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Education leaders recommend shift in NEA policy on digital learning

NEA President Van Roekel says effective use of technology will help improve student learning

WASHINGTON - May 03, 2013 -

Focusing on a commitment to improve student learning, the National Education Association (NEA) Board of Directors is calling on its members to support the development and implementation of high quality digital learning policy created to improve student learning, quality of instruction, education employee effectiveness and help eradicate educational inequities.

The Board has approved for final action a policy statement that is a shift in the Association’s prior statements relative to digital learning. The statement reflects the first broad NEA endorsement of combining digital learning and educator interaction to create an optimal student learning environment.

“In the fast-paced, worldwide, competitive workplace we now live in, we must tackle the equity issues that are keeping some of our students from succeeding—including closing digital gaps in our schools,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “All students—pre-k through graduate students—need to develop advanced critical thinking skills and master new digital tools, while adapting to the ever-changing digital information landscape. NEA embraces this new environment and these new technologies to better prepare our students for college and for 21st century careers.”

Ensure Equity to Meet the Needs of Every Student
NEA believes that educational programs and strategies designed to close the achievement and digital gaps must address equity issues related to broadband Internet access, software and technical support, and maintenance. Student learning needs can best be met by working collaboratively to develop comprehensive and thorough digital learning plans.

Support and Enhance Educator Professionalism
The increasing use of technology in the classroom will transform the role of educators, allowing the educational process to become ever more student centered. All educators, pre-k-12 and postsecondary teachers, ESPs, and administrators, are essential to student learning and should have access to relevant, high-quality, interactive professional development in the integration of digital learning and the use of technology into their instruction and practice.

Enhance and Enrich Student Learning
Optimal learning environments should neither be totally technology free, nor should they be totally online and devoid of educator interaction. To maximize student learning a blended model between these two extremes should be used. Assessment and accountability systems need to be carefully developed to ensure academic integrity and accurately measure the impact on students.

According to the NEA Board, the development and implementation of high quality digital learning must be a top priority of NEA and its affiliates. NEA will demonstrate its support of digital learning by providing leadership and sharing learning opportunities to develop high quality digital learning that enhances instruction and ultimately improves students learning.

“The appropriate use of technology in education will improve student learning, quality of instruction, and education employee effectiveness, and will provide opportunities to eradicate education equities,” said Van Roekel.

During its July 3-6 meeting in Atlanta, NEA’s Representative Assembly—the Association’s primary legislative and policymaking body—will meet to act on the Board’s recommendation. The Representative Assembly consists of some 9,000 delegates, representing local and state affiliates, teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty, and student and retired members nationwide.

“In today’s classroom, a teacher’s ability to connect with students has become much easier with the use of technology. There’s no turning back,” said Van Roekel. “The ability of any school to deliver on the promise of education technology rests on the preparedness of all its educators, from teachers to administrators, specialists and support staff.”

Learn more about the NEA Policy Statement on Digital Learning by visiting

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing
more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

Contact: Celeste Busser, (202) 822-7823,