Kentucky Digital Learning Guidelines - Published in February 2014, the Kentucky Digital Learning Guidelines have been designed to support schools, districts and digital providers in selecting or creating appropriate digital resources for instruction as well as online and blended learning courses. The guidelines are comprised of Guiding Principles and include categories for course content, digital pedagogy, technology readiness, leadership and governance, assessment system, and continuous improvement planning. Visit KDE's Digital Learning area for more information.
National Education Technology Plan - The U.S. Department of Education provides recommendations for states to enhance the learning environment by recognizing and leveraging the power of recent as well as emerging technological advances.
Kentucky is in sync with the five recommendations within the National Education Technology Plan:
- Learning: Engage and Empower - All learners will have engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and out of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable and ethical participants in our globally networked society.
- Assessment: Measure What Matters – Our education system at all levels will leverage the power of technology to measure what matters and use assessment data for continuous improvement.
- Teaching: Prepare And Connect - Professional educators will be supported individually and in teams by technology that connects them to data, content, resources, expertise, and learning experiences that enable and inspire more effective teaching for all learners.
- Infrastructure: Access and Enable - All students and educators will have access to a comprehensive infrastructure for learning when and where they need it.
- Productivity: Redesign and Transform - Our education system at all levels will redesign processes and structures to take advantage of the power of technology to improve learning outcomes while making more efficient use of time, money and staff.
Digital Learning 2020 - In December 2011,OpenEd Solutions presented to the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) a report titled Digital Learning 2020. It outlines 11 recommendations related to various aspects of digital learning. Closely aligned with Breaking New Ground: The Final Report of the Governor’s Task Force on Transforming Education in Kentucky (BNG) and considering the 10 Elements of the Digital Learning Now report (DLN), the following recommendations build on the interviews, summit discussions, and the Strengths, Weaknesses,
- All students should be eligible for digital learning. Eligibility for full and part time learning options is key to a number of BNG recommendations including advanced courses, world languages, and special needs, credit recovery and dual credit.
- Authorize multiple statewide online learning providers to expand full and part time options. Like recommendation #1, a multiple providers environment fulfills the BNG vision.
- Allow students to personalize their learning.
- Support customized learning pilots.
- Support competency-based learning pilots.
- Plan for shift to online instructional materials by 2013-14.
- Support the shift to blended instruction Assessment and Accountability (DLN 8, BNG 8).
- Plan for online assessment by 2013-14.
- Create a statewide online/blended learning authorizer/contractor.
- Develop a fractional and performance-based funding model.
- Create a program management office and fund the transition.
The report also outlined several strengths and weaknesses in Kentucky, and those can be seen in their entirety by clicking on the report link above.
Breaking New Ground - This report is the result of a 34-member task force, directed by Governor Beshear in 2009 to help develop new strategies to ensure Kentucky has the curriculum, teachers, standards, organization and structure in place to prepare children for the 21st century while reinvigorating public and business support for education in the Commonwealth. Of particular interest is Action Area 6: Better Use of Technology to Improve Teaching and Learning.
- Recommendation 6A:
The KBE should develop and implement policy to enhance and expand the opportunities for virtual and blended learning, including dual-credit policies and funding options to ensure a robust online learning environment for Kentucky and adequate per-pupil funding for online courses that provides equity of access to students across the Commonwealth.
- Recommendation 6B:
KDE, EPSB, local districts, colleges of education and institutions of higher education should increase the use of technology in all classrooms and incorporate the use of technology in professional development and teacher preparation to ensure the effective use of technology to improve teacher and student learning at all levels.
- Recommendation 6C:
The KBE should develop/adopt state standards for quality of online and blended courses.
- Recommendation 6D:
The KBE should develop flexible policies that encourage innovation and allow students to meet course requirements through personalized, performance-based, anywhere/anytime learning.
- Recommendation 6E:
Schools should use adaptive technology and universal design to improve learning for all students, including those with special needs.
