“The mission of the Office of Educational Technology (OET) is to provide leadership for transforming education through the power of technology. OET develops national educational technology policy and establishes the vision for how technology can be used to support learning.”
Educators continuously search for new tools to enhance their skills and enhance their students’ learning experiences. However, many times their efforts are met with challenges: limited or nonexistent budgets, little or no time for PD, the discomfort of the learning curve in using new programs, or simply the lack of time to explore new technologies.
Through outreach to teacher focus groups in Arkansas, several questions were most frequently asked while discussing technology initiatives.
- “What if my school doesn’t have the funding to purchase these technologies?”
- “What if we decide to implement a technology that is suitable for some but not for others?”
- “How are we sure that purchasing a particular technology will scale within our school?”
Fortunately, much lower price points for learning technologies provide educators easier opportunities to pilot new tools and approaches before implementing a school-wide adoption. This allows teacher-leaders with a broad understanding of their educational technology needs, as well as those of students and colleagues, to design short pilot studies that impact a small number of students to ensure the chosen technology and the implementation approach have the desired outcomes. This allows schools to gain experience with and confidence in these technologies before committing entire schools or districts to purchases and use. Those same teacher-leaders can then work with administrators to best determine how to share their expertise with other teachers. Also, they can provide support to their colleagues by answering questions and detailing best practices to support learning.
The United States Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) provides a centralized hub for those who are looking for tools to support learning, documents detailing how to spend wisely on new technology, or just searching to see what options are available. OET’s goal is to provide and support educators with technology that connects them to people, data, content, resources, expertise, and learning experiences that can empower and inspire them to provide more effective teaching for all learners.
OET is seeking to provide instruction and support for educators along with information on how using technology can play an integral part. For example, through technology, educators are no longer confined to collaborating only with those within their own school’s walls. They can now connect to other teachers and experts in their communities or across the globe to expand their perspectives and maximize opportunities for student learning. Tools such as videoconferencing (Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.), online chats, and social media, provide educators the opportunity to connect and collaborate with experts and their peers around the world to form communities to enhance their students’ learning. We’ll take a deeper dive into available technologies and how to leverage them for collaboration in the next blog.
In this series of upcoming blog posts, I will highlight resources from OET that are free and available to educators. My goal is to enrich and facilitate your knowledge of these technology tools. There is no denying the critical role teachers play in each student’s success. And through the use of technology there have never been more opportunities for educators to collaborate, innovate, and enhance the learning environment and learning experience for their students.
You can find out more here