The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has released a series of case studies from 28 states highlighting examples of innovative educational initiatives that it says are playing a crucial role in improving K-12 education across the country (www.setda.org/web/guest/casestudies2012).
The programs identified in these case studies were funded through the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program (ESEA Title II, Part D) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) which made available $650 million for the EETT program. For 10 years, EETT has supported states in partnership with school districts to lead in transforming K-12 education to meet the challenges and goals of the 21st century.
The case studies are illustrative of unique state grant programs tailored to meet the needs of teachers and students in those states. While each program is unique, some common themes have emerged among them.
• Scaling Up Successful Programs: ARRA EETT funds enabled states and districts to scale up research-based innovative programs, including the enhancing Missouri's Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies (eMINTS) program, North Carolina's IMPACT, the Texas Immersion Pilot (TIP) and other successful high-access initiatives.
• Innovating for Learning: Many grantees supported the development of project-based learning curricula and the development of digital and open educational resources through technology-rich learning environments.
• Supporting Educator Effectiveness: States and districts provided high-quality professional development through coaching/mentoring, communities of practice, and train-the-trainer models for teachers who were implementing significant changes to their instruction using technology.
Teachers and students across the country continue to benefit from these innovative programs as shown by higher formative and standardized test scores, increased technology literacy and technology integration, improved access to both digital curriculum resources and project based learning initiatives and increased student engagement.
Since the elimination of EETT in the FY11 budget, direct federal support for educational technology initiatives has been extinguished. "These case studies demonstrate the power of federal funds leveraging state and district efforts. It is unfortunate that both the Administration and Congress have chosen to eliminate federal funding for technology at precisely the time when they are most needed to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and their new, online assessments; the shift to digital textbooks as recently exemplified by the joint efforts of ED and the FCC; continued scale-up of innovative models; and the ability of states and districts to better reach all students, especially those not being well-served today. A reconsideration of this short-sighted funding decision would go a long way to ensuring that students are college and career ready," stated Douglas Levin, Executive Director of SETDA.
Source: State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), www.setda.org