Instruction enriched by technology makes it possible to remove physical barriers to learning and differentiate curricula to address different learning styles. This is an important role for the state’s edtech initiatives and one that connects with students today — keen to create collaborate and think critically with technology. The goal is to keep kids in school and prepare them for life and work after graduation.
The work of the Educational Technology (EdTech) department at OSPI is identified in the state’s definition of basic education — specifically with the inclusion of technology literacy and fluency in RCW 28A.150.210.
The legislature finds that technology can be effectively integrated into other K-12 core subjects that students are expected to know and be able to do. Integration of knowledge and skills in technology literacy and fluency into other subjects will engage and motivate students to explore high-demand careers, such as engineering, mathematics, computer science, communication, art, entrepreneurship, and others; fields in which skilled individuals will create the new ideas, new products, and new industries of the future; and fields that demand the collaborative information skills and technological fluency of digital citizenship.
Further to the definition of this law and its charge for EdTech are:
- Mandates that cover statewide support for educational technology, Chapter 28A.650 RCW
- Requirements for educational technology literacy and technology fluency standards and assessments, RCW 28A 655.075.
Tech Literacy and Fluency Lead to a College- and Career- Ready Graduate
The integration of technology into the K-12 teaching and learning environment is essential to new workforce proficiencies. EdTech at OSPI serves the two components of successful tech integration:
- Technology. Classroom technology, internet connectivity, and network infrastructure and policy
- Instruction. Standards, assessments, and the need to integrate instructional technologies into standards-based curricula
E-rate Discount Program
EdTech staff guide districts through the complexities of the E-rate process and provide training as districts submit the required forms and data. The E-rate program brings in $25-40 million annually in discounted telecommunications and internet services for Washington K-12 schools.
Move to Online Assessment
EdTech is at the center of two major initiatives to which the state has dedicated considerable time and human resources – the online ELPA21 and Smarter Balanced adaptive assessment system. EdTech staff at OSPI provide data, expertise, and support – technical, communications, logistical. They work directly with the field, contractor and assessment staff on system implementation and technology readiness.
EdTech at OSPI is where state support centralizes for K-20 network infrastructure and its related policy, both of which are critical to learning and assessment environments. Most school districts, ESDs and tribal schools depend on this high-quality, high-speed backbone for internet access and distance learning.
Microsoft Imagine Academy Certification System
OSPI staff from EdTech and CTE work closely on content coordination and program administration for the Microsoft Imagine Academy. More than 24,500 students earned certifications, mainly in Microsoft Office, during the 2015-2016 school year.
Computers 4 Kids (C4K)
EdTech at OSPI is a partner with the departments of Corrections and Enterprise Services in a program that distributes more than 5,000 standards-based computers each year to low-income school districts. C4K was designed to take advantage of state computing technology that agencies surplus or take off lease.
Districts look to EdTech as the state’s source for technology-related policy support and guidance. Staff provide ongoing support, and deliver training that helps districts understand the complexities of federal statute. EdTech at OSPI, as a department, is focused on the development and implementation of policies and practices that keep students and teachers safe on the Internet.
Standards and Assessments for Educational Technology
The Legislature has mandated the development of standards and classroom-based assessments for educational technology. The EdTech assessments integrate Common Core State Standards and bring the state’s edtech standards into K-12 subject areas. Each assessment comes with a suite of technology integration resources and instructional support materials.
The need for state-level services focused on instructional technology (and its integration into teaching and learning) expands every school year.
Section (3), RCW 28A.150.210, speaks directly to the benefits of technology integration as a path to one of the key legislative priorities for basic education: Think analytically, logically, and creatively, and to integrate technology literacy and fluency as well as different experiences and knowledge to form reasoned judgments and solve problems.
The Educational Technology department at OSPI delivers on this mandate to make technology literacy and fluency possible across all the core subjects. They serve the need for industry- and college-ready literacies and fluencies:
- Policy-based strategies and standards that ensure robust network and technology infrastructure.
- Research-based instruction and assessment practices, withoutwhich teachers cannot achieve their full potential as powerfuleducators, and students will not graduate ready to meet thedemands of college and career.