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Obama: Teachers Need Chance To Learn How To Integrate Tech into Learning

President Obama expects to request new funding in the federal budget for the next fiscal year specifically to help teachers and administrators obtain professional development to help them make the transition to digital learning. Obama made the remarks during a talk he gave Feb. 4 at Buck Lodge Middle School in Maryland. The talk provided a progress report for his ConnectED initiative, which was announced last summer.

The additional money, he said, is intended to put instructional coaches in place, help instructors learn how to use digital content, introduce blended learning models and develop new practices in online communication and collaboration.

Buck Lodge was chosen for a reason: It's a model for 21st century education. In 2011, the school was selected as one of four Prince Georges County Public Schools to integrate tablets into the classroom. Each student uses a tablet to access digital content.

The Department of Education is expected to release guidance to states, districts and schools on ways that existing federal funds can be leveraged to the movement from traditional instruction to digital learning. According to the White House, ED will issue a guidance letter outlining ways in which current federal education funding available to states and school districts can be used to provide professional development, access to high-quality digital content and devices for learning.

"Technology is not a silver bullet," Obama said. "It's only as good as the teachers who are there using it as one more tool to help inspire and teach and work through problems. We want every teacher in every school to understand from soup to nuts how you can potentially use this technology. And that oftentimes requires a training component that makes sure that the technology is not just sitting there, but is actually used and incorporated in the best way possible."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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