These two reports, “Skills of the American Workforce Report, Tough Choices for Tough Times” and “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, National Educational Technology Plan 2010″ go hand-in-hand and underscore the plight of education in the US.  The workforce report sheds light on the economic impact of our failing educational achievements and the “Transforming American Education” 2010 lays out an ambitious, yet fundamental, step to righting the US education system.

Today’s educational landscape resembles the US dust bowl era of the 1930’s,  instead of sweeping clouds of dirt circling displaced farm families, pink slips swirl around teachers who have been laid off due to budget shortfalls while students starve for a good education. Meanwhile, US citizens are unable to compete in the global economy with less than competitive education levels. Something’s wrong when teachers are in unemployment lines and colleges turn students away.

The recently released Office of Educational Technology report outlines an ambitious plan to “transform American Education”.  Central to the plan is making good on the “digital promise” (made in 2008) by an “always on” infrastructure connecting all users to technology (broadband), information, mentors and peers for an immersive learning environment.  The report emphasizes the importance of learning outcomes while uprooting the need to follow worn-out basic assumptions created back in the 1800’s –“seat time” equates to learning , and like-aged students should be placed together.  This comprehensive report turns over outdated approaches and solidly embraces blended, 24/7 teaching and learning.  “Open, immersive and always on “appears to be the education motto of 2010 and beyond.

Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, National Educational Technology Plan 2010 (draft) March 5th, 2010, Office of Educational Technology, US Department of Education

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/netp.pdf

Skills of the American Workforce Report, Tough Choices for Tough Times

http://www.skillscommission.org/executive.htm

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