Effective Use of Technology

One of the three purposes of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) program is to improve the use of technology as another means to achieve academic achievement. Specifically, by promoting digital literacy of all students and providing professional development to the educators that teach and support them. In order to ensure that all students build the capacities necessary for thriving as 21st century learners and workforce contributors, program initiatives fall under three categories, Digital Citizenship, Personalized Learning and Improving Equity for All Learners.

What Is It?

The term “educational technology” advances quickly. As stated in the November 2014 Dear Colleague Letter for Federal Funding for Technology, many of the terms we use today to describe technology enhanced learning did not exist when laws such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) were written. However, since its inception, the effective use of educational technology has always been defined as using technological efforts to help students achieve academically. Specifically, by promoting digital literacy of all students and providing professional development to the educators that teach and support them.

What Are the Benefits of Promoting an Effective Use of Technology?

A well-designed and high quality digital learning and technology program in schools can not only help enhance student learning, but also student engagement. In addition, schools and educators can collaborate with a variety of professionals in a virtual form. Through the use of technology, schools can enhance learning opportunities inside the classroom and out while also increasing professional development opportunities. This can be true for those historically disadvantaged schools and students as well as the educators who support them. Furthermore, technology in the classrooms prepares students for their future and sets them up for this increasing digital economy.

How Can Educational Stakeholders Promote an Effective Use of Technology?

The SSAE guidance provides many examples of how the funds can be used to promote a more effective use of technology. Program funds can be used by teachers and others to provide personalized learning, including blended learning approaches and innovative assessment tools; as well as implementing school and districtwide approaches and to support future collaboration, accessibility, and awareness of responsible and appropriate uses of technology.

For all programs, cybersecurity should be considered within the larger framework of school and district emergency preparedness activities that address security, safety, and emergency management.  Additionally, LEAs and schools must develop written policies and procedures, and measures to ensure safe and responsible uses of technology.

Selection of Related Resources

Screenshot of the Student Access to Digital Learning Resources Outside of the Classroom

U.S. Department of Education | National Center for Education Statistics | April 2018

Student Access to Digital Learning Resources Outside of the Classroom. This report, draws upon the most recently available nationally representative data sources, existing research, and relevant State and Local intervention efforts, to examine the educational impact of access to Digital Learning Resources (DLR) outside of the classroom.

Access the Report

Federal Resources

General Resources

  • Office of Educational Technology: The US Department of Education Office of Educational Technology issued the district launch packet. It’s full of all digital and free resources for educators to use and to modify as needed as well as share. For Ed Tech to be truly transformative, educators need to have both the knowledge and the skills to take full advantage of technology rich learning environment through professional development.
  • E-Rate Program provides discounted telecommunication services. You may wish to consider whether your school or district receives E-Rate funds and services and how they can be leveraged with program funds.
  • Diagram Center Webinars hosts a collection of free training, information sharing and what’s going on in the field based on the overarching theme of accessibility and making educational materials accessible.
  • Ed Tech Developer's Guide addresses key questions about the education ecosystem and highlights critical needs and opportunities to develop digital tools and apps for learning. This guide is designed to help entrepreneurs apply technology in smart ways to solve persistent problems in education.
  • Expanding Evidence outlines new types and sources of evidence of learning afforded by technology with an aim toward helping education decision-makers obtain the increased quality and quantity of evidence needed to fuel innovation and optimize the effectiveness of new learning resources.
  • Future Ready Interactive Planning Dashboard and Resource Hub presents a dashboard where district teams complete an in-depth self-assessment to determine their overall readiness to undergo a digital transformation, create a vision for student learning, and evaluate what aspects of the system they must address to make that vision a reality. After completing the selfassessment, each district team receives a customized report that analyzes the district’s readiness in each of the seven gears of the Future Ready Framework, identifies gaps, and offers customized strategies and free resources.
  • Future Ready Schools Infrastructure Guide provides practical, actionable information intended to help district leaders (superintendents, principals, and teacher leaders) navigate the many decisions required to deliver cutting-edge connectivity and devices to students, and outlines principles and policies that support capacity building for educational technology and digital citizenship. It presents a variety of options for district leaders to consider when making technology infrastructure decisions, recognizing that circumstances and context vary greatly from district to district.
  • #GoOpen District Launch Packet  presents a report designed for districts that have decided to implement a systematic approach to incorporating openly licensed education resources into their curriculum.
  • Learning Analytics helps policymakers and administrators understand how learning analytics has been—and can be—applied for educational improvement while rigorously protecting student privacy.
  • The National Education Technology Plan 2016  presents the flagship educational technology policy document for the United States. The 2016 Plan, Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education, articulates a vision of equity, active use, and collaborative leadership to make everywhere, all-the-time learning possible. The principles and examples provided in the document align to the effective use of technology content area under Title IV, Part A.