The 2017 NETP policy document is aimed to promote the policymakers’ understanding of how to implement technology-enabled learning (Office of Educational Technology, 2017). This document can be located within the context of the secondary scholarship that has been discussed during this week since it helps to analyze the education technology policy. As Alexander (2013) notes, the starting point of policy analysis may be a complicated one since it does not presuppose the investigation of the existing approach but, rather, it involves the recognition of the need for change. Therefore, the 2017 NETP policy document can be of assistance when analyzing the key readings of the week.
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Technology-enabled learning helps to align “how we learn with what we learn” (Office of Educational Technology, 2017, p. 12). As Roumell and Salajan (2016) remark, the NETP documents, which have been issued for over two decades, offer a dialectic analysis of the development of e-learning policy in the US. Thus, these documents have a high value both for policymakers and educators. For example, McMillan Culp, Honey, and Mandinach (2005) emphasize the importance of investigating why and how technology can affect learning.
Waight, Willging, and Wentling (2004) note that it is crucial to find out the purpose of e-learning and the trends that influence it. The 2017 NETP policy document covers all of these and many other areas. For instance, it discusses the ways of empowering learning and teaching through technology, provides evaluation methods, and offers approaches to creating prerequisites for change and innovation (Office of Educational Technology, 2017). Therefore, the 2017 NETP policy document is highly valuable for the secondary scholarship since it covers vital aspects of using technology in education.
As Cohen and Spillane remark, the political system is designed to “frustrate central power” (as cited in Fowler, 2014, p. 38). Scholars consider that such decentralization is the greatest challenge in developing educational policy in the United States. It is impossible not to agree with this opinion since indeed, the division of power has a great impact on the establishment of educational policy. While the main actors in the system of education are teachers and students, they cannot arrange their collaboration without the approval of the government.
As a result, even the most promising ideas can remain not implemented due to the frustration of the central power by the political system. However, this opinion holds true only under the condition of the balance of power being fixed. Meanwhile, Fowler (2014) argues that this balance is shifting and that this shift can have positive implications for the participants of the educational process.
Fowler (2014) notes that there has been the reallocation of authority in the US political system, which has a profound effect on the system of education. In light of the current state of education policy in the United States, the federal and district government has lost the authority over education, whereas the state and building levels of the government have gained more authority (Fowler, 2014). Therefore, educators have an opportunity to enhance their sphere of work by combining their efforts and creating coalitions at the state level. The question of building coalitions across the system in order to bring about the needed change is highly important. It is necessary to keep in mind the differences in power allocation and to create alliances that would bring benefits for educational policies and the key participants of the educational process.
As a result, it is crucial for public leaders to come up with effective solutions for the system of education which could benefit both teachers and learners. Coalitions are necessary because it is much easier to analyze the problems from several different points of view than from a single angle. As Alexander notes, an integral part of policy analysis is the evaluation of the origin and extent of the problem. Thus, it is necessary to approach such analysis by a union of professionals that are competent in various spheres.
To create a successful coalition, it is necessary to combine the principles of ambitiousness and modesty. The members of the community should not strive to be praised for their individual achievements but instead, they should focus on their collective goals. The next prerequisite of forming a successful coalition is the clear definition of goals that it aims to pursue. Without setting the objectives, even the most competent board of members will not be able to focus on the problems existing in the system of education. As a result, the coalition will not produce any positive change in the system.
Other aspects that should be considered in the process of creating the coalition are setting core partnerships, accumulating pertinent data and sharing it among the members, and enrolling the most proficient people in the team. Finally, at any point of creating or managing a coalition, it is necessary to mitigate conflicts and sustain ethical norms. By employing these principles, one can form a successful coalition that will promote the necessary changes in the system of education.
Alexander, N. A. (2013). Policy analysis for educational leaders: A step-by-step approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Fowler, F. C. (2014). Policy studies for educational leaders: An introduction (4th ed.). Essex, UK: Pearson.
McMillan Culp, K., Honey, M., & Mandinach, E. (2005). A retrospective of twenty years of education technology policy. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 32(3), 279-307.
Office of Educational Technology. (2017). Reimagining the role of technology in education: 2017 National Education Technology Plan update. Web.
Roumell, E. A., & Salajan, F. D. (2016). The evolution of U.S. e-learning policy: A content analysis of the National Education Technology Plans. Education Policy, 30(2), 365-397.
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Waight, C. K., Willging, P., & Wentling, T. (2004). Recurrent themes in e-learning. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 5(3), 195-203.