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SETDA in the News: February Round Up

February may have buried many in the Northeastern part of the United States in snow, but here in Washington, DC, there was lots of action with potential new legislation that will support technology in our schools across the nation. Below are a few highlights of  what’s happened (and is continuing to happen) in and around the Beltway.

EETT 2016

As previously shared, President Obama included a revised version of the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program in the 2016 budget request. EETT will help build state capacity to improve instruction and scale up successful initiatives, provide professional learning opportunities for teachers and increased access to digital learning experiences for students. The U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Educational Technology’s website  includes details regarding potential program revisions. In addition, Senator Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) introduced the Enhancing Education through Technology Act in the Senate.

Student Success Act: Local Academic Flexible Grants

The House Education and Workforce Committee approved an amendment to the ESEA reauthorization bill (H.R. 5)  that would create a state administered blended learning competitive grant program. This legislation is found under H.R. 5, Title III Parental Engagement and Local Flexibility, Part B – Local Academic Flexible Grant. The legislation provides grant funds that can be used for planning activities that could include development of new instructional models and/or ongoing professional development. The Senate is working on a bill with similar language.

On February 26, the House passed an amendment proposed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) that would permit Elementary and Secondary Education Act funding (part of a new block grant called “Local Academic Flexible Grants”) to be used for the creation and distribution of open access textbooks and open educational resources. Please be mindful that H.R. 5 is a large and in some places controversial bill, and the grant program that now includes OER is a very small piece of larger work but this is a great small victory.

Although a vote on the full bill did not take place in February as originally anticipated, ESEA reauthorization efforts are still inching forward in both the House and Senate.

Net Neutrality

On February 26, the Federal Communications Commission officially reclassified broadband Internet as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. The new “Open Internet Order” will ban paid prioritization, blocking and throttling, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement. The full order was released on March 12.

ED Student Privacy Guidance

The U.S. Department of Education recently released model terms of service guidance  and a training video  aimed at helping schools and districts protect student privacy while using online educational services and applications. The guidance offers examples of terms of service provisions to help school officials identify which online educational services and applications have strong privacy and data security policies and practices. The press release is available here.

In Other News

thSETDA is now a Coalition Partner for the Future Ready Initiative. In addition, multiple SETDA resources are included in the Leadership Network  resources section hosted by the Alliance for Excellent Education in conjunction with the Future Ready initiative. Be sure to check for Regional Summits near your state and consider attending and/or encouraging districts in your state to attend.

ETU_logo SETDA announce a new partnership with Aggregage via the launch of EdTech Update. This new site and weekly personalized newsletter that brings together the widest set of industry EdTech thought leaders.

We encourage you to sign up TODAY for this personalized weekly newsletter for the latest and best thinking from hundreds of sources, including top bloggers such as Steve Anderson, Scott McLeod, EdFly, Christensen Institute, Digital Learning Now and many others. We know it can be overwhelming to have hundreds of different industry related emails delivered to your inbox each week, so the EdTech Update uses some MAGIC to figure out what’s most interesting to you based on your personal preferences and clicks to aggregate all the information into a single personalized newsletter.  The EdTech Update is designed to help you have time and expand industry knowledge all at the same time. We encourage you to sign up today for your personalized EdTech Update TODAY so you can start learning and sharing.

SETDA in the News: January 2015 Round Up

January 2015 brought lots of renewed energy and excitement to  SETDA.  At the beginning of the month, the Board of Director’s announced a new interim executive director Lan Neugent. Lan recently retired as the Assistant Superintendent for Technology, Career and Adult Education at the Virginia Department of Education. Under his direction, Technology, Career and Adult Education Division units provided technical support for other departmental divisions, liaison with other state agencies, and support for local educational agencies. Major division initiatives include online testing, adult literacy programming, open educational resources development, technology best practices, longitudinal data system implementation, career training and industry certifications and virtual school programming. Lan is a former Chair of SETDA’s Board of Directors, Federal Policy Committee Chair and most recently a SETDA Board member; he has over 10 years of experience with SETDA.

Also in January, we hosted a launch webinar to highlight our newest web resource – The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning (GIDL), a free web-based resource to support school and district leaders as they work to ensure that investments in digital learning spark positive results. GIDL includes six topic areas: planning, professional learning, content and software, broadband, devices and tech support. Each topic’s section includes background information, key considerations for implementation, resources and exemplars of digital learning in action.  The webinar is archived on our website.  Be sure to visit the Guide to Implementing Digital Learning today and don’t forget to share this fabulous resource with your colleagues!

Here is a snapshot of some of the news stories referencing SETDA news and views during the last month –

Other Related Stories

For an up-to-date archive and chronicle of notable SETDA mentions online and in the press, be sure to visit the In the News section of our website.

