December 5, 2013

School in Session as Congressmen, House Staff Attend Digital Class on the Hill

NCTET Event Shows How Today’s Teachers Harness Digital Tools and Content to Captivate Learners

Mindy and Garron standing next to the sign for their Pop-Up Classroom
Mindy Johnson & Garron Hillaire at the Digital Classrooms on the Hill Event

Washington, DC – The National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET) turned the House of Representatives’ Education and the Workforce Committee Room into four digital classrooms yesterday to demonstrate how education technology is transforming the way teachers’ teach and students’ learn.

Attendees, including Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Scott Perry (R-PA), had the opportunity to take a chemistry class that collected temperature data with digital probes, use a Discovery Education Techbook to learn about space exploration, and interact with a pre-algebra app built by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) and based on principles of universal design for learning. Participants also had a chance to hear from Brandt Redd, CTO of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia, about the forthcoming Common Core assessments and review sample questions.

“Technology can be a tool to drive equity, putting tools and resources within the reach of more and more students and families,” said Representative Miller, the author of the Transforming Education Through Technology Act, in the event’s opening remarks. “The technologies on display today show that we are indeed in a new world… And we as adults need to learn from kids in this instance.”

The event also included an expert panel of educators discussing the importance of teacher preparation –in graduate school and on-the-job – for delivering technology-fueled lessons and the need for additional funding to ensure that all students are adequately equipped with technology and have access to sufficient bandwidth. Panelists included Ben Smith, a chemistry teacher from Red Lion High School in Pennsylvania, Tanesha Dixon, a social studies teacher/technology integration coach from the Wheatley Education Campus in Washington, DC, and Gwen Peyton, the Principal of Beers Elementary School in Washington, DC.

"NCTET is pleased to have hosted yesterday's Pop-Up classroom event," said Hilary Goldmann, NCTET President and ISTE Senior Director Government Relations. "Technology holds tremendous potential for enhancing teaching and learning, and we are thankful for the opportunity to share with Members of Congress and their staff some of the tremendous resources creating authentic learning environments. It is critical that federal policymakers have a firsthand experience engaging in digital learning tools and services like those with which they interacted this afternoon."

The National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that examines and supports the use of technology to improve education and training in America. NCTET’s board includes representatives from education associations, non-profit organizations, and corporations. NCTET organizes policy briefings and issue forums, produces white papers and acts as a convener on timely issues in education technology. Learn more:

Check out CAST's digital photo albums from the event on Facebook and Google+.