Effective Uses of Technology
How to Make the Case for Edtech and Digital Literacy
Title IV-A funding is available for edtech, you will have to convince your school or district to spend some of its funds in this area. Title IV-A has essentially been set up as an informal competition within and between the programs found in the three buckets. In order to get a fair share of this money for edtech, you will have to persuade the decision-makers in your school or district that the need is great, that the digital products or professional development experiences are of high quality and that you have buy-in from key constituencies. Here are a few strategies for you to consider:
Suggested Projects and Activities that Focus on Systemic Needs for the Personalization of Competency based Teaching and Learning
The Future Ready Schools Initiative developed by the Office of Educational Technology at the US Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellence in Education as a framework to help school districts develop comprehensive plans to achieve successful personalized student learning outcomes by (1) transforming instructional pedagogy and practice while (2) simultaneously leveraging digital tools and resources that personalize learning in the classroom. New Hampshire is a declared Future Ready State with over 35 Superintendents pledging to work to make their districts future ready.
The Future Ready Framework offers guidance and considerations for districts that want to move towards future readiness in deliberate and meaningful ways. Many New Hampshire Districts have already taken the Future Ready pledge, but regardless of whether a Superintendent has taken the pledge or not, the Future Ready framework can be used to develop funding proposals that move districts towards future readiness.
The New Hampshire Department of Education is focused on improving our education system through personalized learning and competency based teaching and learning. The goal of the New Hampshire Title IV A Program is to provide funding for districts with a documented need for help becoming future ready. Engaging students and school communities in activities that integrate digital tools and resources is a powerful way for schools and districts to move students towards future readiness.
At the core of Future Ready Framework, a robust structure for developing systemic personalized learning through visioning, planning, and implementation of school improvement activities focused on personalizing student learning. The research-based Framework emphasizes collaborative leadership and creating an innovative school culture. All content focuses on seven key areas, called gears in the framework, that are synchronized and nurtured through collaborative leadership. Proposed activities that effectively use Technology should support the Future Ready Framework and integrate digital teaching and learning and optimize personalization and competency based education into funding proposals. The following kinds of activities support both the Future Ready framework and the key values of New Hampshire education.
Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
The effective use of digital learning is integrated into all activities, not just isolated, stand alone activities. Proposed activities which focus on curriculum, instruction and assessment will:
Personalized Professional Learning
Educators and leaders are provided opportunities to deepen their knowledge and use of digital tools and resources for teaching and learning. Proposed activities which focus on personalizing professional learning will:
A digital learning focused ecosystem is established to ensure every activity exceeds industry-connectivity standards. Proposed activities which focus on developing a robust infrastructure will:
Budget and Resources
Opportunities to reduce costs for the procurement of digital tools and resources are identified. Proposed activities which focus on reducing costs for digital tools and resources will:
Coalitions of interested and invested organizations and parties that support integrating and using digital tools and resources for teaching and learning are established or identified. Proposed activities which focus on establishing community partnerships will:
Data and Privacy
Digital tools and resources that provide meaningful data to leaders and educators and that support future ready instruction and decision making are identified and used. Proposed activities which focus on securing data and privacy will:
Use of Space and Time
Opportunities for districts and educators to explore integrating digital tools and resources into teaching and learning in order to develop and support innovative classroom models. Proposed activities which focus on innovative uses of space and time will:
Educators, leaders, and community partners must establish a culture of future readiness through integration of digital tools and resources into all aspects of school life. Proposals which focus on developing collaborative leadership will:
The Future Ready Schools Project supports district and school leaders in planning and implementing research-based personalized learning to ensure students graduate ready to utilize their talents and pursue their dreams after high school. There are programs for district leadership, principals, technology leaders, instructional coaches, librarians, and those looking for high school improvement assistance. Each program offers district and school leaders ways to leverage Future Ready resources, strategies, and action planning for district and school transformation.
Suggested Projects and Activities that Utilize Existing Statewide Initiatives that Empower Students and Personalize Digital Teaching and Learning
Another key element of making the case for Title IV-A dollars is ensuring that you plan to spend those dollars on appropriate items. The USDE guidance states clearly that the central goal of Title IV-A’s edtech bucket is “increasing the effective use of technology to improve academic achievement, academic growth and digital literacy for all students.” With the law’s 15% cap on technology infrastructure spending and the E-Rate program taking care of school connectivity needs, it is clear that the bulk of the Title IV-A edtech money is intended for technology professional development activities. The reason for this, according to the USDE guidance, is that “for technology to be truly transformative, educators need to have the knowledge and skills to take full advantage of technology-rich learning environments.”
The Office of Educational Technology is engaged in several ongoing, statewide projects that districts can integrate into their funding proposals. Each of these initiatives support aspects of the New Hampshire key values for education and the Future Ready Schools framework.
Gen YES New Hampshire
Generation YES New Hampshire is a statewide initiative that seeks to promote and recruit schools in New Hampshire that want to establish Gen YES chapters. The Generation YES organization is based on 21 years of research and provides an up to date online curriculum and resources to NH Gen YES Chapter schools through the statewide consortium. Gen YES uses a student-centered model where youth aged from 10 to 18 provide substantial technology integration support to faculty and administrators.
Participation involves a one time, discounted for NH, start up fee, that includes training, and an annual moderate subscription fee. School projects that develop Gen YES Chapters qualify for funding under ESSA Titles I, II, III, and IV.
