With the release of a new national plan, U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley challenged the nation to move to the next frontier in educational technology, by ensuring all students have access to information technology, supporting effective teaching, equipping all students with technology and information literacy skills, conducting solid research and evaluation, and providing high-quality content.
In his introduction to e-Learning: Putting a World-Class Education at the Fingertips of All Children, Riley said, "We've made remarkable progress. Due in large part to federal programs such as the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund and the E-rate, many of the nation's teachers and students are beginning to reap the benefits of increased access to computers and the Internet. Our progress is a testament to the commitment of local communities, states, the private and non-profit sectors, educators, the federal government and others to integrate technology into America's schools."
"I am delighted with the release of the Administration's new educational technology plan," said President Bill Clinton. "The report documents the amazing progress that we have made in reaching the goals of our original strategy to provide Internet access, teacher training, modern computers, and high-quality educational software. The report also highlights important new challenges that we have identified, such as making Internet access as widely available as the telephone, giving our children information literacy skills, and taking advantage of the technology to truly transform teaching and learning. I want to say a special word of thanks to Vice President Al Gore and Secretary Riley for their leadership on this critical issue."
The plan released sets five national goals:
All students and teachers will have access to information technology in their classrooms, schools, communities and homes;
All teachers will use technology effectively to help students achieve high academic standards;
All students will have technology and information literacy skills;
Research and evaluation will improve the next generation of technology applications for teaching and learning;
Digital content and networked applications will transform teaching and learning.
"Leadership is required to renew our commitment to the future," Riley said. " I invite Congress and the new administration to continue to support state and local education leaders in harnessing the best of the information age for education. This is an opportunity for our children that the country cannot afford to miss."
The Clinton Administration has invested $8 billion dollars in educational technology since 1995. Riley said that this investment has led to tremendous progress - according to the National Center for Education Statistics, classroom Internet access has grown from 3% to 63% and student computer ratios have improved dramatically - improving from the start of the decade when there was only one instructional computer for every 20 students to 1998 when there was one for every six students. This data, along with federal investment figures both nationally and by state, is available in a recent progress report. Riley said that while progress has been made over the past several years, the new plan provides a roadmap to help keep the nation's students on the path toward success.
The national plan, e-Learning: Putting a World-Class Education at the Fingertips of All Children, and The U.S. Department of Education Educational Technology Progress Report are available at http://www.ed.gov/technology.