Often when coordinating a focus group or presenting a new SETDA resources via a webinar, I mention the Why. Why do we spend the time to research and report on policies and practices? Why do leaders gather to collaborate on topics of interest? The Why always relays back to the students. State department of education leaders, affiliate members and leaders from the private sector all have one cause in mind, improving teaching and learning for all students. The annual SETDA Student Voices Award takes all of the challenging work and provides the opportunity to celebrate the Why, the students.
Each year, SETDA honors an outstanding K-12 school or district that has leveraged technology to dramatically improve the educational experiences and achievement of their students. Winners receive the Elsie Brumback Scholarship, which allows the winner to bring a team of students and educators to attend the annual SETDA Leadership Summit and tour Washington DC.
The 2019 nominees were outstanding, highlighting a variety of programs from across the country including programs that support under-served populations and unique programs that have changed teaching and learning opportunities for all students. Each nominee should be incredibly proud of their dedication to digital learning. This year’s competition was extremely competitive and five finalists have been identified, many of which shared videos in support of their nominations. The winner will be announced at SETDA’s Emerging Technologies Leadership Forum on June 22 in Philadelphia.
This year, the winner will have a group of students present during SETDA’s Leadership Summit on November 4 in Washington DC. All finalists will have the opportunity to attend and/or a speak at the Leadership Summit as well and one of the finalists will also be chosen to participate in a national webinar highlighting their school’s program.
Congratulations to the 2019 Finalists:
- McHenry Elementary School: District 15, McHenry, Illinois
- The Learning Center: Fayette County Schools, Kentucky
- East Grand School: RSU 84, Danforth, Maine
- Community School of Excellence: Saint Paul, Minnesota
- Mineola Middle School: Mineola, New York
Learn more about the finalists on the 2019 Finalists Webpage and details of Previous Winners.
For 2019, special consideration was given to Student Voices nominations that demonstrate examples of project-based digital learning experiences that support work force development. The diversity of the nominations and the dedication of districts, schools and educators to personalizing instruction via digital tools is inspiring.
Thank you to AT&T Aspire for underwriting the Student Voices 2018.
AT&T invests in education and job training to create a skilled and diverse workforce that powers our country for the future. Technology is making it easier for everyone – regardless of age, gender, income or geography – to learn anytime, anywhere. Through the AT&T Aspire initiative, AT&T brings together the power of its network – its employees, its technology and organizations – to connect people to opportunities through education and job training. Since 2008, AT&T has committed $450 million to programs to help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world. Learn more at att.com/aspire.
SETDA encourages state agencies, school districts, and other education stakeholders to provide public comments for the FCC, Notice of Proposed Rule Making: Transforming the 2.5 GHz Band by the deadline Wednesday (August 8) or to reply to comments posted by September 7. Specifically, education leaders can express support for maintaining EBS’s educational nature, especially as a wireless broadband service for “homework gap” students.
Students need access to high capacity broadband to complete homework, use digital instructional materials, participate in virtual courses, and to connect with other students, their teachers, and even with experts throughout the world. The Educational Broadband Service (EBS) can serve as an important tool for state and local education leaders working to ensure all students have access to high capacity broadband. We urge the FCC to (1) recognize EBS’ potential to help close the “homework gap;” (2) maintain the channels’ focus on educational use; (3) make state education agencies and community anchor institutions eligible licensees, in addition to school districts; and (4) ensure the new EBS system promotes broadband service delivery at home to unserved and underserved students.
SETDA believes that the EBS rules should continue to include educational use requirements, including the delivery of high capacity broadband to students on- and off-campus. Updating and continuing EBS’s educational use requirements will provide a guiding vision for licensees’ use of the spectrum and establish the baseline conditions that must be met when the spectrum is leased. We strongly support extending new EBS licensing opportunities to community anchor institutions and consortia, including public-private partnerships, but all of these licensees should be obligated to serve students living in their service areas.
In addition to school districts, EBS licenses should be available to qualified state education agencies, educational service units, and community anchor institutions, so that the spectrum can be allocated to licensees, including consortia, that are best positioned to meet students’ and communities’ educational and broadband needs. Furthermore, well-designed, fair leases aligned to updated educational service requirements, can support effective public-private partnerships designed to meet students’ connectivity needs. The system must, however, include a focus on using the spectrum to deliver home broadband access to unserved and underserved students paired with meaningful build-out and service requirements, review and revision to ensure that the spectrum is being used for its best and highest educational use.
Spectrum is a public resource that should be available to for free to address public needs, such as connecting students to broadband.
If you are interested in lending your voice to preserve the EBS system, please follow these steps:
- Visit the FCC’s “Express Comment” Website at: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express
- Type in this proceeding number in the first field: 18-120
- Complete the contact information fields.
- Provide appropriate comments to fit your perspective and add information about your state agency, school district, organization, or community.
