The National Education Association believes that technology in the educational process improves learning opportunities for students, quality of instruction, effectiveness of education employees, and provides opportunities to reduce educational inequities.
Technology and Education
The Association supports increased federal, state, and local resources, along with public/private partnerships, to fully fund equipment purchases/leases/upgrades, maintenance, technical support, training, evaluation, and staffing to support the full use of technology in public schools, public colleges, and public universities. The Association also believes that—
- Education employees must have access to necessary technology for managing and advancing instruction. Such technology must be compatible with and on at least the same level as technology in general use outside education. Further, education employees should be provided training, encouragement, time, and resources to experiment with and to research applications of technology in order to integrate technology into all curricula as a regular part of the instructional day.
- Education employees, including representatives of the local affiliate, must be involved in all aspects of technology utilization, including planning, materials selection, implementation, and evaluation. Additional preparation time and ongoing technological support must be granted to teachers using technology to enrich their instruction. Further, classroom teachers, higher education faculty, and library/media specialists must have collaborative planning time.
- Teacher preparation in instructional technology, including the development of effective materials, and appropriate instructional strategies must be included in college and university programs.
- Ongoing professional development must be provided for education employees in the use, integration, and applications of technologies to enhance instruction.
- Instructional technology should be used to support instruction and must be directed by a certified/licensed teacher.
- Instructional technology should be used to improve the learning opportunities for students, the quality of instruction, and/or the effectiveness of education employees, rather than to reduce positions, hours, or compensation.
- The evaluation of education employees in any technological program should be conducted openly, be tailored to the medium, and meet the requirements of the local collective bargaining agreement or evaluation policy.
- The impact of technology and digital learning on education employees should be subject to local collective bargaining agreements.
- Education employees’ participation in digital learning must be mutually established in employer policies, locally negotiated agreements, and/or other sources that establish the terms and conditions of employment for education employees.
- Education employees should own the copyright to materials that they create in the course of their employment.
Fair and Equal Access to Technology
The National Education Association believes students must have access to and instruction in technology, and the responsible use of technology. Further, students should have access to the Internet as well as equity in training, funding, and participation to ensure their technological literacy. The Association also believes equity and freedom of access to information unimpeded by geographic, economic, social, or cultural constraints is essential. The Association further believes that Internet access and activities should be age appropriate and monitored and should foster critical use. Any documentation material produced as a result of Internet access should be properly cited and comply with copyright laws.
The National Education Association believes that every school classroom, office, teacher workroom, and library/media center should have affordable, highspeed, seamless, and equal access to the Internet. The Association also believes that education employees are essential to the development of an acceptable use policy (AUP) and to the appropriate use of the Internet. Filtering of Internet web sites must maintain a balance between the protection of students and the open flow of information. The Association further believes that an AUP that requires the signatures of parents/guardians and students must be in place before allowing student access.
Communication Using Social Media and Technology
The National Education Association believes that guidelines for the use of social media and technology for communications related to school activities should be collaboratively developed by school employees and employers. Communication between education employees and parents/students should be limited to district-sanctioned means of communication. Such guidelines should promote professionalism, safety, respect for privacy, intellectual integrity, and a positive learning environment.
The National Education Association believes that quality digital learning can create or extend learning opportunities but cannot replace traditional education which allows for regular face-to-face interaction among students, peers, and instructors. The Association also believes that students who participate in digital learning should receive the preparation and support necessary to enable them to function effectively in an online environment, which at a minimum should include:
- Supervision and instruction provided by fully qualified, certified, and/or licensed educators
- Appropriate services, equipment, technical support, libraries, and laboratories
- Accurate course descriptions and clear expectations prior to enrollment
- Reasonable student to instructor ratios that allow for individualized interaction with instructors
- Opportunities for appropriate student-to-student interaction
- Curriculum approved courses comparable to similar courses delivered by traditional means and approved by the state education agency
- Courses that are transferable from school to school or for graduation requirements.
Additionally, the NEA has a robust policy statement on digital learning, adopted by the 2013 Representative Assembly and amended in 2018, which sets forth the Association’s full position on this subject.