National Education Technology Plan 2004
Over the next decade, the United States will face ever increasing competition in the global economy.
To an overwhelming extent, this competition will involve the mastery and application of new technologies in virtually every field of human endeavor. It will place particular emphasis on the need for heightened skills in mathematics and science.
It is the responsibility of this nation's educational enterprise – including policymakers – to help secure our economic future by ensuring that our young people are adequately prepared to meet these challenges. Today, they are not. This report explores why – and recommends steps to ensure that they will be.
We have clearly reached a turning point. All over this country, we see evidence of a new excitement in education, a new determination, a hunger for change. The technology that has so dramatically changed the world outside our schools is now changing the learning and teaching environment within them. Sometimes this is driven by the students themselves, born and comfortable in the age of the Internet.
There has been explosive growth in the availability of online instruction and virtual schools, complementing traditional instruction with high quality courses tailored to the needs of individual students. Tests now can be taken online, giving students, teachers and parents almost instant feedback. This is a major step forward in tracking progress and identifying needs. New student data management systems will greatly facilitate the collection and use of test, demographic and other data for more effectively designing and managing instructional programs.
Examples cited in this report illustrate not only the changes now taking place in the nation's school systems, but the often dramatic improvements that we are beginning to see in student achievement. The new testing, reporting and accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act are accelerating this trend. From being a Nation at Risk we might now be more accurately described as a Nation on the Move.
As these encouraging trends develop and expand over the next decade, facilitated and supported by our ongoing investment in educational technology, and led by the drive, imagination and dedication of a reenergized educational community at every level, we may be well on our way to a new golden age in American education.