Speak Up New Hampshire
The Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, a national initiative of Project Tomorrow, is both a national research project and a free service to schools and districts everywhere. Since fall 2003, Speak Up has helped education leaders include the voices of their stakeholders in annual and long-term planning. More than 5 million participants have made Speak Up the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, schools of the future, science and math instruction, professional development and career exploration. National-level reports inform policymakers at all levels. Participating in the annual Speak Up Survey is a way for districts to learn what students, educators, parents and the community have to say about education issues. The research data collected by Project Tomorrow is owned by the district and is returned to district contacts annually for use. Speak Up provides an easy way for students, parents and educators to participate in your local decisions about technology, as well as contribute to the state and national dialogue about educational technology.
Participation in Speak Up is free to all schools.
Future Ready Schools
By signing the Future Ready pledge, district leadership teams will be offered the opportunity to utilize The Hub, participate in events, learn about additional activities offered by our partners, and get free access to the interactive planning dashboard. Once the pledge is formally taken by the Superintendent, Future Ready Schools will support district and school leadership in planning and implementing research-based personalized learning that ensures students will graduate with the skills necessary to meet their future goals. Districts can leverage the Future Ready resources, strategies, and action planning for district and school transformation through the use of Future Ready programs for district leadership, principals, technology leaders, instructional coaches, librarians, and those looking for high school improvement assistance.
An essential component to becoming Future Ready, is making a systemic digital learning plan before purchasing the next round of technology. The Interactive Planning Dashboard aligns research-based strategies and practitioner-tested techniques with each district’s specific needs, allowing school district leaders to create systemic action plans for student-centered, personalized learning before purchasing additional technology—ensuring a much smoother implementation. Through the dashboard, district teams follow a 5 step collaborative planning process to develop a digital learning implementation plan, full of research-based strategies, including stakeholder input, local context, and district team leadership responsibilities.
Participation in the Future Ready Schools program is free to districts, but the activities necessary for implementing the digital learning plan developed, can be the basis for funding proposals through ESSA.
Student Digital Portfolios
The ICT Literacy Standards, part of the Minimum Standards for School Approval, require that all schools have a coherent ICT program that integrates technology into all content areas. Furthermore, all K-8 students must be involved in the process of developing digital portfolios that demonstrate their competency in ICT Literacy. Students must be assessed competent in ICT Literacy by the end of eighth grade in order to continue on with their high school ICT program (Ed 306.42). While Ed 306.42 uses categories based on the 1997 version of the ISTE Standards, current guidance recommends using the 2016 updated version of the ISTE Standards for Students instead. A crosswalk between the three iterations of the ISTE Standards is provided in the Appendix. Projects which bolster integrating digital tools and resources into all content areas, provide opportunities for students to create digital artifacts that they can use in their digital portfolios. Proposal projects can also include the update or expansion of their student digital portfolio program, along with professional development that supports it.
Acquisition of Digital Tools and Resources
The Office of Educational Technology has statewide consortium pilot and pricing partnerships with several educational technology companies that provide digital tools and resources to schools and districts. These programs normally offer free services for a limited time, followed by discounted rates for continuation of services following the free pilot period. Statewide partnerships that offer free pilots and/or discounts include Adobe, Classcraft, NBC Learn, Streamable Learning, TeacherCoach, and VitalInsight. Trimble offers SketchUp and Esri offers ArcGIS software for free use by students, and the Habit of Mind Evidence Based Practice Initiative offers access to EBSCO educational resources. For more information and details, consult the Partnerships and Projects page on NHEON.org.
Likewise, the New Hampshire Society for Technology in Education offers discounts on purchasing of a wide variety of digital tools and resources through their Software Purchasing Program. ClassLink, Eduporium, Explore Learning, Fablevision, Inq-ITS, Kajeet, myON, Papercut, and Securly are a few examples of the discounts offered through the NHSTE Software Purchasing Program. For more information and details, consult the Software Purchasing Program page on NHSTE.org.
Here are a few more options and ideas for spending Title IV-A money of professional development activities drawn from the US Department of Education guidance:
· Must be part of school and district strategies, activities and for capacity-building, and other activities directly related to edtech
· Should be sustained (not short-term programs or workshops), intensive collaborative, job embedded, data-driven and classroom focused.
New Hampshire Educators Online http://nheon.org
Nh e-Learning for Educators / OPEN NH http://www.opennh.org
Future Ready Schools Framework http://futureready.org/about-the-effort/framework/
Future Ready District Self Assessment Tool https://dashboard.futurereadyschools.org/uploads/media/default/0001/01/9c280b79595b2cf58d0142af126c9485a9911c28.pdf
Future Ready Schools New Hampshire http://nheon.org/futureready/index.html
Generation YES New Hampshire Initiative http://nheon.org/genyes/index.html
ICT Literacy Toolkit http://nheon.org/ictliteracy/
ISTE Standards http://www.iste.org/standards
Minimum Standards for School Approval http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/state_agencies/ed300.html
National Educational Technology Plan 2017: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education https://tech.ed.gov/files/2017/01/NETP17.pdf
Navigating the Digital Shift II Implementing Digital Instructional Materials for Learning http://www.setda.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Navigating_the_shiftII_final_June242017.pdf
NH Consolidated ESSA Plan https://www.education.nh.gov/essa/documents/state-plan.pdf
NHDOE Every Student Succeeds Act Information https://www.education.nh.gov/essa/index.htm
NHEON Partnerships and Projects http://www.nheon.org/nh_projects/
NHSTE Software Purchasing Program http://nhste.org/software
Open Educational Resources Commons https://www.oercommons.org/
#GoOpen New Hampshire Open Educational Resources http://nheon.org/GoOpen/index.html
State Educational Technology Directors Association Resources http://setdamultisite.staging.wpengine.com/resources/