During EdNET 2009, we were able to hear James Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) for the U.S. Department of Education, give the conference’s keynote presentation. Throughout his address, Shelton discussed the areas the current administration aims to focus on in the next three years, and how these focus areas may affect education vendors.
Shelton emphasized how the administration is encouraging vendors to consider four points when developing and marketing products:
- Outcomes: How does the product or service affect student attainment, completion and achievement?
- Evidence: During the marketing and sales process, vendors need to show how the product or service works in the marketplace, providing data to support claims.
- Evaluation: Vendors should look at what educators and administrators need for reaching NCLB goals.
- Sustainability and Scalability: Products and services should provide school districts with long-term support, and be scalable on statewide and national levels.
He explained the Obama administration wants to work with education vendors, creating greater transparency and furthering collaborative efforts to empower innovation.
In the course of responding to several excellent questions posed by EdNET attendees, Shelton observed that the idea that a computer should be on every student’s desk is still viewed by many as a luxury. He suggested that vendors should make “better cases for themselves,” providing solid evidence whenever they can that a 1:1 environment does improve achievement.
Did you attend EdNET? What was your take? How are you working with the current administration or the OII to develop “best-of-breed” products and services to help administrators and educators enhance student achievement?