LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 30, 2024) — University of Kentucky College of Education clinical professor Lu Young, Ed.D., took part in an event at the White House last week where the U.S. Department of Education unveiled the latest version of the flagship educational technology policy document for the United States – the 2024 National Educational Technology Plan.

Young, a member of the plan’s technical working group, is executive director of the Center for Next Generation Leadership at the UK College of Education. The plan includes examples of digital integration from every state, D.C. and several territories. The Kentucky example features Logan County Schools, a district partner of the center.   

Logan County was highlighted for the district’s use of digital learning coaches to ensure teachers, principals and administrators have resources and training to use technology in ways that support learning goals. The effort focuses on authentic student engagement and the importance of student choice and voice.

Young says educators across the nation need equitable access to professional development, such as the digital learning coaches in Logan County, to ensure they have opportunities to learn the best ways to effectively integrate educational technology into their teaching practices.

“What stands out most to me in the nation’s plan is its timeliness, post-COVID, and its relevance to the field. Technology can be a powerful tool to help transform learning – empowering students, supporting self-directed learning and helping educators customize learning experiences to better meet individual student needs,” Young said.

In addition to leading the Center for Next Generation Leadership at UK, Young, a former superintendent and chief academic officer, is a faculty member in the UK College of Education Department of Educational Leadership Studies. As a member of the national educational technology plan’s technical working group, Young used her diverse experiences in education to contribute feedback, writing and examples to the plan, as well as to review public input.

The National Educational Technology Plan was first released in fulfillment of the 1994 Improving America’s Schools Act and has been updated multiple times since its original release, most recently in 2016. While past plans have largely served as surveys of the state of the field, the 2024 plan frames three key divides limiting the transformational potential of educational technology to support teaching and learning, including:

  • The Digital Use Divide, addressing opportunities to improve how students use technology to enhance their learning, including dynamic applications of technology to explore, create and engage in critical analysis of academic content and knowledge;
  • The Digital Design Divide, addressing opportunities for educators to expand their professional learning and build the capacities necessary to design learning experiences enabled by technology and;
  • The Digital Access Divide, addressing opportunities for students and educators to gain equitable access to educational technology, including connectivity, devices and digital content. This also includes accessibility and digital health, safety and citizenship as key elements of digital access.

The 2024 National Educational Technology Plan: A Call to Action for Closing the Digital Access, Design and Use Divides is available for download at https://tech.ed.gov/netp/.

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