KETS Master Plans – These documents provide a background and history of KETS, the relationship between strategic planning at all levels, a summary of trends in education technology, and the critical links between governance and the implementation of technology in Kentucky.
Where We Are Headed
Implementation of the projects and initiatives described in the Master Plan will deliver many benefits to teachers and students. These benefits will be incremental over time, collectively coming together to assist teachers and students to advance educational achievement.
The impact of the Master Plan will be demonstrated in developments and improvements such as:
- Greater and more meaningful interaction between family, school and community
- Expand parental access to school, administration and teachers.
- Remove time, place and distance barriers to teacher, student and parent communication
- Expand student access to instructional resources and tools outside the regular school hours locations.
- Improved student learning and preparedness for higher education, the military and the workforce
- Increase thinking and problem-solving skills by analyzing information with technology tools.
- Address differentiated learning styles through the delivery of video, voice and written content.
- Develop communication skills through writing, verbal interactions and the exchange of information with students at other sites.
- Provide access to rich instructional content.
- Develop basic skills and concepts through simulations and computer-assisted instruction.
- Make instructional content available to expand students research and information-processing skills.
- Student awareness of a multi-cultural world view is enhanced through access and communication with students at other schools throughout the world.
- Encourage respect of rights of others and ethical issues in using school technology assets.
- Increased teacher productivity
- improved effectiveness and efficiency of instruction, curriculum development, school organization and operation
- improved communication among teachers, parents, and students
- computer-managed instructional delivery system
- improved special education management
- reduced teacher paperwork
- encourage and support joint curriculum development and sharing
- improved capacity to individualize instruction and to monitor assessment
- Enhanced communications
- immediate availability of memos, letters, bulletins, reports and documents
- improved communications between buildings, school districts, libraries and KDE
- enhanced calendaring and scheduling to assist coordination of personnel, building and district resources
- creation of "electronic communities" facilitated
- Strategic decision-making
- Accuracy and timeliness of information is improved.
- Costs are reduced and accuracy improved from centralized data.
- Data collection becomes a by-product of daily processing activities.
Required reports are automatically generated from the database.
- Data retrieval is simple and available in multiple formats, providing flexible access.
- Data is maintained and stored electronically and printed only when required.
- Required data can be reported electronically to state- or federal-level entities.
- A robust infrastructure
- School buildings, educational centers, libraries and statewide education networks are interconnected.
- Stationary or mobile access to instructional tools is provided where appropriate.
- Access to video, voice and text instructional and administrative content is provided.
- Standards and protocols are provided.
- Current and timely information for decision-making is provided.
- Information sharing is quick and easy.
The Master Plan brings forth projects and initiatives that reflect common characteristics. Constituents such as teachers, students, district leaders and the business community identified the need for the following major areas of emphasis:
- Anytime, Anywhere, Always-On, Differentiated Teaching and Learning
- Capacity Building and Enhancement of Staff and Resources
- Data-Driven Decision-Making for Teachers and Administrators
- Efficiency and Governance
Anytime, Anywhere, Always-On, Differentiated Teaching and Learning
One of the most significant advances in education during the past few years has been the concept of anytime, anywhere, always-on learning. This concept is revolutionary, fundamentally changing the way students, teachers, parents and administrators interact with the state’s educational program.
The main premise of anytime, anywhere, always-on learning is that learning is not confined to the classroom and can continue regardless of the time of day, the physical location of the students, teachers, staff or the subject matter being studied. This flexibility creates a “child-centered” learning experience. Students can access course material and independent research or take distance-learning courses if a particular subject is not available at their local schools. Teachers can access grading and attendance systems outside of the classroom and prepare lessons remotely. Parents can view their children’s homework, schedules and grades using the Internet. All parties can communicate effortlessly using education technology such as e-mail.
