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Education Technology and ESSA

By DeLilah Collins, E-rate and Ed Tech Coordinator, Federal Programs
Monday, March 28, 2016 - 1:15pm

Title II Part D of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) prioritized education technology in elementary and secondary schools to improve student achievement. When Title II Part D received its last appropriation in 2010, direct funding for technology was eliminated, and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) had to look to other programs to pay for technology expenditures.  Over the past several years, a significant effort has been made to ensure that students have access to technology rich classrooms. President Obama’s ConnectEd initiative emphasized personalized learning experiences driven by new technology, along with the need to prepare students to get good jobs and compete with other countries. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has followed suit by outlining, specifically, how funds can be used to ensure that technology is integrated into educational programs for all students and is used to improve student achievement.

Title I Part A of ESSA provides a way for states and LEAs to improve student learning through the integration of technology into curricula and instruction, paired with professional development for teachers regarding how best to do that.  Title III allows for the acquisition or development of educational technology or instructional materials and access to electronic networks for materials, training and communication to support English learners.

Title II Part A of ESSA recognizes and promotes instructional leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). In this section lawmakers highlight STEM-focused specialty schools that engage students in rigorous, relevant and integrated learning experiences focused on STEM and computer science.

Title IV of ESSA promotes blended learning and digital learning to strengthen a student’s educational experience. This section of the law addresses technology readiness needs, including the technology infrastructure, computer devices, access to school libraries, internet connectivity, operating systems, software, and related network infrastructure, as well as the data security needed to increase access to personalized learning experiences.

In all, states and LEAs are given the opportunity, through ESSA, to ensure that students are prepared for college and careers in the digital age.