Groups Call on Candidates To Invest in Ed Tech

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How can we make education technology and 21st century learning a national priority? Four education advocacy groups think they have part of the answer. The groups came together Tuesday to launch "One Giant Leap for Kids," a new campaign designed to bring ed tech to the forefront of the minds of the presidential candidates.

The groups behind the campaign, which include the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the National Education Association (NEA), and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), said they aim "to make K-12 student access to education technology and modern learning environments a top national priority."

"The presidential candidates continue to talk about the importance of the global economy, the energy crisis, and our competitiveness; and education is integral to addressing these issues and ensuring that our students are prepared for the 21st century," said Mary Ann Wolf, executive director of SETDA, in a statement released today. "The good news is that we have data that shows what makes a difference for kids and how technology can be maximized to improve student achievement and ensure that our teachers are prepared. We and education stakeholders from all 50 states look forward to discussing the potential for technology as an integral part of education policy and programs to serve as a catalyst for transforming our schools for the 21st century."

In order to support these concepts, the groups have launched an awareness campaign that includes a public service announcement, which will be sent to the campaign headquarters of the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, as well as questions for the candidates to help clarify their positions on "the future of American education and the modern classroom."

The public service announcement, which will run in several education magazines (including this one) reads: "On July 20, 1969, astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong planted the U.S. flag on the moon, helping America win the coveted space race. Our great nation realized this seemingly impossible dream by making sound investments in education. Student access to school technology, robust teacher technology preparation, and a renewed focus on 21st Century skills are critical to today's missions."

"The future competitiveness of the United States is inextricably linked to the investments we make today to improve education, enhance learning and provide our students with the skills and knowledge that will afford them the opportunity to succeed among the best and brightest competitors in the world," said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. "The presidential candidates have an opportunity to develop solid education platforms focused on achieving this goal, and we urge them to make education technology an integral part of their education policy."

The groups are also launching support for an online petition to make 21st century learning a public priority. The petition is available at the EdTech Action Network Web site here.

"We're no longer in the world of the 1990s, and our schools can't continue as if we were," said Don Knezek, CEO of ISTE. "Today's students and teachers need more than a sprinkling of technology literacy to thrive. They need to learn to leverage 21st Century tools to think critically and creatively, collaborate across cultures and distances, and innovate. We hope the presidential candidates keep these realities in mind as they build their education platforms."

In related news, a new poll released today by Rasmussen Reports indicated that education is on the minds of Americans for this coming election. Education was ranked as "very important" or "somewhat important" by some 87 percent of those surveyed and ranked barely ahead of health care and immigration.

Complete poll results can be found here.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192 or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education). A selection of David Nagel's articles can be found on this site.


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