Each year, I am more impressed with the quality of nominations brought forward for the SETDA Student Voices Award. Congratulations to all of the 2018 nominees! The Student Voices award honors an outstanding K-12 school or district that has leveraged technology to dramatically improve the educational experiences and achievement of their students. Winners receive the Elsie Brumback Scholarship, which allows the winner to bring a team of students and educators to attend the annual SETDA Leadership Summit and tour Washington DC. Each nominee should be incredibly proud of their dedication to digital learning and the variety of examples of supporting individual student needs via project-based instruction. This year’s competition was extremely competitive and five finalists have been identified. The winner will be announced at SETDA’s Emerging Technologies Leadership Forum on June 23 in Chicago.
This year, in addition to the winners presenting during SETDA’s Leadership Summit on November 5 in Washington DC, the first runner up will have the opportunity for an administrator to speak on a plenary panel at the Leadership Summit .
Congratulations to the 2018 Finalists:
- Armorel High School EAST Program, Arkansas
- Effingham County CEO Program, Illinois
- Noblesville High School, Indiana
- Meadow Park Middle School, Oregon
- St. Albans City School, Vermont
*Learn more about the finalists on the 2018 Finalists Webpage. You may also view the presentations of Previous Winners.
For 2018, special consideration was given to Student Voices nominations that demonstrate examples of project-based digital learning experiences that impact the local, state or national community. Examples of impact included:
- Students developed resources for the community
- Students conducting research regarding the community
- Students working with local governments to solve a problem
- School/students collaborating with the business community
The diversity of the nominations and the dedication of districts, schools and educators to personalizing instruction via digital tools is inspiring. I look forward to the announcement of the winner and working with the school and students to prepare and present in November. Each year, when it seems that a winner and their presentation could not match the previous winner, the students and staff at each school amaze me and the Leadership Summit audience by exceeding expectations.
Thank you to AT&T Aspire for underwriting the Student Voices 2018.
AT&T invests in education and job training to create a skilled and diverse workforce that powers our country for the future. Technology is making it easier for everyone – regardless of age, gender, income or geography – to learn anytime, anywhere. Through the AT&T Aspire initiative, AT&T brings together the power of its network – its employees, its technology and organizations – to connect people to opportunities through education and job training. Since 2008, AT&T has committed $400 million to programs to help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world. Learn more at att.com/aspire.
The Senate voted (52-47) today to reject the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to eliminate the agency’s Net Neutrality protections. All Senate Democrats and three Republicans – Senator Collins (ME), Sen. Murkowski (AK), and Sen. Kennedy (LA) – supported S.J.Res.52, which was introduced by Sen. Markey (MA) earlier this year. SETDA thanks these senators for voting to protect the interests of schools and other broadband customers and strongly urges the U.S. House to approve the resolution, and send it to the president for his signature, before the Net Neutrality rules expire on June 11.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenwarcel’s Statement
During the 016 SETDA Leadership Summit, we had the priveldge of presenting during the Student Voices Luncheon. We were so thankful to have such a wonderful experience being the three young ambassadors from New Jersey Northfield Community Middle School going to Washington D.C, It was an incredible and a life changing experience! The opportunity allowed us to meet a numerous of STEAM educators and innovators, showing us what we can accomplish as we grow up.
We were lucky to have a team of such wonderful fellow students to help us throughout the process of getting everything ready for our presentation.Our self-appointed team was made up of people we were comfortable working with and everyone played a specific role to support the development of an informational video about our school and prepare our presentation. Working with a team made the job easier and less awkward to complete the project plus, it was a lot more fun and helped make the experience more memorable. Although some people might work better at a quiet desk in silence, we chose to take a different route which involved laughing, cracking jokes, and enjoying our voice in the school.
The event itself was nerve-wracking at first, watching hundreds of people file into the ball room just to see us talk about our school. We were dressed well, rehearsed and waiting with microphones. We remember how professional and important each of us felt. We looked around the room, and could tell each and every individual had a busy schedule, and somewhere to be. We thought about how that day, we were those people too – with an important appointment to present.
First, we spoke about ourselves, about our lives and about who we are. That calmed the nerves of the three of us before we began the presentation on our school learning experiences. When we finally started talking about our extraordinary school, something we have waited so long to do. The words flowed out of our mouths, it is easy to present something you are passionate about. We were able to share examples of our hands on 3-D printing projects including a prosthetic hand and our innovative learning spaces in the hallways and classrooms. Plus, we shared how we have our own student lead sessions like “unconferences” as part of our school day. The leaders asked questions about our teachers and principal and our plans for the future. Everyone was really paying attention and enjoyed the event.
