sets goals to achieve by 2015 for how technology can transform the way students learn.

Specifically, the plan -- titled "Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology" -- outlines a blueprint for changing five aspects of education with technology: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure and productivity.

Technology the department plans to use to execute its goals include mobility and accessibility, digital content, and online social networks to foster information-sharing, collaboration and learning.

The department aims to use these methods to engage students more in the classroom, as well as to tailor classes to their needs and interests. Improving assessment to measure student progress on college and career preparedness, as well as to use real-time data to improve their performance, also is a goal.

Teachers, too, should benefit from the plan, according to the department, which wants to connect teachers to tools, resources, experts and peers so they have the support to do their jobs more effectively.

Under one of its most ambitious goals, the plan also calls for broadband connectivity for all students not only in schools, but also in their communities and homes.

Using technology to accelerate student productivity and achievement without adding excessive costs to school budgets rounds out the goals of the NETP.

The Obama administration has made it a priority to boost the performance of U.S. students against their peers across the world, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The White House has launched a series of initiatives to promote STEM education under the umbrella Educate to Innovate program.

The NETP also is integral to administration goals to help students prepare for college or jobs after high school, as well as to lead the world in college completion by 2020, according to the department.

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