2024 National Education Technology Plan targets the digital divide

2024 National Education Technology Plan targets the digital divide

Key points:

The latest iteration of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Educational Technology Plan (NETP) takes aim at several obstacles limiting edtech’s ability to transform teaching and learning.

While past NETPs have largely served as surveys of the state of the field, the 2024 NETP frames three key divides limiting the transformational potential of educational technology to support teaching and learning, including: 

  • The Digital Use Divide, addressing opportunities to improve how students use technology to enhance their learning, including dynamic applications of technology to explore, create, and engage in critical analysis of academic content and knowledge.
  • The Digital Design Divide, addressing opportunities for educators to expand their professional learning and build the capacities necessary to design learning experiences enabled by technology. 
  • The Digital Access Divide, addressing opportunities for students and educators to gain equitable access to educational technology, including connectivity, devices, and digital content. This also includes accessibility and digital health, safety, and citizenship as key elements of digital access. 

The 2024 NETP maps each of the three divides to the “instructional core” (i.e., students, teachers, content) and focuses on how schools, districts, and states can use educational technology to help design learning experiences that improve student access to educational opportunities and their outcomes. The NETP provides action-oriented recommendations for states, districts, and school leaders alongside examples from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several Territories for addressing disparities in educational technology and closing the three divides.   

“From the American Rescue Plan to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and more, the Biden-Harris Administration has made bold investments aimed at closing the digital divide and ensuring all students can equitably access the latest digital tools and technology,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

“As we work to Raise the Bar in education, it’s essential we focus on empowering teachers to become designers of active learning, using technology in effective ways to engage and inspire students. The 2024 National Educational Technology Plan is a forward-thinking approach to reframing and realizing the potential of educational technology to enhance the instructional core, reduce achievement gaps, and improve student learning in our schools.”

“The launch of the 2024 NETP comes at a pivotal moment for educational technology and learning,” said Sarah Edson, director of projects and initiatives at SETDA. “We are proud to stand at the forefront of this exciting journey, advocating for effective integration of technology in education systems nationwide.”

To complement the 2024 NETP, the Department also released guidance that aims to increase understanding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s requirements regarding assistive technology (AT) devices and services for children with disabilities. The Department will also release a collection of federal resources to support students’ digital health, safety, and citizenship. 

This press release originally appeared online.

Laura Ascione
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