ED announces new tech chief

Karen Cator, former director of education leadership and advocacy for Apple Inc. and a long-time education technology leader, will serve as the new director of the Office of Educational Technology (OET) for the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

The announcement was made by Jim Shelton, ED’s assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement, during the opening session of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) Leadership Forum Nov. 3. Cator was unavailable for comment as of press time.

Cator served as chair of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills from September 2006 to September 2007. She also was in charge of technology planning and implementation in the Juneau, Alaska, school district before joining Apple in 1997.

OET is responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of ED’s education technology policies, research projects, and national technology summits. The office’s main goal is to maximize technology’s contributions to improving education.

The announcement coincides with the development of a new National Education Technology Plan that will provide a vision for how information and communication technologies can help transform American education. The plan will provide a set of concrete goals that can inform state and local ed-tech plans, as well as inspire research, development, and innovation. A draft of the new plan is expected in early 2010.

ED is asking ed-tech experts for their insights from the field as officials draft the new national plan.

ED has asked respondents to contribute ideas, opinions, and recommendations for the plan through a new web site, edtechfuture.org.

Comments can include a description and link to a published resource such as a journal article, report, book chapter, or paper that discusses educational or technological developments that can help inform the plan; a description of an innovative technology system or tool such as hardware, software, or an application that holds promise for transforming the nation’s education system; or a description of the implementation of a program, activity, curriculum, or system redesign that has successfully harnessed innovative technology to enhance student learning, high-quality teaching, effective assessment, or other educational goals.


New National Educational Technology Plan

U.S. Department of Education

State Education Technology Directors Association