As the Maryland State Department of Education announced new digital learning regulations this fall, two national associations released reports on digital learning that include recommendations for state and local policymakers.
In Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age, the State Educational Technology Directors Association profiles state leaders in technology, making mention of The MDK12 Digital Library Program, “a partnership of the State Department of Education with every school district in the state and about 100 nonpublic schools, that negotiates statewide pricing for the purchase of digital content to provide quality resources for students at all grade levels.” The report advocates for better digital learning programs across all states, detailing the following success factors for a shift to digital,
• Sustainable funding for devices
• Robust internet connectivity
• Up-to-date policies
• Prepared educators
• Intellectual property and reuse rights
• Quality control and usability
• State and local leadership buy-in
The Report of the National Association of State Boards of Education Study Group on the Role of Technology in Schools and Communities envisions three parts to the topic: addressing the needs of today’s children, ensuring educators can use technology, and providing sufficient technology infrastructure. On the final subject, the report points out that
Almost 80 percent of schools that receive Federal E-Rate funding for broadband say their Internet connection does not fully meet their needs. Almost half of the E-Rate funded schools have an Internet connection of 3megabits per second (Mbps) or less. To put this in perspective, 3 Mbps is slightly below the recommended bandwidth for one residential household in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.
The Director of Instructional Technology of the Maryland State Department of Education will be speaking on digital learning at the Winter MACo Conference at the Hyatt Resort in Cambridge, Maryland on January 4, 2013. Conference materials and registration forms are now available.