Bill HR 521 is focused on education technology and is slowly working its way through the US Legislature.
Technology is ever advancing and in order to stay competitive people need to keep up with the developments that are released. For many school districts, support for technological advancement can be sparse. For those schools that have semi-current technology, the lack of knowledge from the staff as to the true potential of the device can also become a hindrance. The Transforming Education Through Technology bill, HR 521, is poised to help some of these challenges being faced by educational institutions.
1. Educating Educators - The bill itself is keyed towards supporting school staff in using the available technology to help prepare students for college and career applications. Although this requires a change in curriculum in order to facilitate advanced education, a current lack of support and planning prevents devices in the classroom from being used to the full potential of the item. While Bill HR 521 offers this additional support, teachers that are unwilling to learn the advancements in technology can still hinder the development of students within that particular class. Recipients of the grants created by this bill will have to ensure that the teachers and principals are utilizing the technology to further promote education.
2. Out With the Old… - For many school districts, computers are still running antiquated software such as Windows 98se on some of the available workstations. A lot of times, this is due to inadequate funding to purchase updated software to accompany the computer system. The Transforming Education Through Technology bill would alleviate those needs. Systems and educational software that are more than a decade old can be easily replaced if this bill passed. This includes many of the computer systems that younger students receive after an upgrade as hand-me-down devices that may be inadequate for elementary student needs.
3. From Afar - Remote educational needs are also addresses in the HR 521 bill. Better support for online courses and accumulation of scholastic credits can help less fortunate students or improve homeschooling needs. Government officials are seeing the impact that technology has on our development as a species, and utilizing outdated means of education only harms the potential our children have for a brighter future. Giving students the ability to earn degrees through online methods is nothing new. However, the bill would make it easier by supporting the curriculum and technology needed in order to facilitate the educational experience.
4. Variety of Choices - The HR 521 bill would also allow for open resources to be considered which can broaden the range of purchases a school district can make among other avenues of suppliers. Currently, in many school districts, there are strict guidelines that must be followed in order to purchase various types of computer equipment. This bill would widen the scope of what can be purchased from where and include more items than merely desktop and laptop computer systems.
5. Still Waiting - Although this bill would provide $500 million across the country to be divided among states to use, legislators and representatives seem to be dragging their feet in order to get the bill passed. Currently, the Transforming Education Through Technology bill has been awaiting congressional committee approval since February 6, 2013 – according to govtrack.us. While it is common for bills to be scrutinized over long periods of time, one would believe that improved ways of educating our young would be somewhat important.
6. Access to All - The grants that will become available from the HR 521 bill enables all students to be able to access online methods of assessments. In some school districts, funding is sparse and online assessments are usually tailored for those students with disabilities. This will allow the entire student body access to quality curriculum and other assessments equally.
Technological innovations occur rapidly around the world. What is state-of-the-art now, will be outdated in as few as six months. With the rapid evolution of technology, our children need the resources in order to be competitive with the rest of the world when they are of age. Denying them access to these advancements for any reason only hurts the future of our country.
Reach out to your congressional representative today and encourage them to pass HR 521! – KW
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