It is this concept that fundamentally changes the education experience by aligning it to that of highly productive organizations such as business or the military. In short, anytime, anywhere, always-on learning allows educators to be extremely productive and effective in helping students reach their true potential.
However, the concept requires a solid educational technology platform. In order for the students, teachers, parents and administrators to participate fully, they must have access to the proper educational technology tools. The educational technology infrastructure within Kentucky must be robust and contain certain educational technology components.
The most visible component of the education technology program is a student instructional device or workstation. It can be a desktop computer, a laptop computer or some type of mobile learning device. Districts are encouraged to pursue lower workstation-to-student ratios. Lower ratios provide ease of access to all parts of the curriculum in the classroom and at home. The ideal standard includes one workstation for every secondary student and one workstation for every three elementary students.
However, this is a very challenging target, given the costs of purchasing, sustaining and maintaining such a large number of workstations. Most districts choosing to pursue this goal will utilize different strategies and approaches. Some districts may choose to include personally-owned devices as an option to lower the workstation-to-student or -teacher ratio. This becomes more attractive and feasible as the devices get smaller, more powerful and less expensive.
In addition to the ideal of a 1:1 student-to-workstation ratio, Kentucky’s goal is to have mobile workstations connected wirelessly to the Internet with high-speed connections. A wireless foundation will allow students to utilize their laptops and other mobile devices to continue their studies, free of the constraints of time and place. Students would have continuous access to not only their documents and course materials, but could easily transport that material back and forth from the classroom to their homes. It is expected that mobile learning devices that use electronic text will eventually replace textbooks, placing even more importance on a wireless environment.
The movement toward a 1:1 workstation ratio combined with the proliferation of wireless connectivity goes a long way toward supporting the concept of anytime, anywhere, always-on learning. However, as educational technology changes the way that students learn, we must ensure that the same educational technology does not bring disadvantages to certain student populations. Parity must be a high-priority consideration. If certain students are able to access course material from home today using a family computer while others cannot, parity no longer exists. Computer and Internet access within public schools must figure prominently in the state’s attempt to protect its young people from being held back because of the “digital divide.” In fact, it is becoming generally accepted that access to information technology directly supports economic success.
While parity has always been difficult to attain, it was more easily addressed in an environment where all students use textbooks. All students can be given books that they access all of the time. While parity should not be used as an excuse to stop investing in educational technology, those investments should be distributed in such a way that will assist those who are less fortunate. One idea has been to create a content delivery fund, which would eventually cover the purchase of laptops, tablets or e-readers for all students rather than funding the textbooks themselves. The text would then be electronically delivered to the devices at a far lower cost than printing new textbooks. This is an effective way to address some of the current challenges we face while trying to achieve a 1:1 workstation-to-student ratio.
The marketplace is full of wireless products, such as cell phones, mobile devices and other innovative devices. Students, in particular, have embraced these products. Some students have shown an interest in using iPods, for example, to access lectures and other course materials. The educational leadership within Kentucky believes that these tools can become valuable for students in a monitored environment. Personal devices are a classroom management issue, and KDE recognizes that these devices continue to make their way into schools at an increasing rate.
Schools that pursue “intelligent classroom” design with electronic boards and projectors, mobile devices, wireless access and a low workstation-to-student ratio shall consider the following from a facilities perspective:
Even in a wireless environment, there may still be a need for wire in the classroom. For example, projectors, electronic boards, classroom printers and telephones are traditionally connected via wire. A wire usually connects the wireless access hubs to the local area network.
It is very possible that schools will need to significantly increase their power capacity to handle the new technology. Administrators of new schools should assume that they will move to this environment during the life of the school.
The number of wireless access points required for student workstations will depend on the school architecture. Some schools may need as many as one access point per classroom.
The physical space required for classrooms and other instructional areas will be determined by whether the school implements a laptop or mobile device approach and how aggressively the school pursues a lower workstation-to-student ratio.
