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Thursday, June 14, 2018

How two states are tackling the shift to digital education | EdScoop News

Commentary: While Idaho uses a structured review process for instructional materials, Pennsylvania has evolved organically to use digital educational content, as EdScoop reports.

Photo: Getty

The extent to which school districts receive guidance on how best to implement digital instructional materials in their classrooms varies greatly from state to state. Some states work closely with their local education agencies, while others do not work with them at all.

In its latest report, SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association) highlights state policies that support districts in their transition to digital learning. And in a recent webinar, education technology leaders from Idaho and Pennsylvania dissected that report, "Navigating the Digital Shift 2018: Broadening Student Learning Opportunities," and discussed how their own state and district leadership teams support digital learning opportunities and implement digital instructional materials.

The instructional materials used in a classroom play a significant role in student learning, according to the Brookings Institution. But of course, schools can’t make the switch to digital overnight. There are essential conditions for digital learning — like state leadership, equity of access, accessibility for all students, interoperability considerations and student data and privacy. Still, while many states have local control and the final decision is left to the schools and districts, it’s important that states provide some leadership around selection, curation, procurement and funding in order to support districts as they embrace digital, said Christine Fox, deputy executive director for SETDA. 

The use of digital resources has changed the way students learn and the way teachers teach. “One of the things that I will tell any educational leader (is) that if you look around your schools and you don’t really come out of that idea that schools can’t change or they shouldn’t change, you need to…” said Bart Rocco, superintendent at Elizabeth Forward. Students can now have an entire library in their backpacks, and this changes the dynamic for schools and students...

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Essential Elements for Digital Content is a free professional learning community that provides policy makers, school administrators and educator leaders a better understanding of policies and practices related to digital instructional materials.

This broadcast was hosted by, SETDA, and Future Ready Schools, and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The recording of the webinar can be viewed by anyone here.

Source: EdScoop News