Your Action Needed to Support Federal Investment in Ed Tech!

Send this prewritten letter to Congress urging your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives to fully fund the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAE) of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that contains the critical education technology provisions ISTE supports.

Federal spending on education is facing extreme constraints and Congress needs to hear your voice as an educator, now more than ever, about how less-than-adequate funding levels affect you and your students. 

Send this prewritten letter that explains why a federal investment in education technology is absolutely critical.  Thank you!

A Busy Month for Education Policy!

Capture

In the past couple of weeks, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) moved through the US House and Senate and was signed into law by President Obama. Almost simultaneously, the National Educational Technology Plan was approved by the US Department of Education.

Both have big implications to MACUL members. It is clear that using technology in the classroom is a national priority.

The National Education Technology Plan (NETP) sets a national vision and plan for learning enabled by technology through building on the work of leading education researchers; district, school, and higher education leaders; classroom teachers; developers; entrepreneurs; and nonprofit organizations. The principles and examples provided in this document align to the Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizons (ITECH) program as authorized by Congress in December 2015 through the Every Child Achieves Act.

Both documents are lengthy and will take time to unpack and understand. Here are both documents in their entirety:

 

Highlights from the 2013 Student Technology Showcase

On October 23, 2013, twenty-four teams from schools in various legislative districts gathered at the Michigan State Capitol to showcase technology they are using in the classroom for projects and everyday learning.  The Michigan Student Technology Showcase, sponsored by MACUL, the AT&T Foundation, and the Michigan Department of Education is an annual event that gives teachers and students the opportunity to show legislators and state government leaders a variety of technology projects taking place daily in schools with strong technology support.

Projects displayed at this years showcase included technology like Augmented Reality used by middle school students to analyze text (Madison Schools), Computer Aided Design (CAD) projects uploaded to a MakerBot clone 3D printer as an early introduction of students to STEM technology (Heritage Christian Academy), and a student created flipped classroom wiki to help each other gain more engaging time to work with each other on math problems (South Haven). Students from Newaygo High School brought three teams of students to the Capitol showcasing work by their Emerging Technology Class using Google Drive for Project Based Learning, Google Hangout for educational purposes, the ins and outs of Twitter as a classroom tool, and classroom applications for touch screen technologies.

Haslett Public Schools, located about 20 minutes east of the Capitol, brought a handful of fifth graders from Rayla Elementary to showcase the “School Tour” created for new students to the school. The tour utilizes web pages with images, videos, and information about teachers.  Individual web pages are access by scanning a QR code posted outside each room on the tour.  QR codes can be scanned using a variety of apps on smartphones and tablets.  Lisa Wickman, a technology specialist for the district, had this to say about the project and the district’s commitment to integrating technology into the classroom, “Haslett Public Schools has a strong commitment to academic achievement. We’ve found that teaching with technology is essential to this path. The students who participated in this project have become technology leaders in our school. They are anxious to teach their fellow students how to make webpages and QR codes (I’ll take a backseat). They have also learned valuable lessons about time and project management. It is a wonderful project that has taken on a life of its own. I’m not sure where it will stop or if it will. The students have taken control of it. I’m here to offer suggestions when they get stumped.”

In addition to the student showcase, the event was an opportunity to recognize two legislators that have shown strong support for technology in K-12 schools.  Representative Arik Nesbitt, from the 66th District, and Senator Jim Ananich, from the 27th District, were presented with the 2013 Excellence in Education Award.  Finally, several legislators that represent districts where the showcase participants hailed from came by to say hello to the students and listen to the presentations, including Representative Jon Bumstead (District 100 – Newaygo), Representative Sam Singh (District 69 – Haslett), Representative Nancy Jenkins (District 57 – Madison School) and Representative Bob Genetski (District 80 – South Haven).