Strong consideration should be given to using servers to cache and distribute video to classrooms for more efficient use of network resources. Fully implementing a KET
EncycloMedia type of technology adds the benefits of indexing and ease of access by students and teachers.
An expected steep growth in the use of wireless personal communication devices over the next decade will probably require a policy change that allows these devices to be used in school. Teachers and students may begin to use these devices for educational activities as well as for voice communications. Voice communications over the network (Voice Over IP) is also expected to have a great impact on district communications.
An electronic board/projector can substitute for a television in the classroom.
Schools and teachers will want to consider including handheld voting devices as part of their electronic board and projector purchases.
An improvement in the maturity of voice recognition software will lead schools to examine classroom layout and design for improved sound management. It will become more common for students to interact with their instructional device using voice commands rather than typing.
The Internet and desktop conferencing will cause classrooms to move toward more advanced sound systems. The quality of their educational experiences will be enhanced with capabilities beyond that of a speakerphone.
Capacity Building: Enhancement of Staff and Resources
Beginning in 1992, when previous versions of the Master Plan focused on increasing the number of workstations and building the technology infrastructure, students benefited greatly. Program funding was largely devoted to the initial purchase of technology components, the hardware and systems were new, and the ongoing maintenance costs were relatively low. However, over the past few years, funding for education technology has decreased, the infrastructure has aged significantly, and costs for maintenance and upkeep have increase.
The usefulness of the educational technology infrastructure decreases when it is not kept up-to-date. When funding decreases, schools choose to continue using outdated equipment, following a “something is better than nothing” approach. Inventories indicate the number of workstations remains high, but the figures are misleading. Old workstations are often incapable of running modern applications or providing students with acceptable access to current instructional resources. What is truly important is that the students have access to modern and useable educational technology.
When making significant new investments in technology, total cost of ownership including support, maintenance and replacement costs must be considered in addition to initial purchase costs. For example, the total cost to purchase a workstation must include the cost of the workstation; the cost to license the software it runs; the cost for the technicians who are on stand-by to fix problems; and the expected cost of replacing the workstation in five years when it is obsolete. Schools and districts will only derive the full benefit of the workstations when these costs are planned for and managed.
Skilled and talented technical staff are required to operate, maintain and plan for technology in schools. In many Kentucky communities, schools have the most advanced and sophisticated technology in the area. The success of new and existing education initiatives will require adequate numbers of properly trained people to operate and maintain them long after they are implemented. Multiple in-house or outsourced technicians are required to sustain state and district-level hardware and services for schools.
School-based support includes installation and configuration of workstations and applications; operation, repair and maintenance of workstations and servers; and troubleshooting and security. These tasks are only a few of the ones that local support staff focus on every day. Their dedication and work ethic enable teachers and students to access the educational technology that is an essential component of their education.
- Technical Resource Teachers (TRT) and Technology Integration Specialists (TIS)
The TRT and TIS work with teachers, administrators, staff and students to enhance instruction through the use of technology in the classroom. The TRT and TIS train teachers to use technology and electronic software effectively, through in-class instruction and hands-on exercises. Their understanding of the curriculum allows them to collaborate effectively with teachers and support them in their educational goals of student proficiency.
The TRT and TIS also are capable of assisting with concepts such as classroom management of educational technology, participation in the selection of educational software and assisting students with technology-related activities or projects.
There is an important distinction between technical support staff and TRT or TIS. Technical support staff possess technical skills and certifications but are not necessarily familiar with curriculum or instruction. TRT and TIS staff provide leadership and vision in the use of technology to support the learning and education process.
The recommended number of staff to support and operate various technology components must be determined on a district-by-district basis.
The one-on-one and small-group nature of the TRT and TIS programs makes them core components of a high-quality professional development program. However, they must be augmented due to the high cost. It is just too expensive to use at the exclusion of other professional development experiences.
