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ERIC Number: ED504823
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 30
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 41
From PLATO to Podcasts: Fifty Years of Federal Involvement in Educational Technology
Cherian, Mathew
Center on Education Policy
This paper evaluates the effects of federal initiatives in educational technology in elementary and secondary education over the past half-century. While federal resources have been diluted across many programs, this paper focuses on the few initiatives in which the federal role was substantial and integral. The findings from this paper have implications for reevaluating the federal government's role in educational technology and the best approaches for incorporating this very important area of education into future federal education legislation. Analyzed herein are five programs that had significant federal involvement through either direct legislation or significant funding: (1) Sesame Street educational television; (2) The PLATO computer-based instructional system; (3) Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) at Stanford; (4) The Star Schools distance learning program; and (5) The E-Rate initiative to build telecommunications infrastructure. The analysis sought to ascertain the effect the use of technology has had on student achievement; the effect educational technology has had on the achievement gap and the issue of equity in general; and the intended and actual effects of the programs. It is recommended that federal policymakers should increase the use of grants to foster innovation in educational technology; the federal government should provide funding for landmark educational technology programs at every step of the process; and the federal government should continue to act as a balancing force and provide advanced technologies to underserved students and communities.
Center on Education Policy. 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 522, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-822-8065; Fax: 202-822-6008; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center on Education Policy