US Department of Education Unveils National Educational Technology Plan for 2024

The 2024 National Educational Technology Plan (NETP): A Call to Action for Closing the Digital Access, Design and Use Divides has been released by the U.S. Department of Education today. The NETP was initially released in 2000 as part of fulfilling the Educate America Act and has undergone multiple updates, with the most recent one being in 2016.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has taken bold steps, such as the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to bridge the digital divide and ensure that every student has equal access to the latest digital tools and technology,” stated U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “As we strive to improve education, it is crucial that we empower teachers to be creators of active learning by effectively utilizing technology to engage and inspire students. The 2024 National Educational Technology Plan presents a forward-thinking approach to reshape and fully realize the potential of educational technology in enhancing the instructional core, reducing achievement gaps, and enhancing student learning in our schools.”

While previous versions of NETP mainly served as an overview of the industry’s status, the 2024 NETP by the Department emphasizes three fundamental divides that restrict the transformative power of educational technology in supporting teaching and learning:

  • The Digital Use Divide, which focuses on enhancing students’ use of technology to advance their learning, including dynamic applications that involve exploring, creating, and critically analyzing academic content and knowledge.
  • The Digital Design Divide, which addresses the need for educators to expand their professional development and acquire the necessary skills to design learning experiences facilitated by technology.
  • The Digital Access Divide, which tackles the need for students and educators to have equal access to educational technology, including connectivity, devices, and digital content. This also encompasses accessibility, digital health, safety, and digital citizenship as crucial aspects of digital access.

The 2024 NETP aligns each of these three divides with the “instructional core,” referring to students, teachers, and content. It specifically focuses on how schools, districts, and states can utilize educational technology to create learning experiences that enhance student access to educational opportunities and outcomes. The NETP provides actionable recommendations for states, districts, and school leaders and includes examples from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several Territories to address disparities in educational technology and close the three divides.

Alongside the 2024 NETP, the Department will also publish guidance today that aims to raise awareness of the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act regarding assistive technology (AT) devices and services for children with disabilities. Additionally, the Department will release a collection of federal resources to support students’ digital health, safety, and citizenship.

For more information about the 2024 National Educational Technology Plan, please visit tech.ed.gov/netp.

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