KETS Engineers are the field-based technology leaders of the Office of KIDS. They serve as the primary points of contact for customer relationship and resource management for all school districts as well as KDE. They support the instructional, administrative and planning efforts of school districts through direct, face-to-face work with district leadership and district technical staff. They provide invaluable benefits, and their current mission and numbers should be maintained.
- Office of Knowledge, Information and Data Services (KIDS)
Providing educational technology across an entire state is a complex undertaking. It requires leadership and a long-term vision that considers both improved teaching and learning through the appropriate use of technology, the efficient and cost-effective use of shared services, and improved statewide educational technology equity.
The provision of shared services is based on the proven concept that combining need and leveraging that need will reduce costs and provide improved service levels. In addition to these benefits, the central delivery of these services reduces administrative costs over time. For instance, the total cost to the education technology program for the Help Desk would be about 10 to 15 times more if each district contracted for those services independently. In fact, some districts, because of their geographical locations, would simply not be able to find a responsive vendor, and the schools would lose the service entirely. The same can be said for engineering and instructional consulting services that are provided on a regional basis to the districts from the state level and for related services that may be provided from the district to the schools.
KIDS brings its resources together with school and district educational technology providers to complement their hard work and determination with KIDS’ educational technology vision.
- Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP)
The mission of STLP is to advance individual student capabilities, to motivate participating students to learn and to create leadership opportunities using technology. STLP provides students with marketable technology skills and experiences. It prepares them for the workforce as they address their schools’ technology support needs and empowers students to use technology to learn and achieve.
Schools may choose to use STLP for some of their technology support, but a large amount of adult operations and maintenance talent is required to lead these services for the schools and districts.
Data-Driven Decision-Making for Teachers and Administrators
In the Master Plan, recognizing data as a strategic educational asset remains a top priority. As demonstrated in previous plans, KDE initially recognized this fact early in the life of the KETS program. The 1992 Master Plan called for a decision support system to assist the management and evaluation of the public education system in Kentucky. The Statewide Reporting and Information Management (SRIM) System, with an enterprise data model depicting the data collected and shared within the public education system, was constructed.
Today, the demand for access to data to improve decision-making and instruction at the federal, state and local levels continues. The principles of data management in the P-12 educational environment, originally introduced in previous versions of the Master Plan, remain pertinent and applicable today.
For emphasis and reiteration, these principles are intentionally repeated:
- Data is a strategic enterprise asset and will be managed as such.
- Enterprise-wide processes will be developed to move data collection and validation to the source and reduce duplication and redundancy.
- Data will be moved and made available electronically.
- Stewardship and ownership of the various data will be explicitly identified.
- Data owners will establish procedures and processes that articulate the circumstances under which data will be collected, validated or purged.
- Common data definitions will be established as standards.
- KDE will differentiate data from “records” in the context of public records management. The department will review and update its procedures for managing public records in electronic format.
- Data reporting to support compliance and assurance with state and federal program requirements will be consolidated.
- Security and authentication policies will be associated with each aspect of the enterprise data model.
- Privacy will be protected.
- Policy-worthy information will be available for decision support.
- The decision support needs of the Kentucky Board of Education and others will continue to be analyzed. Priority will be placed on supporting the information requirements of the board within the context of current board priorities.
- Standards will be defined for data collection and end-user reporting tools.
- Data from disparate systems will be combined in a common repository or data warehouse.
- Those who provide data to the enterprise data management system will be able to use the data management system for their decision support needs.
While the concept of a centralized data repository is essential to the enterprise data management system, it should be clear that the intention is not to collect all data into a single repository. Only the data that is essential will be held in the repository.
Efficiency and Governance
The Master Plan addresses the recommendations of stakeholders including teachers, principals, students, parents, business leaders and policymakers in the areas of efficiency and governance.
- Teachers, students and administrators are hampered in their use of educational technology by older equipment and narrow bandwidth.
