Arizona should explore its digital learning potential

Feb 06, 2012
A new report looks at how to bridge Arizona's digital divide and discusses why Arizona could be the state to lead the way in digital learning. Credit: stock.xchng photo

Like most states Arizona still has a “digital divide” to close, but it also boasts an overall hospitable environment for digital learning, according to a new report co-produced by the Center for the Future of Arizona and Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

Digital Learning: How to Enhance the Learning of Any Child, at Any Time, and in Any Place – posted on arizonafuture.org and morrisoninstitute.asu.edu – is an 18-page that serves as both a primer and a gauge for digital learning in Arizona.

As the report’s executive summary notes: “Digital learning is more than a technological method of delivery. It is a collection of teaching tools and strategies designed to expand the learning and discovery environment of traditional brick-and-mortar K-12 schools. Its potential to impact education stems from its flexibility (time, place and pace), its ability to help guide and shape the learning experience of students, and its capacity to create a personalized learning and discovery experience for each student.”

The report was co-authored by Sybil Francis, the executive director of the Center for the Future of Arizona, and C.J. Eisenbarth Hager, a senior policy analyst at ASU’s Morrison Institute.

“Digital learning is not just about bringing technology to the classroom,” Francis said. “Digital learning has the potential to transform the teaching, learning and discovery process as profoundly as digital media have transformed the way we work, play and communicate. Whether or not it lives up to this promise depends on how we go about integrating digital learning into the classroom. These are the kinds of questions and issues we focus on in this report. Quality and accessibility are two key components of the equation.”

The report is expected to serve as a catalyst for continued and expanded dialogue concerning the possibilities and potential of digital learning in Arizona.

“At the national level, there’s a lot of dialogue about how digital learning can transform our public education system,” Eisenbarth Hager said. “National organizations have ranked Arizona, along with the other states, on policies that affect digital learning. Meanwhile, many Arizona school districts and charters are moving ahead with innovative digital learning agendas.”

“What has been missing is an open discussion about digital learning at the state level. With this report, we want to get that discussion rolling. There are a number of policies that the state can explore in order to make sure districts have a barrier-free environment, yet still have some guarantee about the quality of education our kids will receive. Our report lays out some of these issues and encourages a public dialogue,” she said.

The report also notes that digital learning should not be viewed as a panacea or replacement of brick-and-mortar schools, with a blended variety of digital learning often the preferred method. There also is the digital divide in Arizona between many urban and rural schools, as well as upper- and lower-income districts and students, that Arizona must address.

Included in the report are details of “five critical elements of a digital learning agenda” for Arizona:

• systems-level changes for more personalized educational experiences for students;

• issues of quality in digital content and teaching;

• necessary fixes to the system that make digital learning more accessible;

• the importance of supporting an adequate infrastructure;

• and the creation of a Digital Learning Center for Arizona to provide a centralized source of information and support for digital learning, especially at the school level.

Explore further: Physicists create tool to foresee language destruction impact and thus prevent it

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Guidance materials issued for using medical recordings

Dec 06, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- New advice and guidance on making and using clinical healthcare recordings for learning and teaching will be launched today. Clinical images, videos and other recordings are vital ...

Learning: No longer a textbook case

May 02, 2011

Switching from rigid, linear textbooks to technology such as iPads alone won’t boost student performance – so a team of Wake Forest researchers has turned the classroom upside down, allowing students ...

Digital revolution is happening outside the classroom

Sep 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The way we learn is changing, but schools are having trouble keeping up. While technology dominates daily life and work, it still plays a limited role in public schools filled with students who are increasingly ...

E-learning must synch or sink

Jan 30, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- According to one University of Alberta researcher, people looking to further their education through e-learning may want to look carefully at the conditions under which online coursework will ...

Recommended for you

Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

18 hours ago

New research from Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of affirmative action exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

Election surprises tend to erode trust in government

Jul 24, 2014

When asked who is going to win an election, people tend to predict their own candidate will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, according to a new study from the University of Georgia, these "surprised losers" often ...

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

Jul 23, 2014

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

User comments : 0