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GUIDANCE SYSTEM: U.S. Department of Education Outlines ESEA and IDEA Funds That Could Support Use of Technology to Improve Instruction and Student Outcomes

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“Funding these four areas is important because technology itself is not a panacea,” Culatta writes. “Technology can help improve learning and educational outcomes for students only when teachers are well-supported with appropriate resources and have an opportunity to integrate technology with high quality instruction.”

Coinciding with Digital Learning Day, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released guidance on February 5 that outlines how states, school districts, and eligible partnerships could use federal education funding to support innovative technology-based strategies to personalize learning. The guidance, offered in a letter from Richard Culatta, director of ED’s Office of Educational Technology, provides examples of how programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may support the use of technology to improve instruction and student outcomes.

Specifically, the guidance focuses on four main areas: (1) improving and personalizing professional learning and other supports for educators; (2) increasing access to high-quality digital content and resources for students; (3) facilitating educator collaboration and communication; and (4) providing devices for students to access digital learning resources.

“Funding these four areas is important because technology itself is not a panacea,” Culatta writes. “Technology can help improve learning and educational outcomes for students only when teachers are well-supported with appropriate resources and have an opportunity to integrate technology with high quality instruction.”

Although the guidance focuses on ESEA and IDEA funds, it adds that funds from “many other” formula and competitive grant programs administered by ED may also be used for this purpose.

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Digital Learning Day

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