- Schools and districts want to participate in key educational technology decisions. This participation will lead to optimal educational technology funding decisions and execution. KDE will utilize a collaborative and participatory style of governance.
- With the size and number of new initiatives, a necessity for success will be coordination and collaboration between KDE program offices, school, district, state and vendors.
- Educational technology service delivery must equitably address districts’ varied service expectations and the lack of adequate funding.
- P-12 education has multiple educational technology providers that define, support and implement educational technology initiatives. While they provide many valuable benefits, these groups should focus on developing a coordinated and collaborative approach.
- School, district and state technology providers must provide a unified approach in the management and delivery of educational technology capabilities.
The initiatives that have been included in this Master Plan address, in part, the following summary-level recommendations.
- Review and revise the process to ensure effective representation in technology decision-making. Provide schools and districts with the opportunity to offer their input and to voice their needs conveniently and consistently.
- Create a unified “voice of education technology” that enables the multiple educational technology providers across schools, districts and state agencies to better serve the students, teachers and educational staff throughout the state.
- Establish a process to coordinate and collaborate on statewide core technology areas to enable strategic education initiatives. These areas include statewide enterprise applications, workstations/instructional devices, high-speed Internet connectivity, learning and teaching programs, security, policies and change management.
- Adopt and deploy a differentiated service delivery model by providing a core set of services tailored to groups of districts with similar characteristics. This will ensure that the educational technology services more closely align with district expectations.
- Leverage all available funding options to upgrade obsolete educational technology and communications infrastructure.
The overall framework for technology assessment and strategic planning is shown below. The framework addresses both the supply and demand sides of managing technology resources using an education-focused approach:
- The education plan is the foundation, and it shapes the overall structure of the technology strategic plan.
- This master plan describes the technology strategic imperatives or those things that technology must do in order to enable education.
- The enterprise architecture is the vehicle through which many of the technology products and services are delivered, when combined with the available supply of technology goods and services.
- Technology management activities are the management processes used to short up this entire foundation – they are used by the technology organization to provide the governance, skills and structure needed to enable the organization to deliver technology services effectively.
- Technology demand refers to the requests from the organization for technology services, and technology supply refers to the people, technology and financial resources available to satisfy that demand. The approach to strategic technology planning crosses all these areas.
KETS Perspective on Education Technology
KETS uses the K-12 Technology Framework to describe a best practice approach to understanding and deploying technology to support the P-12 environment. Within this framework, departments of technology focus on three areas – administrative systems, curriculum and instructional support systems and communications and delivery capabilities.
- The administrative systems are the business and administrative functions, such as the student information systems and integrated financial and human resources systems.
- Communication and delivery capabilities focus on the infrastructure elements that enable the technology – telephony and video, maintenance, Help Desk, local and wide area networks, desktop solutions and more.
- Curriculum and instructional support are at the core of the mission of the school district. They support instruction and curriculum areas and include technologies that support shared academic standards, curriculum alignment, lesson plans, grade books, test creation and history.
Within this broad framework, the technology organization is responding to the needs of a variety of stakeholders, including central staff, administrators, teachers and school staff, students and parents, federal and state government agencies and other public stakeholders. These interactions are shown in the following.
KETS P-12 Technology Organization Interactions
The following figure illustrates the relationship of the technology organization to the educational enterprise as a whole. It shows how these three technology operations (administrative systems, curriculum support and delivery capabilities) are tied together through the enterprise architecture.
Recognizing and Communicating the Value of Technology in Education
Many organizations are challenged to convey the educational value of technology initiatives to gain support and approval of the organization, and K-12 environments are no different.
For K-12, this is a multi-faceted issue, given the traditional dispersion of education technology throughout the organization. The diagram below highlights the IS Credibility Curve and the tools needed to improve education technology’s credibility.
In the Education Technology Services Credibility Curve, the credibility of education technology organizations accrues in stages, with each stage depending on programs and practices learned at previous stages and each state potentially increasing business’s overall economic value of education technology.