Being able to make the most of our lives and SETDA adventure was our priority. After nailing our presentation, we were thrilled to take a tour around Capitol Hill. Seeing all of the powerful businessmen and women reminded us how lucky we are to have a voice in our community and school. Having this chance to learn about STEAM, communication, government and entrepreneurship was really enthralling. Meeting these fantastic role models inspired all of us in different ways. This responsibility has improved our: confidence, voice, personality, and our overall well being. Honestly, this experience changed our lives forever.
If you have students that can get the chance to participate in this program and share the impact that digital learning has on their education and lives you should make sure they are nominated for 2017.
~ Rebecca Brown, Giselle Obergfell, Aryan Preetom
Northfield Community Middle School Class of 2017
2017 Nominations: Nominations for the 2017 Student Voices Award will open in April. SETDA members and partners have the opportunity to nominate a school or district for this prestigious award. Winners receive a scholarship to Washington D.C. both to present and participate in the Leadership Summit and to tour D.C. Contact Christine Fox with questions.
Underwriting Opportunity: If you are interested in supporting the 2017 Student Voices Winners contact Missy Greene at email@example.com or 202-715-6636 ext. 703. Support includes 9 months of engagement with SETDA leaders.
Through the continued leadership of the Board of Directors and the dedication of our members and staff, during 2016 SETDA celebrated 15 years of leadership, hired a new permanant Executive Director ~ Dr. Tracy Weeks, published a new strategic plan, developed resources to advance learning in the digital age and provided opportunities for state leaders to collaborate with one another and with private sector industry leaders. Based on the needs of our members and partners, SETDA focused efforts on developing resources and provided support for ESSA, equity of access, digital instructional materials and the implementation of digital learning. SETDA continues to expand outreach including adding new Affiliate partners such as the State Instructional Materials Review Association (SIMRA) and KanRen and by providing technical assistance to state Title IIA leaders. SETDA looks forward to new opportunities to provide sustained support for state digital learning leaders. To stay up to date on SETDA’s latest work subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on Twitter @setda.
SETDA’s 2017-2020 strategic plan was adopted and released by the SETDA Board of Directors in October 2016 after extensive consultation with the membership and partners. SETDA looks forward to connecting with education leaders to implement the plan over the next three years.
Through out 2016, SETDA celebrated our 15th year which culminated with the Annual Awards Gala at the Leadership Summit in October. Take a moment to view SETDA resources and relationships “through the years”.
SETDA and Common Sense Kids Action‘s report, State K-12 Broadband Leadership: Driving Connectivity and Access highlights the powerful impact of state leadership in driving critical policy decisions at the national and state level to support broadband networks, bandwidth capacity and home access for low-income families. Educators, policy makers and the private sector will benefit from organized and accessible information regarding states’ broadband and wi-fi implementation for all 50 states, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands. The report focuses on these areas: K-12 Broadband and Wi-Fi Connectivity, State Leadership for Infrastructure, State Broadband Implementation Highlights, State Advocacy for Federal Support of Broadband.
The Broadband Imperative II: Equitable Access for Learning, SETDA continues to advocate for increasing robust access both in and out of school to best prepare all students for college and careers. This 2016 report expands on earlier recommendations from SETDA’s groundbreaking report, The Broadband Imperative: Recommendations to Address K-12 Education Infrastructure Needs and SETDA and Common Sense Kids Action’s State K-12 Broadband Leadership: Driving Connectivity and Access report. Recommendations include: 1. Increase Infrastructure to Support Student-Centered Learning 2. Design Infrastructure to Meet Capacity Targets 3. Ensure Equity of Access for All Students Outside of School 4. Leverage State Resources to Increase Broadband Access
SETDA in the News: If you missed any of SETDA’s media coverage for 2016 you can always access SETDA initiatives and staff In the News and the 2016 Press Releases.
Since 2001, SETDA has served and supported educational technology leaders across the country from Alaska to Maine, Florida to Hawaii and as far away as Guam and American Samoa. Our state members, corporate partners, affiliates and alliance partners have rallied to support the implementation of digital learning opportunities in K-12 education from basic infrastructure to implementation to assessment and evaluation. As we approach Thanksgiving, SETDA would like to share the top 15 things this organization is most thankful for:
1. Innovative Thinkers
2. Founding Members
3. State Leadership
4. Corporate Partners
5. Federal Dialogue
6. States Sharing
7. Board Members
8. Countless Volunteer Hours
9. Committee Leadership
10. Emeritus Members
11. Student Voices
12. Philanthropic Support
13. Committed Staff Members
14. Partner Organizations
15. Dedication to Student Learning
The power of SETDA is in the people that make this organization a tremendous asset to the educational technology community. Thanks to all of you that have supported SETDA over the years and cheers to at least 15 more years of collaboration opportunities. Happy Thanksgiving to All! Below are two videos highlighting SETDA’s leadership and SETDA members from 2001-2015.
SETDA Leaders Through the Years (2001-2016) from SETDA on Vimeo.
