Digital Learning Now

I’ve been totally snowed under for the past couple of weeks, and missed blogging, but the’s release of a report from the Digital Learning Council has caught my attention when I saw it this morning on the Education Week blog. They’ve released a ‘roadmap’ to overhaul education in the US, recommending  major changes to state education policy, many of which would I’ve been advocating here in NZ for some time.

Recommendations in the report titled “Digital Learning Now!” (PDF download) include abolishing seat-time requirements  and overhauling public school funding models – both of which are policy changes long overdue in the NZ school system in my opinion. Other recommendations such as inking teacher pay to student success aren’t what I’d advocate – but I can understand the intention when the report writers are looking for ways to accelerate this change, and teacher resistance is often identified as a key factor.

Reports affirming the joint sentiments that (a) school reform is necessary and (b) technology can play a key role in enabling this are not new (see some of my previous blog posts here and here), and we have evidence of this working in practice in NZ for some time now (see blog post here from 2005).

The NLC report contains a list ofwhat they call 10 elements of High Quality Digital Learning:

  • Student eligibility:  all students are digital learners
  • Student access: all students have access to high quality digital content and online courses
  • Personalised learning: all students can customize their education using digital content through an approved provider
  • Advancement: students progress based on demonstrated competency
  • Content: Digital content, instructional materials, and online and blended learning courses are high quality
  • Instruction: digital instruction and teachers are high quality
  • Providers: all students have access to multiple high quality providers
  • Assessment and accountability: student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction
  • Funding: funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovation
  • Delivery: infrastructure supports digital learning.

These ‘goals’ for a digitally enabled learning future for students resonate with me, with many already in practice in initiatives such as NZ’s Virtual Learning Network – but as the report states, changes are needed at policy level to truly liberate schools and education leaders to advance things in this direction.

Let’s hope someone takes notice 🙂

3 thoughts on “Digital Learning Now

  1. Labas Derek,
    I note has also commented on this paper.

    Dynasties once prayed for rain. Others who succeeded them, built irrigation systems.
    This paper is yet another example of a prayer for rain. If the recommendations are layered over the traditional system, the potential for the sort of change Innosight, and you, promote are limited. It becomes yet another case of ‘old ewe dressed up as lamb’.

    The foundation paper writes about ‘excellence’, but gives no definition. Noting the numerous references to ‘math and science’, in the paper, possibly I have my answer.

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