At Stage 1, Education Technology Services Providers are inconsistent and unknown. They do not meet commitments, they make meaningless promises, and they seem impenetrable to the people they serve. At Stage 2, they get their arms around baseline performance and begin to add consistency to operations, services and policies. Educational customers may remain skeptical, however. Stage 3 introduces professionalism to the picture as Education Technology Services Providers establish processes for responding to education needs and requests and increase education awareness of capabilities. At Stage 4, Education Technology Services Providers define effective processes for planning, architecture, project management, funding, sourcing and competency development. Educational organizations actively engage in joint planning and measurement. Finally, in Stage 5, leaders actively seek advice, counsel and innovation from Education Technology Services Providers, which have gained the respect of their customers.
Education Technology Services must master practices, programs and alliances that will elevate them from just technology focused to robust educational centers. The higher the Education Technology Services Credibility, the higher the educational value of education technology.
As a result of the gap analysis, the Master Plan has identified a number of initiatives designed to enable the organization to improve the maturity of the education technology function, focusing on education technology providers in the state agency and at the district level.
- Institute a robust governance model.
- Implement application and project portfolio management.
- Evaluate the organizational structure and enhance governance.
- Plan and execute communications.
- Implement service-level management capability.
- Establish alternative funding models.
Governance can be described as the way that groups of people or organizations make decisions. In Kentucky, providing education to children involves the participation of local schools, school districts and the various state agencies. All are interested in ensuring that students receive the best possible instruction, and each level has certain responsibilities to the student. For instance, local schools are responsible for, among other things, directly providing instruction in the classroom. The schools’ challenges and goals have always been unique when compared to those of the state-level agencies. Although school goals usually are aligned with state goals, school-level goals are unique and must be recognized.
Education Technology Governance Recommendations Three Components of Governance Structure
One of the goals of all levels of education within Kentucky is to ensure that each level has input into the decision-making process. This is necessary in order for informed and optimal decisions to be made. It is extremely difficult to make the best educational decisions for the children of Kentucky unless a well thought-out governance structure is in place.
The governance initiative will involve a review of many items including:
- The best method for schools and districts to effectively voice the educational goals and challenges that are important to them.
- The most appropriate people to be directly involved in the decision-making process.
- The people or groups of people who are responsible for making certain decisions.
- The ideal process by which decisions are made and communicated to all those who are involved.
Ultimately, the goal of proper governance in educational technology is to ensure that those who are affected by decisions have a chance to contribute their input, understand who will be making the decisions and have visibility into the way that decisions are made.
Governance reduces complexity in many important ways:
- It clarifies who has input and decision rights in any given decision.
- It reduces the importance of politics in decision making, and increases the importance of clearly defined and weighted criteria.
- It provides a forum for open debate of priorities and initiatives.
- It increases the weight of final decisions making it easier to deal with dissenters.
This will result in better decisions being made that will ultimately help students in the state excel. That is how this initiative fits with the common goals of education providers in Kentucky.
Organizational Structure Evaluation
The goal of this initiative is to better organize the schools, districts and state agencies so that educational technology can be provided to the students in the best way.
At this time, there are many educational technology providers who create, deliver and support educational technology, and this can often confuse people in the schools and districts. People need to know whom to ask when they have a question or problem, and different groups who help with educational technology do not always understand what the other groups are doing.
There are different types of educational technology organization types. This initiative is to meant to analyze the different organizational models to understand the best structure with which to move forward.
Although organizational structure can either help or harm the way schools and districts use educational technology, it is not the only factor to consider. There is no one right structure. What is important in understanding what the schools, districts and state agencies really need.
For example, all education technology organizations serve similar purposes and have similar accountabilities, but their personality profiles, management systems, processes, constraints, strengths and weaknesses make each education technology organization unique. There are, however, certain best practices and attributes for ensuring an optimized education technology organizational structure, which derive from evolving educational paradigms.