SETDA in 2014: Year in Review

As the calendar year draws to a close and we take time to celebrate family and the holiday season, all of us at SETDA want to wish you a happy, healthy, and productive new year. Over the course of 2014, SETDA worked with you to identify and shed light on emerging issues, share best practices and policies, and lead change at the federal, state and local levels. SETDA members, partners, and staff collaborated to:

  • Play a leading role in the modernization of the E-rate program, including securing the adoption of SETDA’s broadband capacity targets as official goals for the program;
  • Launch a redesigned website at www.setda.org to more clearly communicate the association’s work and priorities to the public, following on the fall 2013 launch of an online professional learning community for members and partners, SETDA Connects;
  • Release The Guide to Technology Requirements, a website to help school and district leaders understand the detailed technology requirements for online assessments and to help consider these requirements in the overall context of school technology needs;
  • Launch the The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning, a free web-based resource to support school and district leaders as they work to ensure that investments in digital learning spark positive results;
  • Continue to refine and enhance the state-level policy and practice information contained in SETDA’s State Education Policy Center;
  • Continue to advocate for the recommendations contained in our groundbreaking report, Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age, including by launching a new series of issue briefs to shed further light on emerging issues, such as those related to teacher-created content and the accessibility of digital content;
  • Host uniquely powerful professional learning and networking events for our members and partners at our Emerging Technologies Forum in Atlanta in June and our Leadership Summit in the Washington, DC area in October;
  • Host in-person and online events to highlight the $2 billion in educational technology and software donated to K-12 schools by leading companies under the Obama Administration’s ConnectED Initiative;
  • Expand our strategic partnership program through the launch of a new pilot Affiliate program designed to extend SETDA’s reach, influence and impact; and
  • Share our views on education policy and practice with prominent education trade and mass media outlets.

As you look ahead at your organization’s  long term planning and advocacy goals for 2015, be sure to refer back to the many SETDA resources that have been developed to help education leaders like you advance school reform and improvement through the effective use of technology.

Happy holidays from all of us at SETDA.

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SETDA in the News: October 2014 Round Up

October was a particularly busy month for SETDA as we hosted our annual Leadership Summit and Education Forum from the 26th-29th in the Washington, DC area. Our annual Leadership Summit is a unique event designed by and for state and national education leaders, focused on the full range of policies and practices necessary to advance K-12 education through the effective use of technology. This year’s event was attended by over 74 state representatives drawn from 43 U.S. states and territories. For more about the event, see the 2014 Leadership Summit section of our site.

During the Summit, SETDA presented awards to those advancing learning in the digital age. Our congratulations to the 2014 honorees:

Here is a snapshot of some of the news stories referencing SETDA news and views during the last month, including a few that covered issues addressed during our Leadership Summit:

In addition, be sure to check out a sampling of SETDA Says blog posts and our Press Releases from the month of October.

For an up-to-date archive and chronicle of notable SETDA mentions online and in the press, visit the In the News section of our website.

SETDA in the News: September 2014 Round Up

September is always a busy month filled with the excitement of a new school year for students, teachers and parents alike. As another school years kicks off, this is a great opportunity to reflect the newness that surrounds us. This September was particularly exciting because many schools had (and still have) the opportunity to increase student access to the hardware, software and services  provided by the generous donations from the companies participating in the ConnectED program.

On September 11, 2014, SETDA hosted a ConnectED Back-to-School Webinar as a follow up to SETDA’s ConnectED Private Sector Showcase in June. During the webinar, Richard Culatta, Director, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education provided an introduction to the ConnectED program and the companies that have committed $2 billion in educational technology resources under President Obama’s ConnectED initiative. Nine of the ten ConnectED companies: Adobe; AT&T; Autodesk; Esri; Microsoft; Prezi; Safari Books Online; Sprint Corporation; and Verizon each provided a short overview of their program offerings for participants. Leaders from states and districts nationwide joined the webinar to learn more about the programs and partake in an extended question and answer session to clarify details including eligibility, student privacy concerns and implementation. The event was free and open to the public. If you were unable to attend, you may access the webinar archive.

Other topics that remain in the headlines this September include E-Rate Modernization, Student Data Privacy and Net Neutrality. Here is a snapshot of SETDA in the news during the last month:

In addition, be sure to check out a sampling of SETDA Says blog posts and our Press Releases from the month of September.

For an up-to-date archive and chronicle of notable SETDA mentions online and in the press, be sure to visit the In the News section of our website.

