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Reactions to "Digital Learning Now"

Posted in Knerds on December 25, 2010 by

At the beginning of the month, the Digital Learning Council released “Digital Learning Now,” a document which outlines 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning and advocates for digital learning as the “catalyst for transformational change in education.”

The 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning, as outlined in the document, are:

1) Student Eligibility: All students are digital learners.

“…All students have a right to a high quality education. In the 21st century, a high quality education must include digital learning.”

2) Student Access: All students have access to high quality digital content and online courses.

“… Where technology has created unprecedented access to a high quality education, policies that limit or control access threaten to build virtual barriers where the walls have already come down.”

3) Personalized Learning: All students can customize their education using digital content through an approved provider.

“… Students can access digital learning virtually whenever and wherever they are — both physically and figuratively… With personalized learning, students can spend as much time or as little time as they need to master the material… Best of all, students can have blended learning.”

4) Advancement: Students progress based on demonstrated competency.

“…Digital learning offers the potential for students to study at their own pace and advance based upon competency and mastery of the material — it is student-centered, not school-centered.”

5) Content: Digital content, instructional materials, and online and blended learning courses are high quality.

“… States should abandon the lengthy textbook adoption process and embrace the flexibility offered by digital content… Transitioning to digital content will improve the quality of content, while likely saving money in production that can be dedicated to providing the infrastructure for digital learning.”

6) Instruction: Digital instruction and teachers are high quality.

“… Digital learning erases physical barriers that have prevented the widespread connection between effective teachers and eager students… Educators should be prepared for specific roles — traditional, blended, or online — and then certified based on demonstrated performance.”

7) Providers: All students have access to multiple high quality providers.

“… To maximize the potential of digital learning, states must provide a rich offering of providers that can cater to the diverse and distinctly unique needs of different students.”

8 ) Assessment and Accountability: Student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction.

“… Outcomes matter. States should hold schools and online providers accountable using student learning to evaluate the quality of content or instruction.”

9) Funding: Funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovation.

“…How money is spent is as important as how much money is spent on education. Funding should fuel achievement and innovation, not reward complacency and bureaucracy… To build a quality digital learning environment, states will have to spend smarter — not necessarily more.”

10) Delivery: Infrastructure supports digital learning.

“… Digital learning will also support educators in better identifying and meeting student needs by providing them real-time data on student performance, expanded access to resources to individualize instruction, and online learning communities to gain professional development support.”

Since the document as been out for a couple of weeks now, it’s had some time to marinate in the minds of educators and ed-tech bloggers. Here are just a few of the responses:

  • “Whether the council’s goals are realistic remains to be seen,” according to an article in Education Week.
  • Teacher input is lacking, according to John I. Wilson, the executive director of the National Education Association. Wilson was quoted in the Education Week article as saying that “with more teacher input for the report, ‘it would have come out very clearly that technology is not a teacher; technology is a tool that enhances the teaching process… You can tell there’s no teacher imprint in this document. I think that it’s a very corporate kind of document.’”
  • “There are many risks along the way, writes Michael Horn, but also “many reasons to be optimistic.” Horn says that “the big danger is that we simply layer technology over the traditional system, which would then co-opt it. That wouldn’t produce the shift we need. This is why focusing on quality at the level of each individual child…is so vital.”
  • “A massive upheaval of educational and forcing students to take online courses is neither necessary nor desired,” says Dominick Inglese on the ESL Examiner. “Rather, those who are naturally inclined to teach online courses and those who are willing to take those courses will emerge. Such persons should be given the opportunity to do so, as stipulated by Digital Learning Now.”
  • “American K-12 education is facing its ‘GM moment’ when it must do more with less,” writes Tom Vander Ark on the Huffington Post. Digital Learning Now offers a roadmap to meet the academic and financial challenges of the future.

What do you think of Digital Learning Now? Let us know in the comments!