Integrate Technology into Core Education Mission Activities
Research has shown that the greatest return on investment in education technologies occurs when organizations ensure their investments are aligned with the strategy and mission of the organizations. Historically, education technology investments are categorized into one of three types of investments, each leading to an increasing level of value to the organization, as shown in the following figure:
Value of Education Technology Investments
- The infrastructure investments focus on the technology components needed to enable effective use of technology throughout the organization. They include, but are not limited to, applications and technologies such as e-mail, communications and networking, computing workstations, printers, servers and data centers.
- Transactional investments provide technology applications that automate the administrative processes, including financial, human resources and student administrative applications. They typically offer educational productivity improvement and offer opportunities for individuals to carry out the work of education more efficiently and effectively, thereby improving the organization’s internal performance.
- Transformational investments provide capabilities that are mission-oriented. They directly support those activities critical to the mission of education. They typically offer opportunities to collaborate in new ways and foster innovation for the organization, changing the way it achieves its mission. Transformational investments may provide informational capabilities not previously available (such as ability to access, report, manipulate and trend) or strategic capabilities, both customer-oriented and external in nature.
While the infrastructural investments are clearly needed to enable the more strategic activities, it is usually difficult to demonstrate the linkage between the pure infrastructure investments and the mission-oriented, transformative investments.
In many organizations, the technology evolves so that the infrastructure provides the foundation, transactional education technology solutions are deployed, and as organizations become accustomed to the capabilities provided, they identify needs for new information and strategic solutions that would help them be more competitive or achieve the mission of the organization more easily. As new capabilities are deployed, they become part of the infrastructure being managed.
As represented in the Technology Master Plan, KDE and districts must be positioned to focus on both an infrastructure and mission-oriented solutions. This is evidenced by the increasing requirements for strategic investments in online assessment, the next generation of the Internet, strategic data systems, instructional aids and professional development. This has resulted in the following recommendations and initiatives for KDE:
Execute core education technology strategies to enable business capabilities.
- education data warehouse and education business intelligence
- enterprise content management
- capacity planning
- enterprise architecture
Implement key educational driven technology strategic initiatives
The 2013-2018 Master Plan builds upon the previous Technology Integration Building Blocks for K-12. While the previous building blocks were and are still important, this master plan has continued to move along the arrow where technology is now very integrated within the educational culture to the point that it is a key tool to enhancing the learning experience and helping Kentucky meet the goals of its educational plan (e.g., Unbridled Learning).
KETS P-12 Technology Organization Interactions
The Gartner Group is considered the consumer reports of the technology industry. Their findings of KETS and best practice recommendations are still applicable going forward over the next 6 years. Enhancing Education Through Technology
- Volume I of the State Strategies and Practices of Educational Technology. The primary goal of this program is to improve student achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools. Additional goals include helping all students become technologically literate by the end of the 8th grade and, through the integration of technology with both teacher training and curriculum development, establishing innovative, research-based instructional methods that can be widely implemented. Volume II can be found by
The Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship in Schools
- While immersed in a technology society, it is important that students develop and retain the good people skills that are important for every citizen to have. Districts that take the time to address these nine elements with their students and staff will avoid problems while they are at school as well as improving activities at home that might have an impact at school. KDE emphasizes and annually tracks each district’s progress in each of the nine elements, among many others. Federal technology funding has very recently become interested in these items.
- Digital Access: full electronic participation in society
Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods
Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information
Digital Literacy: process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology
Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure
Digital Law: electronic responsibility for actions and deeds
Digital Rights & Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world
Digital Health & Wellness: physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world
Digital Security (self-protection): electronic precautions to guarantee safety
Many Kentucky schools use these nine elements as the basis for a training course, the successful completion of which will result in a Digital Driver's License. This license ensures that the students are not only exposed to the nine elements, but understand why they are important and can apply them in their digital interactions.
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Master Plan index