When employed as part of a comprehensive educational strategy, the effective use of technology provides tools, resources, data, and supportive systems that increase both teaching and learning opportunities, while ensuring equity in access and opportunity for each student. In addition to promoting efficiency, learning environments with sound infrastructure are designed to support anytime, anywhere learning based on competency and content mastery. Learning environments provide flexibility for individual or collaborative work supported by caring adults who are guiding the way for each student to succeed. High-quality, high-speed technology and infrastructure systems within and outside of a school district are essential to supporting anytime, anywhere learning and to advancing comprehensive digital learning. Future ready schools and districts continuously leverage partnerships with community groups (e.g., public libraries, community centers, municipalities, and internet service providers) to help learners pursue their learning beyond the school day.
Adequacy of Devices: Quality and Availability
The school has considered a host of creative options to ensure that diverse and appropriate technology devices are available to all students and staff to support powerful digital learning at any time, from any location, in and out of the school network. To ensure equitable access to digital learning opportunities, future ready schools and districts implement plans specifically focused on providing devices to all students (e.g., providing district-owned devices to each learner, leveraging bring your own device (BYOD) programs, loaner/rental programs, etc.) and partnerships to support adequate out-of-school broadband access.
Robust Network Infrastructure
Adequate bandwidth and a supportive infrastructure are in place to ensure ready and consistent access to online resources for teaching, assessing (including formatively and summatively), and learning. Network performance monitoring identifies possible bottlenecks and prevents and/or mitigates adverse impact to teaching and learning. Privacy, safety, and security are primary concerns as well. The school community collaboratively designs responsible use policies and confirms that the network design supports these policies. All users are provided in-depth and ongoing digital literacy and cybersecurity training.
Adequate and Responsive Support
Sufficient technical and instructional support is available in every school. This support is proactive and provides resources, coaching, and just-in-time instruction to prepare teachers and students to leverage technology for learning, thereby reducing the need for interventions during the learning process. In addition, teachers and staff are trained to identify inequities that hinder learners’ digital learning such as limited access to tools and resources outside of school, digital literacy skills, and/or family support. Future ready schools and districts secure a leadership position designed to make decisions to improve teaching and learning through technology integration. This role outlines the district’s vision for technology, implements digital learning strategies, and ensures that technology resources align with students’ learning needs.
Formal Cycle for Review and Replacement
Future ready school and district teams continuously monitor technologies— software, hardware, and infrastructure—to ensure upgrades, additions and, when called for, sunsetting/eliminations in a timely, environmentally responsible, and proactive manner. Where possible, teams make concerted efforts to automate systems.
Providing students with home internet access and devices has been the greatest equity challenge facing the district, but it is only one part of the district’s strategic plan to support innovative instruction.