Remote Instruction

New Report Guides States on Helping Deliver Digital Learning

How can states support their schools' efforts to deliver digital learning? That’s the topic of a new report from SETDA, the State Educational Technology Directors Association, an organization for technology leaders at state levels. The report defined digital learning as "any learning powered by technology," whether inside or outside of the classroom.

The report described several areas where states can play a big role in helping schools deliver digital learning, whether that's in the classroom, online or in a blended format, where some students are at school and others are at home.

  • By enacting annual state digital learning plans with details for providing short- and long-term remote learning;

  • By encouraging development of district digital learning plans;

  • By doing everything possible to ensure equitable access to devices and internet access;

  • By offering guidance on how to choose and implement digital content; and

  • By providing well-being support.

According to SETDA, the use of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds and state emergency response funds can help state education agencies, districts and schools develop plans and processes for supporting remote learning not just for emergency situations but also for long-term digital learning initiatives.

For example, states could set up statewide contracts or master contracts to support districts to more cost-effective implementation of digital tools resources and/or professional development. On the district side, they could participate in multi-district or regional consortia to help drive down costs. The areas where master contracts or consortia purchasing has already made an impact for some states and districts include the purchase of:

  • Digital devices and hotspots or monthly access fees;

  • Learning management systems, content management systems and resource repositories;

  • Support to implement data standards;

  • Digital content; and

  • Professional learning opportunities.

The 17-page "State Education Agency Considerations for CARES Act Funding as Related to Digital Learning" is openly available on the SETDA website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.