SETDA Leads: 15th Anniversary from SETDA on Vimeo.
National Ed Tech Plan
SETDA is excited to share the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) latest initiative, the Teacher Preparation Challenge. This program encourages teacher preparation programs to commit to the four key principles identified in the 2016 National Educational Technology Plan for the use of educational technology in teacher preparation:
- Focus on the active use of technology to enable learning and teaching through creation, production, and problem solving.
- Build sustainable, program-wide systems of professional learning for higher education instructors to strengthen and continually refresh capacity to use technological tools to enable transformative learning and teaching.
- Ensure preservice teacher experiences with educational technology are program-deep and program-wide rather than one-off courses separate from methods courses.
- Align efforts with research-based standards, frameworks, and credentials recognized across the field.
Institutions that take the pledge and commit to the four principles will be eligible to receive an invitation to an “Innovators’ Briefing” hosted by OET December 14 in Washington, DC. Complete the online challenge form by December 1 to be eligible to participate in the in-person event – however, OET challenge will continue beyond December 1.
To learn more, visit tech.ed.gov/edtechtprep.
In October 2015, the U.S. Department of Education’s, Office of Education Technology (OET) launched the #GoOpen Initiative via a White House briefing. Since that time, 18 states and 91 districts have signed on to #GoOpen. What does this mean? #GoOpen states and districts commit to supporting the transition to the use of high-quality, openly-licensed educational resources. More importantly, this initiative has impacted states beyond the consideration for Open Educational Resources (OER).
As states consider the option to #GoOpen, state teams including chief technology officers, digital learning and instructional materials leaders have been collaborating on how this commitment will impact their state. States that in the past had left all decisions to the local schools and districts without providing any instructional materials guidance or policies are now digging in to identify how they can better support their schools and districts to make quality choices for learning. More than ever, states have the opportunity to encourage the acquisition and implementation of digital instructional materials by providing guidance for schools and districts regarding best practices related to instructional materials adoption, professional learning for educators, and recommended vetting practices for any instructional materials regardless of delivery platform or licensing type. In addition, states have been working together to share best practices, examples, lessons learned and to support one another. “Here in Vermont, the #GoOpen commitment has sparked collaboration among districts and moved the state to take a leadership role in providing guidance and considerations for instructional materials,” shared Peter Drescher, Education Technology Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Education.
As reported in SETDA’s 2015 Navigating the Digital Shift: Mapping the Acquisition of Digital Instructional Materials, seven states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) have statutes requiring the implementation of digital instructional materials in the next five years. As instructional materials transition to digital, states need to grow their leadership by providing guidance for districts on how to most effectively and efficiently make the transition to digital, by providing flexibility in their funding and procurement policies, including the implementation of OER.
Kudos to the Office of Educational Technology for pushing the enveloping on the option to leverage quality OER and more importantly for bringing the need for state leadership regarding digital instructional materials as a top priority. Happy Birthday #GoOpen!
SETDA OER Resources:
Copyright and Licensing
Open vs. Free
SETDA’s OER in Action: Implementation Highlights is a series of case studies published in 2015 that demonstrate how the policies and practices at the state level have provided the avenue for the implementation of OER in New York, Utah, and Washington.
SETDA launched a series of policy briefs focused on various topics to support state, districts and policy makers as they move from print to digital. These policy briefs were developed to assist states in identifying and implementing additional policies and practices for keeping the digital content transition on track and on target. Current briefs focus on the topics of:
SETDA in collaboration with state leaders is developing an online vetting toolkit to provide the details necessary to launch and maintain digital instructional material vetting processes either at the state, district, school or classroom level. This toolkit will be released in early 2017.
SETDA serves and supports state leaders from across the nation as well as territories from as far away as American Samoa, the Common Wealth of the Mariana Islands and Guam. Our members, state leaders, in turn support districts and schools in their state that in-turn support teachers and students directly. SETDA might appear to be the 5 degrees of separation from practitioners in the classroom, but always recognize their critical role in student achievement and success, and respect the importance of their work every day.SETDA maybe 5 degrees of separation from practitioners in the classroom however, our members always keep them at the forefront of their work. So often as we develop resources or plan for events, our members make comments such as “remember, it’s about the learning” or “how will that help improve instruction?” For SETDA, educational technology is not about the cool gadgets and devices, our work is about supporting leaders to impact the instructional practices so that learning is personalized, engaging and best preparing students for colleges and careers.
SETDA leaders from the public and private sector and our partners from a variety of national educational organizations will celebrate teachers next week. Members and partners, we thank YOU during Teacher Appreciation Week for your tireless efforts to close the achievement gap and the digital divide to help ensure that all students have the opportunity to equitable access to the digital tools necessary to support learning in the digital age.
Thank a teacher or education leader today. #thankateacher