New National Education Technology Plan Calls for Student Data Privacy, Open Educational Resources

On Thursday the U.S. Department of Education released the 2016 National Education Technology Plan, which was last updated in 2010. The 2016 version follows many of the same tenets as the 2010 one, including an emphasis on equity and accessibility. However, the new plan also specifically focuses on recent issues like student data privacy and open educational resources.

Key Aspects of the 2016 Plan

  • Redesign teacher preparation programs to shift from a single technology course to thoughtful use of technology throughout a teacher’s preparation and minimum standards for higher education instructors’ tech proficiency.
  • Set an expectation of equitable access to technology and connectivity inside and outside of school regardless of students’ backgrounds.
  • Adopt high-quality openly licensed educational materials in place of traditional textbooks.
  • Implement universal design principles for accessibility across all educational institutions and include these principles within teacher preparation programs.
  • Improve technology-based assessments to allow for embedded delivery within instruction and making near real-time feedback for educators possible.
  • Establish a robust technology infrastructure that meets current connectivity goals and can be augmented to meet future demand.

According to the Infrastructure section of the plan, “One of the most effective ways to provide high-quality digital learning materials at scale is through the use of openly licensed educational resources.” Additional recommendations focus on OER as well.

  • Regarding teacher professional development: “This will require leveraging partner organizations and building institutional capacity to take advantage of free and openly licensed educational content such as that indexed on”
  • Regarding school and district leadership: “Develop funding models and plans for sustainable technology purchases that leverage openly licensed content while paying special attention to resources and tasks that can be made obsolete by technology.”
  • Regarding infrastructure: “Support the development and use of openly licensed educational resources to promote innovative and creative opportunities for all learners and accelerate the development and adoption of new open technology–based learning tools and courses.”

Privacy language focuses on making sure that educators understand privacy and security concerns, have models and methods for evaluating compliance of new resources, and that there are policies and technologies in place at all levels that safeguard student information.

The AAP PreK-12 Learning Group will keep its members updated on future developments regarding GoOpen and the National Education Technology Plan.

More Information

Read the 2016 National Education Technology Plan.

Press release from the U.S. Department of Education.

“6 Ways the New National Education Technology Plan Could Help Close Achievement Gap,” by D. Frank Smith, EdTech Magazine (Dec. 10, 2015)

“The Next National Education Technology Plan,” by Tony Wan, EdSurge (Dec. 10, 2015)

Data & Privacy
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Education Policy
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