President Barack Obama requested $200 million in his 2015 fiscal year budget for a new program that will increase the technology available to teachers in the nation’s public schools.
According to the Education Department, Obama’s ConnectEDucators program will provide states with formula-based leadership grants to help educators leverage technology and data to create a more personalized learning environment for students.
“Technology is not a silver bullet. It’s only as good as the teachers using it as one more tool to help inspire, and teach, and work through problems,” Obama said last month.
The Education Department will prioritize applicants who partner with other districts or with local or national organizations, and will fund activities that result in making digital materials open source and publicly available.
The Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative includes an additional $300 million for ConnectEDucators, providing a total of 100,000 teachers in 500 districts with access to professional development to take greater advantage of the high-speed broadband and wireless provided through the ConnectED initiative, which provides classrooms with high-speed Internet access.
“We must continue to invest in the reforms taking hold in classrooms across the country, led by the hard work of our educators,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. “America’s public schools are the path to the middle class for children from hard-working families in every community, but too many students lack access to the quality education and supports that make the journey to college and the middle class possible.”
According to a 2013 survey by PBS, about three-quarters of teachers are seeing benefits from educational technology for students, which range from motivating students to responding to a variety of student learning styles.
About two-thirds of teachers surveyed said educational technology allows them to “do much more than ever before” for their students, allowing educators to demonstrate something they could not show in any other way.
The program would provide more resources, including individualized support and opportunities for educators to collaborate around instruction so that students have personalized, rich learning opportunities that are aligned to rigorous standards, according to federal education officials.