EdTech Plan for K-12 Public Schools in Washington State
Find the 2016 update to the state educational technology plan and an index to the original plan published here in 2009. We outline the current state of technology integration across Washington’s K-12 public schools, and describe the challenges, opportunities and emerging issues that face educators as the pressure to deliver a 21st century education meets the tough realities of funding, shifting demographics and a regulatory environment responding to a new wave of education reform.
2016 Update – Washington State Educational Technology Plan
The Educational Technology Department at OSPI (EdTech) is involved with a wide variety of programs and projects that support technology integration across Washington state.
E-rate | State Initiatives | EdTech Assessments | Digital Citizenship | Open Education Resources
The rise of data-driven instruction and monitoring, and the call for critical thinking skills, collaborative scholarship and creative, project-based learning intensifies the need for technology-enriched instruction across districts large and small.
- Transition to a Technology-enriched Teaching & Learning Environment
- Three Strategies for 21st Century Teaching & Learning
- Expertise to Support Technology-enriched Teaching & Learning
2009 Education Technology Plan for K-12 Public Schools in Washington State
E-rate. School districts received $28 million in discounts on telecommunications and Internet access costs during the 2017–2018 school year. EdTech staff provide direct technical assistance to districts that apply for this important financial support for technology integration.
State Initiatives. EdTech is integral to the state’s online testing initiative, which includes the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) as well as the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA21). Ongoing technical, communication and logistics support, as well as data review and analysis by EdTech staff are critical to its successful implementation. This contribution–data, expertise, technical/communications/logistical support– also connected EdTech directly to the work of the Microsoft Imagine Academy and the implementation of the Computers Science State Standards.
Educational Technology Assessments. OSPI must report the number of school districts that use the OSPI-developed assessments for educational technology (RCW 28A.655.075). Over the 2017-2018 school year, teachers integrated a total of 80,046 assessments into their practice.
Digital Citizenship. Substitute Senate Bill 6273, passed by the 2016 Washington legislature, directs OSPI to develop best practices and recommendations for instruction in digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy, and report to the appropriate committees of the legislature, in accordance with RCW 43.01.036, on strategies to implement the best practices and recommendations statewide by December 1, 2016. The best practices and recommendations must be developed in consultation with an advisory committee as specified in (b) of this subsection. Best practices and recommendations must include instruction that provides guidance about thoughtful, safe, and strategic uses of online and other media resources, and education on how to apply critical thinking skills when consuming and producing information. Recommendations produced by the committee may include, but are not limited to:
- Revisions to the state learning standards for educational technology;
- Revisions to the WSSDA model policy and procedures on electronic resources and internet safety;
- School district processes necessary to develop customized district policies and procedures on electronic resources and internet safety;
- Best practices, resources, and models for instruction in digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy; and
- Strategies that will support school districts in implementation of best practices and recommendations.
More information on the initiative can be found online at http://edtech.ospi.k12.wa.us/course/view.php?id=62, and resources from the work will be posted on the Washington state OER Commons Hub at https://www.oercommons.org/hubs/washington
Open Education Resources. Washington has now joined the #GoOpen initiative, adding its voice to a cohort of states recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for their commitment to support school districts and educators transitioning to the use of quality, openly-licensed educational resources in their schools.
Additionally, OSPI has launched a new open policy that requires all copyrightable intellectual property created by OSPI employees, contractors, and grantees to be openly licensed. This policy will allow all stakeholders to realize the educational impact from the substantial investments the state, the federal government, and private foundations make in educational resources created by or for OSPI.
In 2012, the state Legislature directed OSPI to create a library of openly-licensed courseware aligned to state learning standards and an associated awareness campaign. Since then, the Open Educational Resources (OER) Project has been working with districts to explore OER as an important part of their instructional materials strategy and provide reviews, resources and guidance to help in their effective implementation.
Washington is proud to:
- be the first state to pass legislation funding full-time staff to oversee the development of a library of reviewed resources and promote OER adoption
- provide small grants to districts developing their own OER core instructional materials or create OER Users’ Groups to share ideas, define best practices, and champion effective distribution and implementation of resources
- be featured as a selected state OER initiative in CCSSO’s OER Stories, Policies, and Resources and have a district OER Case Study in the State Educational Technology Directors’ Association’s OER in Action: Implementation Case Studies, and
- have one of our districts serve as an ambassador school in the #GoOpen campaign
The rise of data-driven instruction and monitoring, and the call for critical thinking skills, collaborative scholarship and creative, project-based learning intensifies the need for technology integration across districts large and small.
The K–12 system will find it increasingly difficult to graduate college- and career-ready students without significant attention paid to technology literacy. As with any subject, the need to build knowledge and skills begins in the elementary grades and continues into a student’s senior year.
As well, the pressure is on to build and sustain an effective teaching force skilled enough to work with online instructional and assessment products, and able to differentiate content within learning environments of growing size and diversity.
In the Educational Technology Plan for K–12 Public Schools in Washington State, we presented timely strategies based on clear goals and the direction of state lawmakers.
- Establish a sustainable funding system for technology integration across Washington State public schools.
- Develop instructional resources and assessments that help teachers to integrate the standards for educational technology into K–12 core subject areas.
- Expand support for technology integration: policy development, direct technical assistance for technology initiatives, and the necessary professional development that trains teachers to enrich standards-based curricula with instructional technologies.
As a whole, these strategies were designed to drive the state of teaching and learning in Washington toward its greater goal: the realization of a 21st century learning environment for every student who enrolls in a Washington State K–12 public school. Although much has been accomplished, funding reductions over the past biennium have diminished the state’s ability to support the development of learning environments equal to these tasks:
- Widespread, classroom-ready learning technologies that enable fast access to differentiated content.
- Teaching capacity to integrate technology, and create rich visualizations of formative data for instruction and assessment.
The strong foundation of expertise and ready, high-quality program content remains at the state level. Many of the goals of the 2009 Educational Technology Plan for K–12 Public Schools in Washington State have been realized:
- Washington has a sustainable funding mechanism in place today for technology integration across all Washington State public schools if the Legislature fully funds RCW 28A.150.210, Section 2, as amended by SSB 5392. This legislation adopted a prototype school funding model that makes it possible to equip every classroom with industry-standard technology and, ultimately, every student with a computing device. Without full funding, though, the adequacy of classroom technology remains in jeopardy for all but the most affluent districts.
- EdTech at OSPI has developed a comprehensive suite of assessments for K–12, which are well guided, easy to use and come equipped with a comprehensive inventory of free and low-cost digital resources. These assessments integrate the Common Core State Standards and model elements of the performance task component present in the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) system.
However, the ability to expand professional development programs that promote technology integration as support for learner-centered instruction has stalled with reductions in funding. The need remains to create sustainable sources of funding that make it possible to continue the regional delivery of these models.