Technology ushers in fundamental structural changes that can be integral to achieving significant improvements in productivity. Used to support both teaching and learning, technology infuses classrooms with digital learning tools, such as computers and hand held devices; expands course offerings, experiences, and learning materials. It increases student engagement, motivation and accelerates learning. Technology also has the power to transform teaching by ushering in a new model of connected teaching. This model links teachers to their students and to professional content, resources, and systems to help them improve their own instruction and personalize learning.
Online learning opportunities and the use of open educational resources and other technologies can increase educational productivity by accelerating the rate of learning; reducing costs associated with instructional materials or program delivery; and better utilizing teacher time.
Virtual or online learning: 48 states and the District of Columbia currently support online learning opportunities that range from supplementing classroom instruction on an occasional basis to enrolling students in full-time programs.
Blended learning: Blended learning opportunities incorporate both face-to-face and online learning opportunities. The degree to which online learning takes place, and the way it is integrated into the curriculum, can vary across schools. The strategy of blending online learning with school-based instruction is often utilized to accommodate students’ diverse learning styles and to enable them to work before or after school in ways that are not possible with full-time conventional classroom instruction. Online learning has the potential to improve educational productivity by accelerating the rate of learning, taking advantage of learning time outside of school hours, reducing the cost of instructional materials, and better utilizing teacher time. These strategies can be particularly useful in rural areas where blended or online learning can help teachers and students in remote areas overcome distance.
Open educational resources: Open educational resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain and are freely available to anyone over the Web. They are an important element of an infrastructure for learning and range from podcasts to digital libraries to textbooks and games. It is critical to ensure that open educational resources meet standards of quality, integrity, and accuracy—as with any other educational resource—and that they are accessible to students with disabilities
Use digital resources well: Schools can use digital resources in a variety of ways to support teaching and learning. Electronic grade books, digital portfolios, learning games, and real-time feedback on teacher and student performance, are a few ways that technology can be utilized to power learning.