Recommendations to achieve Equitable Access

Recommendations below focus on providing equitable access to technology for all students, learners, and educators across the state. This includes Internet connection speeds and infrastructure support that allows learning to occur anywhere and anytime. Access to high quality digital resources, virtual instruction, and technology-enhanced learning supported and aligned with the Common Core State Standards must be ubiquitous.
Pedagogy and Instruction
  1. Students
    1. All students should be able to learn from teachers who understand how to use technology to enhance learning.
    2. All students should have the opportunity take online and/or blended courses before graduating from high school.
    3. All students must have access to online collaborative media tools that support and enhance anywhere, anytime learning.
  2. Teachers
    1. All teachers should include in a personal development plan strategies for ongoing professional development in the use of technology to enhance learning for their students.
  3. Administrators
    1. All administrators should facilitate the use of technology as a tool to enhance learning for students, and support and promote its use in the classroom.
  4. Schools and Districts
    1. District policies and staffing allocations should support and promote digital learning.
    2. Schools must explore restructuring schedules, curriculum, and physical spaces to provide equitable access.
  5. Higher education institutions focused on educator preparation need to revise courses to support digital learning.
  6. DPI should organize and publicize a strategy for implementing and maintaining a statewide Professional Learning Commons designed to facilitate virtual professional learning networks, accessible for all stakeholders, on the statewide education portal.

Curriculum and Assessment
  1. Implement a digital portal that provides access to high quality curricular and assessment  resources and tools aligned to Wisconsin’s academic standards, including the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics.
  2. Focus content contained in the portal on open education resources or other low-cost resources as a means to providing equitable access for students, e.g., Thinkfinity, Badgerlink, UW Extension IDE@S, ECB content, WISTEM, Intel Teach, and Google Apps.
  3. Develop a statewide learning management system such as Moodle that allows educators to collaborate anytime, any place and to facilitate the open exchange of curricular and instructional resources.
  4. Disseminate the Technology Readiness Tool being developed to assist districts in the transition to the SMARTER Balanced Assessment system. The tool is one component of the initiative to establish infrastructure and content for common online assessments across states. Intended to launch in spring 2012, the tool will be developed using open source technology, allowing the consortia free access to the source code.

Professional Learning and Leadership
  1. Professional development must be customizable and flexible – not bound by district, school, or even within a CESA region. Leverage Web 2.0 technologies to establish virtual professional learning networks within a statewide educational resource portal.
  2. Use technology to enable flexibility into local master contracts to allow for efficiencies and effectiveness, (e.g., ELL testing to statewide audience, floating professional development hours.
  3. Actively engage Wisconsin partners in contributing learning object events within the virtual professional learning network components of the educational resource portal.

Data and Information Systems
  1. DPI should implement both the statewide data warehouse and dashboard system known as WISEdash and the statewide student information system.  These systems should be connected to each other so that every district has access to the same decision support tools.
  2. Create a statewide Moodle learning management system instance and connect it to the statewide student information system to provide a space for all stakeholders to exchange curricular and instructional resources.
  3. Establish a Wisconsin educator resource portal containing a statewide database repository of open education resource best practices.  Focus first on resources from Wisconsin agencies and organizations.
  4. Develop ways to publicize the learning management system and resource portal to key educational stakeholders and groups.  Effectiveness should be measured in terms of total network activity metrics.
  5. Continuously explore opportunities for statewide implementation of systems so that all districts are able to leverage the value provided by such software.  One such system to immediately explore as it facilitates the strategic goals of personalized learning and career and college readiness is an individual learner plan (ILP) system.

Policy and Procedures
  1. The State Superintendent will convene a group of stakeholders charged with an examination of Wisconsin laws affected by digital learning, The group will generate a specific set of recommended changes.  Issues for examination will include the following examples:
    1. Ensure all PK-12 public schools have wireless high-speed and affordable broadband Internet access.
    2. Allow digital content accessible to student and faculty-owned devices.
    3. Provide personal devices to students in need.
    4. Define a minimum and maximum number of approved online courses used to meet graduation requirements.
    5. Allow course completion and credit attainment throughout the calendar year.
    6. Define and provide for a statewide repository where resources are with the Wisconsin common core standards.
    7. Define mechanisms for review and approval of online courses and contracted providers.
    8. Define policies that provide for access and the rights of students, faculty, and parents.
    9. Define the school calendar year and other time-based requirements that facilitate access to digital learning.
    10. Define infrastructure policies that allow teachers to access multiple online resources.
    11. Promote policies that enable students, teachers, and parents to access education relevant uses of technology.
    12. Establish state level leadership partnerships to advance digital learning throughout Wisconsin which will involve school districts, state agencies, private sector businesses and organizations, higher education agencies, and other non-profit and community-based organizations.

Hardware and Infrastructure
  1. Establish “standards of access” for connectivity, both wireless and wired, and use these as benchmarks for all schools and libraries.
  2. Plan and allow for everybody to bring and use their own electronic devices.  Establish infrastructure that is adaptable and scalable.
  3. Access goes beyond the “school day” and “building.”  We must guarantee there exists both physically (e.g., computer labs, mobile devices) and virtually via cloud architecture (e.g., Google Apps, iTunes U) hardware and software infrastructure available 24/7/365.
  4. Create a simple method for schools and libraries to conduct “capacity planning” that enables  these entities to forecast their future needs including to plan and act upon those needs.
  5. Support the creation of virtual and physical library and learning environments where students can individually and collectively contribute to the world of knowledge..