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Meet the SETDA 2022 State Achievement Award Recipients

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) created the State Achievement Award (SSA) to recognize outstanding initiatives from SETDA State and Affiliate members and their teams that address meaningful challenges in teaching and learning.

The 2022 SSA awards, which were presented during the SETDA Emerging Trends Forum on June 15, 2022, celebrate the impact of these programs and projects, offering frameworks for other leaders to effect positive change in their states.

The SETDA State Achievement Awards have five categories that align with one of SETDA’s priorities of Equity of Access, Digital Content, Interoperability, Professional Learning, and Digital Learning.

Learn more about the state teams and their projects below.

Category: Professional Learning
Recipient: Arkansas
Project: ArkansasIDEAS

ArkansasIDEAS is a long-standing partnership between Arkansas PBS and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). Launched in 2006, the ArkansasIDEAS professional development portal is a statewide, high-quality online learning management system built for Arkansas teachers by Arkansas teachers.

Licensed educators on staff within the education department at Arkansas PBS work directly with video production teams and the Arkansas Department of Education to create ADE-approved professional development courses and resources for Arkansas teachers, including pre-service teachers, school and district administrators, paraprofessionals, and other support staff.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ArkansasIDEAS provided over 400 hours of content over the air via broadcast, on-demand, and live-streamed for eight weeks, five hours a day for K-5 students.

Category: Interoperability
Recipient: South Carolina
Project: Leveraging Multiple Interoperability Standards to Support Educators

The South Carolina Department of Education ​​(SCDE), which serves 76 districts, 760,000 students, and 52,000 teachers, has leveraged multiple data interoperability standards–including IMS Global, Ed-Fi, and CEDS–to support several critical projects. These projects, which include facilitating state and federal reporting with high-quality data and providing classroom teachers with access to a robust repository of curated teaching resources, can serve as a model for other states looking to modernize their data infrastructure.

Their innovative, insightful, and well-planned work has enabled operational efficiencies and empowered academic staff to focus on improving student outcomes rather than performing administrative work, and ensured strong data quality across the state.

One of the state’s most powerful projects has been the creation of the South Carolina Instructional Hub. The Instructional Hub is a Learning Object Repository (LOR) or a mega library of resources for educators. It brings together content purchased at the state level, curated open educational resources (OER), and the best of resources and lessons in South Carolina. Users can search by keyword, state standard, grade level, and other filters to find materials they can use for planning instruction.

Leveraging IMSGlobal standards, the LOR integrates with Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, and many common learning management systems. The South Carolina Instruction Hub saves teachers hours of valuable lesson planning time that can be better spent personalizing instruction for students.

Category: Equity of Access
Recipient: Connecticut
Project: Everybody Learns – Closing the Digital Divide

The Everybody Learns Initiative had a simple and bold goal of reaching a 1:1 computer ratio and connecting all learners to the Internet. Connecticut prioritized Alliance Districts, getting students online who live in socio-economically challenged communities that generally have low connectivity rates.

The initiative came about through a two-year, multi-agency effort to address directly the digital inequities that affect tens of thousands of public school students. This leadership-driven work leveraged SETDA members and Corporate Partners to close the digital divide for K–12, higher education, and adult learners in our state.

One of the hallmarks of the Everybody Learns Initiative was the inter-agency nature of its design and implementation. Leaders from the Office of the Governor, Connecticut State Department of Education, Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology, CEN (Connecticut Education Network), State Broadband Office, and Department of Economic and Community Development contributed to the work of identifying connectivity gaps, designing cost-efficient solutions to benefit the most challenged communities, and ensuring timely delivery of computers and connections.

Category: Digital Learning
Recipient: Massachusetts
Project: Sustaining Progress in Access and Equity: EdTech Strategic Planning Guide

The EdTech Strategic Planning Guide was created in the Spring of 2021 as Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) transitioned the Office of Remote Learning to the Office of Educational Technology (OET). During this transition, DESE and OET wanted to take a clear stance that technology is an essential element of high-quality schools and that leveraging technology takes a comprehensive, systemic approach. The Guide asserts that a high-quality technology system starts with dedicated leadership and alignment to a school system’s overall instructional vision.

A goal in publishing the guide was to establish a strong foundation for the ongoing and strategic efforts of the Office of Educational Technology to ensure ALL Massachusetts students have access to the educators, tools, devices, bandwidth, rich educational experiences, and cyber and data security to support and prepare them for lifelong success.

It is further organized by crucial focus areas: EdTech Leadership; Staffing & Personnel; Professional Learning & Development; Data Management; Instruction; Infrastructure; and Funding Considerations. Each section includes background information, planning considerations, relevant resources/examples, and potential funding implications.

The EdTech Strategic Planning Guide is written with general enough information to be accessible to a broad range of school system stakeholders but with enough detail that technology leaders can utilize in their strategic planning processes. The ultimate goal of the Guide was to support districts in engaging in purposeful conversations around the use of technology in their school systems and where they might consider making improvements.

All of the State Achievement Award projects this year share one thing in common: in a time of crisis, these leaders were able to shift to new ways of teaching, connecting, and collaborating.

Whether it was finding a solution to issues of student equity and connectivity, utilizing emerging technologies and interactive content to engage student learning, or providing professional development for educators to adapt to online learning, SETDA members showed courage and fortitude under the most difficult of circumstances to find innovative ways to educate our nation’s students.

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