 

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ConnectED Back-to-School Webinar Recap

On September 11, 2014, SETDA hosted a ConnectED Back-to-School Webinar as a follow up to SETDA’s ConnectED Private Sector Showcase in June. During the webinar, Richard Culatta, Director, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education provided an introduction to the ConnectED program and the companies that have committed $2 billion in educational technology resources under President Obama’s ConnectED initiative. Nine of the ten ConnectED companies: Adobe; AT&T; Autodesk; Esri; Microsoft; Prezi; Safari Books Online; Sprint Corporation; and Verizon each provided a short overview of their program offerings for participants. Leaders from states and districts nationwide joined the webinar to learn more about the programs and partake in an extended Question and Answer session to clarify details including eligibility, student privacy concerns and implementation. The event was free and open to the public. If you were unable to attend, you may access the webinar archive.

For a description of each of the ConnectED participating company offerings, visit SETDA webpage dedicated to the  ConnectED Partners.

SETDA is committed to ensuring that the needs identified in the launch of the ConnectED initiative are addressed through meaningful federal actions in concert with public-private partnerships. We will continue to provide updates regarding the ConnectED program via our website and this blog.

SETDA in the News: August 2014 Round Up

The summer months offer a bit of a respite to the education policy and practice world and many of us on the SETDA staff took some time off to recharge our batteries for what promises to be an exciting 2014-15 school year. Nonetheless, in this 24/7 world of new media publishing, SETDA news and views remained in the headlines on a wide range of topics: from perennial stories about inequities in  technology and broadband access in schools and implementation best practices to more nuanced and complex issues related to student data privacy and the need for enhanced metadata to describe learning standards.

In addition, be sure to check out a sampling of SETDA Says blog posts and our Press Releases from the month of August.

For an up-to-date archive and chronicle of notable SETDA mentions online and in the press, be sure to visit the In the News section of our website.

SETDA in the News: July 2014 Round Up

The headline stories for the month of July 2014 predominantly center on e-Rate modernization – and appropriately so. On July 11, 2014 after the FCC Commissioners voted to take the first step to modernizing the e-Rate, Doug Levin, SETDA’s Executive Director issued the following statement:

“With today’s vote, the FCC has taken a critical step to guaranteeing the 18 year-old E-rate program can continue to fulfill its critical role of ensuring equity of access to learning opportunities and supporting innovations in teaching and learning in a digital age. We thank Chairman Wheeler for his principled approach to modernization, Commissioner Clyburn for her support and leadership in initially launching the modernization effort, and Commissioner Rosenworcel for her steadfast advocacy on behalf of the needs of students and educators.

By acting today, the FCC has set robust broadband access to and throughout all schools and libraries as the E-rate’s primary goal, increased transparency of program operations and provided incentives for applicants to seek preferred pricing and services.

At the same time, today’s vote acknowledges that significant work remains to be done to ensure that specific, predictable and sufficient funding is secured to meet K-12 and library broadband infrastructure needs over the long-term and that schools and libraries – especially in rural and remote areas – have cost-effective options to access the robust broadband needed for teaching and learning in a digital age.

SETDA pledges to continue working collaboratively with the FCC and others to ensure the nation’s educational broadband needs are fully and comprehensively addressed for the long-term through the next steps in E-rate modernization.”

Other big stories of the month include the announcement of the 2014-15 SETDA Board of Directors and leadership – and the release of a new study by ED on the ability of 4th graders to participate in online testing. Here is the round up for July 2014:

In addition, be sure to check out a sampling of SETDA Says blog posts and our Press Releases from the month of July.

For an up-to-date archive and chronicle of notable SETDA mentions online and in the press, be sure to visit the In the News section of our website.

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What Can States And Districts Do To Prepare For The Transition To Online Assessment?

In the 2014-15 school year, the vast majority of states will use new online student assessments from PARCC and Smarter Balanced that will be based on the deeper and more rigorous Common Core State Standards.  Implementing these new assessments successfully requires a substantial infrastructure and a human capacity effort involving careful planning and ample communication.

Implementing Online Assessment – Pathways to Success  is a new website that chronicles states’ experiences implementing online assessment.  Delaware, Idaho, North Carolina are available immediately with Virginia available in this fall. Each case narrative tells a state’s history with online assessments, the evolution of their infrastructure, their approach to training and communication with districts, and an in-depth look at what it took for a district to implement online assessments.   States have also shared the tools and materials – such as training agendas, technology checklists, and sample letters – that led to their success. SETDA encourages you to visit the website, use the materials, and participate in a discussion about your experience with the transition.

Visit the new the Implementing Online Assessment  –  Pathways to Success website and use the wide range of resources and materials and share them with your colleagues in Assessment, Curriculum and other departments as you and your colleagues prepare for the transition to online assessment.

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