The Future of Colorado Digital Learning: Crafting a Policy Roadmap for Reform

IB-2012-A (March 2012)
Edited by: Pam Benigno and Ben DeGrow

PDF of full Issue Backgrounder
Scribd version of full Issue Backgrounder

In 2010 the Digital Learning Council, convened and co-chaired by former governors Jeb Bush (R – Florida) and Bob Wise (D – West Virginia), released the 10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning. The following year the national Digital Learning Now campaign unveiled a more detailed “Roadmap for Reform,” with nuts-and-bolts policies recommended for states to adopt. Digital learning is defined as “any instructional practice that is effectively using technology to strengthen the student learning experience,” including full-time online learning and blended learning models that provide instruction “at least in part, through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace.”

Nearly 50 Colorado online education leaders (including school district and charter school staff) and policy experts gathered Monday, January 23, 2012, to help craft a roadmap of digital learning policy priorities for the state. Co-sponsored by the Independence Institute and the Donnell-Kay Foundation, the event featured International Association of K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) president and CEO Susan Patrick as keynote speaker and facilitator. Colorado Department of Education Assistant Commissioner Amy Anderson and former State Board of Education member Randy DeHoff served as co-facilitators.

Participants worked together to help identify Colorado’s leading digital learning policy priorities in three major categories: Access and Eligibility, Funding, and Assessment and Accountability. Given a list of policy options that included Digital Learning Now’s recommendations, participants selected those they saw as the most important for Colorado to pursue in the near term and to offer additional ideas or suggestions. Six small groups collaborated separately, two for each of the three major categories, before reporting to the large group and sparking discussion. A considerable number of insightful comments were shared, and a remarkable degree of consensus was achieved on many priorities.

Nearly all of the priority changes outlined below are selected directly from Digital Learning Now’s Roadmap for Reform. Participants at the January 23 meeting embraced the process of deciding which policies best suit our state’s students and educators. According to many of the state’s online leaders, the following policy changes would enhance opportunities for Colorado’s children to achieve educational success.

Posted by on Mar 20th, 2012 and filed under Accountability, Issue Backgrounders, K-12 Funding, Online Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

22 Responses for “The Future of Colorado Digital Learning: Crafting a Policy Roadmap for Reform”

  1. [...] A number of policy obstacles stand in the way of Colorado having the kind of flexible and student-centered system that accommodates choice and innovation through the effective use of new technologies. Education Policy Center director Pam Benigno and the Donnell-Kay Foundation’s director of special projects Matt Samelson join senior policy analyst Ben DeGrow to discuss how Colorado online education leaders came together in support of key innovative ideas featured in the newly-released issue backgrounder “The Future of Colorado Digital Learning: Crafting a Policy Roadmap for Reform.” [...]

  2. [...] it isn’t exactly the same, but today my Education Policy Center friends officially released “The Future of Colorado Digital Learning: Crafting a Policy Roadmap for Reform.” A quick read with some pretty graphics (thanks, Tracy!), it lays out the main policy changes that [...]

  3. [...] Education Policy Center’s newly-released Digital Learning Policy Roadmap was headlined in the Denver-based nonprofit news service Education News Colorado’s March 22 [...]

  4. [...] count dates to determine student enrollment for funding purposes (the very first recommendation in Colorado’s new digital learning policy roadmap), while only 8 percent want to keep the existing October 1 system; [...]

  5. [...] analysis of Dr. Paul Hill. It also covers most of the issues identified in Colorado’s own new digital learning policy roadmap, based on a wide range of input from the state’s online education leaders and assembled and [...]

  6. [...] But what are some specifics? There are lots of good ideas and food for thought we can look at that could take Colorado beyond the status quo. Interestingly, some of the key ones are included in the state’s own digital learning policy road map: [...]

  7. [...] — following the Digital Learning Now template, my Education Policy Center friends’ Colorado digital learning road map has some good ideas; [...]

  8. [...] My Education Policy Center friends have been involved on many of these fronts, spreading the good word, especially regarding the potential of blended and other forms of digital learning. [...]

  9. [...] learning (I have a road map for any of our state’s policy makers who need some [...]

  10. [...] on this educational option through unproductive regulations, lawmakers instead should take to heart Colorado’s digital learning policy road map — a year old but as relevant as ever. And parents should continue to do their homework in [...]

  11. [...] All in all, the Guide looks very practical. Some smart people put a lot of thought and care into its creation. I commend the entire piece to would-be school creators for consideration. For the rest of us especially, there is value in reading and understanding the brief section “State Policy Matters” on page 5. It echoes the themes my Education Policy Center friends helped to develop in Colorado’s digital learning policy road map. [...]

  12. [...] It is fairly well known that recent years have brought a challenge for virtual schools to equip students with sufficient access and to ensure quality learning outcomes. Part of the problem doubtless has been state policymakers dragging their feet rather than quickly (and deliberately) following needed steps in Colorado’s digital learning policy road map. [...]

  13. [...] with others–brought forward all five of those points, and more, as part of Colorado’s Digital Learning Policy Road Map. That should give a flavor of how far our state still has to go. (I disagree with one point on the [...]

  14. [...] — the latter of whom worked with my Education Policy Center friends on the development of a digital learning policy road map for Colorado — note that SB 139 creates “a selection committee charged with awarding contracts to [...]

  15. [...] might also add that state leaders could help facilitate the needed transition by subscribing to Colorado’s digital learning policy road map, and more particularly moving toward a course-level funding system that gives secondary students [...]

  16. [...] Along similar lines, will state lawmakers at least come together to resurrect the few cost-effective reforms that have been freed from bondage to a billion-dollar tax hike — such as an average daily membership system that marks one of the first steps on Colorado’s own digital learning policy road map? [...]

  17. [...] As the Chalkbeat story points out, this news ties into another legislative issue that’s destined to emerge this year. I’m talking about a proposed shift (finally!) from an October count to an Average Daily Membership formula — one of the first points in my Education Policy Center friends’ Digital Learning Policy Road Map for Colorado. [...]

  18. [...] situation. Among several others, my Education Policy Center friends have produced and distributed a Digital Learning Policy Road Map for Colorado, and continue to promote the idea of course-level funding. We cheer for the blended learning [...]

  19. [...] a second time a year. We can do better than that. Something like ADM is an essential part of Colorado’s digital learning policy road map to the [...]

  20. [...] Center friends worked with online school leaders and other smart policy folks to help craft a Digital Learning Policy Road Map for Colorado. The brief report laid out a sequence of concrete changes that needed to happen to ensure digital [...]

  21. [...] Today the state house adopted on 2nd reading House Bill 1292, known popularly as the “Student Success Act.” My modest hopes for this proposal focused on moving Colorado to a student-focused Average Daily Membership (ADM) system, which promotes equity and is the basis for more customized learning. [...]

  22. [...] recall course-level and competency-based funding make up a critical part of the collaborative 2012 Digital Learning Policy Road Map facilitated by my Education Policy Center friends. It got even more attention in an issue paper [...]

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