George Miller Marks Digital Learning Day With New EdTech Bill

When it comes to education, the role and effects of technology has been a tough nut to crack. As tomorrow's Digital Learning Day approaches, education groups and officials are offering up their recommendations.

Congress is marking the event with a bill. On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democrat of the House education committee, introduced legislation that aims to make schools' transition to integrating technology into their lessons and operations a little bit smoother. According to a memo from Miller's office, the Transforming Education through Technology Act aims to "help speed adoption of innovative digital tools to improve student outcomes, close achievement gaps, boost educator skills and improve efficiency and productivity." Under the law, states and school districts would have to "develop plans and policies that put the best technology" to use in classrooms.

"Technology provides us an opportunity to tackle chronic education challenges in new ways thanks to increasing use and access, constant innovation, and falling costs.  Technology can be a tool to drive equity and to help transform how education is delivered, making learning more student-centered and recognizing teachers as education designers," Miller said in a statement. "We must harness this opportunity if we want to give all students a 21st century skill set to prepare them for high-growth, high-demand jobs in the global economy." 

Specifically, the bill would focus on tools that provide teachers with instantaneous feedback on their students' progress. Districts would be equipped with tools to "build a technology infrastructure" to help schools better harness technology, and also support the adoption of tests. This last part might be crucial as some states gear up to administer a new slate of standardized tests that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards -- some of which are delivered solely on computers.

Also for Digital Learning Day, the Alliance for Public Education, led by former Gov. Bob Wise, will launch Project 24, a campaign that aims to help schools implement technological projects. So far, over 200 school districts in 42 states have signed up. "The '24' represents the next twenty-four months, during which the nation's education landscape will change greatly as states and school districts implement new Common Core standards and online assessments and deal with budget cuts and waivers from key provisions of" No Child Left Behind, a source at the Alliance writes.

So, what do you think? Is your school marking Digital Learning Day in any way? Have you even heard of it? How is your school using technology to better serve students -- or not? Leave your thoughts below, or email me. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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