What are some of the current trends that may affect the study and/or practice of educational technology?
According to the Northwest Council for Computer Education (N.C.C.E.), "The President's proposed FY09 Budget again calls for the total elimination of critical education technology funding. Specifically, the President's Budget would zero out the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program, cutting education technology funding by $267.4 million."
With a zero budget for 2009, compared to a $496 million budget for 2005, priority for educational technology has taken steps backward. This will have a serious impact on the amount of technology that school districts are able to purchase. With the economy being such as it is, technology is being put on the back burner, deemed less important than other aspects of education.
California's Education Technology K-12 Voucher Program ended its (nearly) 2-year stint on June 30, 2008. This funding was the result of a lawsuit, and districts had to apply for the program on behalf of all their eligible schools. Only Title I schools were eligible to apply for these vouchers, and the total amount available through the program was 400 billion dollars. Now that these funds are no longer available, technology that has already been acquired will lack the funding for upgrades. New technology will also be largely out of the question, with a weak economy and other funding sources quickly being reallocated.
Teachers are burdened with the task of creating the workforce of the future...one that will require significantly different skills than those of decades past. With funding and the importance of educational technology being set aside, teaching students the skills they will need to compete in a global market is becoming increasingly difficult. By the time most schools get technology in the classroom, it is already becoming outdated.
Tools of the Future
Last, but not least, is the technology that has yet to be invented. At the rate new technology is being created and upgraded, educational technologists will have to continuously learn and upgrade their own skills. When most of today's teachers were going to school, they could not have imagined the advances that would take place in technology in the past ten or so years. They are now training their students to enter a workplace for which the tools have not even been invented yet. Educators must be flexible and able to adapt to the dramatic changes in technology as they become available.