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NEA Positions on Technology and Education

The technology environment of today's public schools should match the tools and approaches of the work and civic life that students will encounter after graduation. This will ensure that schools stay relevant to today's students, as well as equip them for success in life after school. More funding is needed at all levels to better integrate technology into schools and classrooms.

Technology and Education

The technology available to educators and students should be compatible with, and at least on the same level as, technology in general use outside of schools.

  • Education technology budgets should reflect the importance of professional development. At least a third of all tech budgets should be reserved for school staff to become proficient in using and integrating technology into their classrooms.
  • Educators themselves should be involved in decisions on planning, purchasing, and deploying education technology.
  • Teacher education programs need to embrace educational technology and help prospective teachers use it effectively in the classroom.
  • Technology should be deployed and applied equitably among all students and educators, regardless of geography or demographics.
  • Students should also be taught the appropriate and safe use of technology.

Professional Development

Making the tools of technology available is important, but that's just the first step. Fully preparing and supporting educators in the instructional use of technology is critical. Teachers and school staff must know how to do more with technology than simply automate practices and processes. They need to learn to use technology to transform the nature of teaching and learning.The technology environment of today's public schools should match the tools and approaches of the work and civic life that students will encounter after graduation. This will ensure that schools stay relevant to today's students, as well as equip them for success in life after school.

Distance Education

NEA has recognized the enormous potential of online learning -- as well as some of the potential pitfalls. In 2002, the Association adopted a comprehensive policy for online learning. Some key points include:

  • NEA enthusiastically supports the continued and expanded use of distance education because it believes that distance education has the potential to improve learning opportunities for students, the quality of instruction, and the effectiveness of education employees.

  • Distance education can enrich and enhance the education provided to students, but distance education is not an alternative to traditional education that can in all respects and in all contexts fulfill the mission of traditional education.

  • All eligible students must be able to participate in distance education on an equitable basis without regard to the economic or social status of their family.

  • Students who take distance education courses should receive the preparation and support necessary to enable them to function effectively in an online environment.

While NEA supports the use of online education, the Association is concerned about the growth of "cyber-charters." These are virtual schools that students attend full time, under existing state laws for charter schools. Some of the schools are run by for-profit businesses; many of the customers are home-schooled kids taught by their parents, rather than a certified instructor, notes Barbara Stein, a technology expert with NEA.


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