Iowa’s Digital Learning Plan is the result of a collaborative effort between the Iowa Department of Education (Department), Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs), Local Education Agencies (LEAs), the American Institute for Research (AIR) and many stakeholders. A steering committee made up of AEA staff, Department consultants, and AIR consultants guided this work and contributed to the development of the plan. The steering committee worked with an advisory committee made up of members from local school districts, higher education, Department consultants and business partners to gather input and content for the plan.
When we say “digital learning,” we are referring to learning that is supported by digital tools and resources. Examples of digital learning include:
- online learning,
- blended learning,
- adaptive assessment solutions and
- open educational resources.
The focus of digital learning begins and ends with the learning experience of the student. That experience starts with the instructional practices a teacher uses in the classroom. Digital tools and resources should be a part of the tools available to teachers to support their instructional practice.
As Michael Fullan (2017) eloquently stated, “Pedagogy is the driver and technology is the accelerator. A teacher’s instructional practices are enhanced and learning is transformed when digital learning is used to support, or accelerate, those practices.”
The Digital Learning Plan has five major sections:
- Teaching with Technology
- Engaging and Empowering Learning through Technology
The goal of the Digital Learning Plan is to provide a vision for what digital learning could look like in Iowa. The hope is to bridge the gap that exists between islands of excellence around the state. Through the stories and resources provided, a vision will be created for what digital learning could look like if fully implemented. Interested educators could draw upon the plan to develop a picture of the desired state for their own classrooms or schools.
The effective use of digital learning will help districts address the Iowa Core’s Universal Constructs and what is often referred to as the 4Cs — creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking. If used planfully, digital learning can aid districts in ensuring that all students are able to show mastery with each of these constructs. Teachers can plan lessons to address one or more of these constructs and use digital learning devices or resources as tools to allow students to master the constructs being addressed.
Real Classroom Examples
Iowa Public Television has showcased examples from four Iowa school districts, showing how they’ve leveraged technology to accelerate change in their classrooms. Superintendents, principals, teachers, education researchers and Iowa educational leaders share their perspective on this transformation and what schools need to do to find success. Five segments spotlight promising practices and research-based strategies supported by recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan.
The following map links to stories from around Iowa. Check out how districts are successfully incorporating digital learning into their teaching and learning.
After you’ve reviewed the plan, reach out to the AEA instructional technology consultant who serves your district for guidance as you bring digital learning to life in your school or classroom!