Duncan Talks Tech at SXSWedu

Secretary Duncan speaks at SXSWedu

Secretary Duncan speaks at SXSWedu March 8, 2012. Official Department of Education photo by Paul Wood.

“The future of American education undoubtedly includes a laptop on every desk and universal internet access in every home,” Secretary Duncan said earlier today at SXSWedu (South by Southwest Education), in Austin, Texas. “But a great teacher at the front of the classroom will still make the biggest difference in the lives of our students.”

Duncan addressed a large audience of educators and tech entrepreneurs at the annual conference that focuses on innovations in learning. The Secretary spoke to the importance of technology in education, and noted that the Department of Education remains committed to doing “all we can at the federal level to support the use of technology.”

In 2010, ED issued a comprehensive Education Technology Plan to support the broader trends in education today. Elements of the plan include:

    • Aligning learning materials with the college- and career-ready standards that states have developed and adopted.
    • Engaging students by tailoring learning to their needs and interests and providing real-time information to teachers about student learning.
    • Connecting teachers with their peers so they can share learning materials and classroom strategies.
    • Building the infrastructure to support this learning environment and using technology to become more productive.

Duncan explained that technology has become essential to learning, not optional. He also reminded the audience that even if Beethoven would have had a computer, “the Fifth Symphony would still have come from the mysterious gray matter between his ears.”

Following Duncan’s speech at SXSWedu, he held a college affordability town hall at Austin Community College (watch here), and will hold a town hall with San Antonio’s Hispanic community later this evening.

Read more about the Department’s Education Technology Plan at the Office of Education Technology’s new website: www.ed.gov/technology, and read Secretary Duncan’s SXSWedu speech.


  1. I believe technology aids in the learning process and keeps students stimulated. The recent generations of students have been using computers, video games, and cell phones at a very young age. Why would we take this away from them in the classroom? I believe teachers need to keep up with their technological skills and make an effort to learn. I know at my campus teachers who felt uncomfortable or not up to par with technology made a big fuss when being exposed to new technology. Instead of wanting to learn how to use it they complained about doing it. I am sorry but times are changing and if we want to be strong educational leader, technology needs to be a skill teachers acquire. It is another story when you are a teacher who wants to incorporate technology into their lessons but the tools are not there (computers, smart boards, iPads, laptops, plasma televisions, etc.) because of funding.

  2. Technology is a essential tool to learning in this century, but the teacher is the still the biggest asset in student learning. If the teacher is boring in what they teach, a child will not learn with technology or not.

  3. Technology will be important in the future, but in the present we need to focus more attention, time, and funding on those students in districts still struggling to have basic school supplies (like books and classrooms), much less a laptop on every desk.

    We can choose to pursue a future of shiny Macbooks and SMART Boards if we like, but let’s be realistic about where those resources will really end up, and remember those lower-income students who will be left behind in the process.

  4. While we as educators all agree that technology is vitally important, this will not get traction on the ground until it is made a requirement both in the national Core curriculum and in local school districts.

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