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About Becta

Becta leads the national drive to inspire and lead the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning.

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Transforming American Education: Learning powered by technology

On 5 March 2010 US Secretary Arne Duncan welcomed publication of the draft US National Education Technology Plan saying "In the 21st century, students must be fully engaged. This requires the use of technology tools and resources, involvement with interesting and relevant projects, and learning environments - including online environments - that are supportive and safe."

This ambitious plan with the theme "A 21st Century Model of Learning Powered by Technology" will support delivery of Federal targets for education. It shares many similarities with Becta's Harnessing Technology strategy, focusing its actions on five areas:

  • Learning - engaging and empowering learning experiences
  • Assessment - assessing what matters and using data to improve
  • Teaching - teachers' access to data, content, resources, expertise and learning
  • Infrastructure - available for learning when and where learners and educators need it
  • Productivity - redesign of processes and structures to take advantage of technology.

To support the plan Arne Duncan committed to transforming the U.S. Department of Education from a 'compliance-driven machine' into an engine for innovation. He cited schools, colleges and Universities using technology to transform outcomes, including Manor High in Texas.

"Manor New Tech High School opened, 50 percent of its teachers had taught for less than a year. Yet within its first year, 2008, Manor students out-performed the state average by 16 percent in science. In its 3rd year, the gains continue, with a dropout rate of virtually zero and a 97 percent attendance rate. The class of 2010 will be the first graduating class, and all students are going on to postsecondary education. Manor's leaders credit their success to project-based learning and to full and integrated use of technology."

Over the last eighteen months, as this plan has developed, Becta has increasingly worked in collaboration with the Office of Educational technology (OET). Becta welcomed Karen Cator, Director of the OET to the Learning and Technology World forum in January to share policy developments and thinking. 

Roy Pea of Stanford University and Chris Dede at Harvard, both members of the development Technical Working Group, which supported the development of this plan, are also well known to Becta. They each delivered keynotes at Becta's 2008 and 2009 Research conferences - their presentations are available to view: Roy Pea / Chris Dede.

The full speech is available on the US Department of education website.

Download the report US National Education Technology Plan.

Printer friendly printer friendly version of this page Published: 16 March 2010