Education Technology Plan for K-12 Public Schools in Washington State
Find the 2012 update to the state educational technology plan and an index to the original plan published here in 2009. We outline the current state of technology integration across Washington’s K-12 public schools, and describe the challenges, opportunities and emerging issues that face educators as the pressure to deliver a 21st century education meets the tough realities of funding, shifting demographics and a regulatory environment responding to a new wave of education reform.
2012 Update – Washington State Educational Technology Plan
The Educational Technology Department at OSPI (EdTech) is involved with a wide variety of programs and projects that support technology integration across Washington state.
E-rate | District Technology Plans | State Initiatives | School & Student
Data | EdTech Assessments | iTunes U | Regional EdTech Programming
The rise of data-driven instruction and monitoring, and the call for critical thinking skills, collaborative scholarship and creative, project-based learning intensifies the need for technology-enriched instruction across districts large and small.
2009 Education Technology Plan for K-12 Public Schools in Washington State
E-rate. 293 school districts received $34.8 million in discounts on telecommunications and Internet access costs during the 2011–2012 school year. EdTech staff provide direct technical assistance to districts that apply for this important financial support for technology integration.
District Technology Plans. A sub-set of districts that apply for the E-rate discount on specific network connectivity equipment and services must create and submit a technology plan to OSPI. EdTech staff manage the district technology planning process, and review and approve each district’s plan. Over the course of the 2010–2013 technology planning cycle, they supported the development of 293 district technology plans from draft through approval.
State Initiatives. EdTech is integral to the state’s online testing initiative, which will expand significantly with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) assessments in 2014-15. Ongoing technical, communication and logistics support, as well as data review and analysis by EdTech staff are critical to its successful implementation. This contribution–data, expertise, technical/communications/logistical support– also connected EdTech directly to the work of the Microsoft IT Academy, Open Educational Resources (OER) and the roll-out of the Common Core State Standards.
School & Student Data. Development of the Student Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) has grown OSPI capacity to provide immediate and comprehensive school/ student data. The system now integrates data from the EdTech annual technology survey.
Now, districts are able to:
- Compare their network/instructional technology environment with state norms and other districts.
- Pull data that helps to make the case for
classroom-level technology integration, large-scale
technology initiatives, and projects that outfit learning
spaces with the wiring/hardware necessary to enrich
instruction with technology.
Educational Technology Assessments. OSPI must report the number of school districts that use the OSPI-developed assessments for educational technology (RCW 28A.655.075). Over the 2011-2012 school year, teachers integrated 47,500 assessments into their practice.
iTunes U. EdTech staff developed and now manage Washington State on iTunes U, a key communication platform for instructional, assessment and professional development content. Among the many content contributors are OSPI, the ESDs, schools and community partners.
Regional EdTech Programming. The EdTech director has state-level oversight of the Educational Technology Support Center Program (ETSC). Through the work of ETSC directors, educators across Washington expand their ability to work with instructional technologies through a variety of programs.
Two initiatives have broad support among educators:
- Between September 2011 and August 2012, more than 2,000 teachers and principals participated in the ETSC-developed
iPads for the Classroom professional development sessions. This training is critical given the number of districts making the move to 1:1 computing, mobile learning and Bring Your Own Device programs for classroom instruction. Many schools and districts are struggling with the demand for 1:1 initiatives. The policy and financial complexities, as well as the teaching and learning impacts of these device-intensive programs are considerable. A wave of 1:1 projects slated to come online over the next two years will need state-level leadership and regional EdTech support.
- The ETSC made new programming for Internet safety and
digital citizenship available to schools. Direct technical
assistance, training materials and webinars are free and
accessible for all grade levels.
Washington State’s Transition to Technology-enriched Teaching & Learning Environment
The rise of data-driven instruction and monitoring, and the call for critical thinking skills, collaborative scholarship and creative, project-based learning intensifies the need for technology integration across districts large and small.
The K–12 system will find it increasingly difficult to graduate college- and career-ready students without significant attention paid to technology literacy. As with any subject, the need to build knowledge and skills begins in the elementary grades and continues into a student’s senior year.
As well, the pressure is on to build and sustain an effective teaching force skilled enough to work with online instructional and assessment products, and able to differentiate content within learning environments of growing size and diversity.
Three Strategies for 21st Century Teaching & Learning
In the Educational Technology Plan for K–12 Public Schools in Washington State, we presented timely strategies based on clear goals and the direction of state lawmakers.
- Establish a sustainable funding system for technology integration across Washington State public schools.
- Develop instructional resources and assessments that
help teachers to integrate the standards for educational
technology into K–12 core subject areas.
- Expand support for technology integration: policy
development, direct technical assistance for technology
initiatives, and the necessary professional development that
trains teachers to enrich standards-based curricula with
As a whole, these strategies were designed to drive the state of teaching and learning in Washington toward its greater goal: the realization of a 21st century learning environment for every student who enrolls in a Washington State K–12 public school. Although much has been accomplished, funding reductions over the past biennium have diminished the state’s ability to support the development of learning environments equal to these tasks:
- Widespread, classroom-ready learning technologies that enable fast access to differentiated content.
- Teaching capacity to integrate technology, and create
rich visualizations of formative data for instruction and
Regional Expertise to Support Technology-enriched Teaching & Learning
The strong foundation of expertise and ready, high-quality program content remains at the state and regional level. Many of the goals of the
2009 Educational Technology Plan for K–12 Public Schools in Washington State have been realized:
- Washington has a sustainable funding mechanism in place today for technology integration across all Washington State public schools if the Legislature fully funds RCW 28A.150.210, Section 2, as amended by SSB 5392. This legislation adopted a prototype school funding model that makes it possible to equip every classroom with industry-standard technology and, ultimately, every student with a computing device. Without full funding, though, the adequacy of classroom technology remains in jeopardy for all but the most affluent districts.
- EdTech at OSPI has developed a comprehensive suite of
assessments for K–12, which are well guided, easy to use and
come equipped with a comprehensive inventory of free and
low-cost digital resources. These assessments integrate the
Common Core State Standards and model elements of the
performance task component present in the Smarter Balanced
Assessment Consortium (SBAC) assessment system. Field tests
of the edtech assessments reveal an unmistakable need for
training and support at the classroom level.
- The ability to expand professional development programs
that promote technology integration as support for
learner-centered instruction has stalled with reductions in
funding. EdTech at OSPI has nurtured the development of
outstanding programs—Enhanced Peer Coaching, Teaching &
Learning in the 21st Century, Empowering Rural Educators,
Teaching Through Technology and Peer Coaching for
Teacher-Librarians—proven to increase teacher effectiveness.
And, Washington State has the training talent in all nine
ETSCs: educators with classroom experience who are
highly-evolved tech integrators. The need remains to create
sustainable sources of funding that make it possible to
continue the regional delivery of these recognized models.
The state can leverage these advantages to meet the growing demand for 21st century learning environments.
2009 Education Technology Plan for K-12 Public Schools in Washington State
Washington State Educational Technology Plan (PDF)